Did you know that dogs can suffer from anxiety? Fido can feel stress, worry, depression, loneliness, and fear, just like people can. It’s important to know how anxiety affects pets, and how you can help your furry pal cope. A Washington Heights, TX vet discusses doggy anxiety below.
Types Of Anxiety
There are several different types of doggy anxiety. Separation anxiety is a common one. This is often seen in shelter dogs, as they have been separated from (or abandoned by) owners before. Some dogs are scared of certain noises, such as fireworks or thunder, while others get nervous around strange people or animals. There’s also age-related anxiety. As the name suggests, this one affects senior dogs. Our furry friends can experience confusion, senility, and dementia as they grow older. They may also experience incontinence, arthritis, and loss of vision or hearing. Fido won’t understand the physical changes he is going through, and may get confused, scared, anxious, and/or depressed.
Signs of anxiety vary from pup to pup. Fido may pace, bark, whine, or howl. He may also get a little destructive: he might chew your sofa cushions, tear into the trash, or dig up that rose bush you just planted. Some anxious pooches engage in pica, which is the term for eating things that aren’t food. If your canine buddy’s anxiety is tied to a specific trigger, such as thunder or loud noises, he may tremble, cower, or tuck his tail. Or, your pooch may pace, bark, or whine; lick or nibble himself incessantly; or even try to escape.
You can teach Fido how to cope with his anxiety. The steps you would take would depend on what he’s anxious about, so there’s no one set method for this. That said, toys, playtime, and exercise will benefit most, if not all, anxious pups. Desensitization can be very effective for some pups. For others, medication or pet-calming products may be more useful.
Never punish Fido for expressing anxiety … even if he did eat your new shoes. Dogs don’t think the way we do, and they don’t understand punishment. They mostly form associations—whether positive or negative—with certain behaviors, objects, experiences, or stimuli. Reprimanding your canine companion may just make him more uneasy. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior.
Do you have questions about pet care? Contact us, Washington Heights, TX animal hospital, today!