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Anxiety In Dogs: Helping Fido Cope 
May 1, 2024

Did you know that dogs, like humans, can suffer from anxiety? Fido may feel fear, depression, loneliness, or grief. These emotions can greatly affect your four-legged friend, both emotionally and physically. This informative article provides valuable insights on dog anxiety from a Houston Heights, TX veterinarian.

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is the most common form of anxiety observed in dogs. Fido’s natural tendency is to function in a group. When your pet is left alone, it’s completely normal for them to feel a bit uneasy. As dogs are incapable of verbally communicating their issues, they sometimes resort to mischief and mayhem to express their angst. If you come back to find your canine pal has created a mess in your absence, separation anxiety might be the culprit.

While any dog can be affected by separation anxiety, this is a common occurrence in rescue dogs, likely a result of being abandoned by their previous owners. It also happens a lot with dogs that have been rehomed.

What Are The Signs Of Doggy Anxiety?

The symptoms might vary, depending on Fido’s stress level and the source of his unhappiness. For instance, if your pooch is scared of something, like a loud noise, he might tremble, tuck their tail, hide, or try to run away. A lot of people report losing their pets on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. This is so common because dogs are often scared of the loud noises and chaos that fireworks cause. This fear often drives them to try and escape.  Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety may resort to destructive activities like digging and chewing When left alone at home.

Dogs may exhibit aggressive behavior as a result of anxiety, which is understandably a major concern.

That said, these are the most common symptoms:

  • Trembling
  • Tail-Tucking
  • Hiding
  • Reduced Activity
  • Escape Attempts
  • Panting
  • Yowling/Barking 
  • Destructive Behaviors (getting into the trash, destroying furniture)
  • Cowering
  • Pacing
  • Licking
  • Tail Chasing
  • Diarrhea
  • Aggression
  • Fear Urination
  • Hot Spots/Lesions From Licking Or Biting
  • Tail-Chasing
  • Digging
  • Not eating
  • Soiling inappropriately
  • Restlessness
  • Licking the lips
  • Showing the whites of the eyes (whale eye)

If you suspect that your furry best friend may be suffering from anxiety and have noticed any of these symptoms in your dog, contact your Houston Heights, TX animal clinic. Anxiety is a condition that cannot be cured, but there are steps you can take to assist your pet in managing it.

Are Certain Breeds More Prone To Anxiety Than Others?

While anxiety can impact dogs of all breeds, it is more prevalent in specific breeds. Those include the Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Toy Poodle, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, Vizsla, Chihuahua, Basset Hound, German Shorthaired Pointer, Dachshund, Greyhound, Mini-Schnauzer, Shetland Sheepdog, and Yorkshire Terrier.

As mentioned earlier, dogs that have gone through abuse, neglect, or have been rehomed are especially vulnerable, as are those with specific medical conditions such as dementia. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Houston Heights, TX veterinarians for more information.

How Can I Help Fido Cope With His Anxiety?

Luckily, there are multiple steps you can take to help Fido. Start by reaching out to your veterinarian. If there is an undiagnosed medical issue to blame, it is important to get a diagnosis ASAP. Medication can often provide the most effective solution for some pups. Fido may also benefit from behavioral training.

It’s important to make sure your beloved pet receives enough mental and physical activity. Walking your dog and playing with him will allow him to release his angst and excess doggy energy in a positive way. This strengthens relationships between people and pets, too!

Stability is also beneficial. Establishing a regular schedule for your canine buddy’s walks and playtime can help him feel more secure.

If your four-legged friend struggles with separation anxiety, it may be worth considering the possibility of getting them a companion. Of course, whether that is a good step to take would vary depending on your budget, household, and your canine companion’s history and temperament. Think carefully! This is a serious decision that should not be made hastily. If you do go forward, it’s crucial to ensure a compatible match: if Fido does not get along with his new roommate, it could cause him even more distress.

Lastly, there are many products made to help dogs relax and feel better, such as comfort beds, toys, calming clothes, and chews that are safe for dogs. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.

What Should I Not Do With An Anxious Dog?

First And Foremost? Avoid punishing Fido when they’re feeling uneasy or anxious. Man’s Best Buddy can’t fully comprehend what punishment means; he’s just trying to express himself and keep himself safe. Reprimanding him could worsen the situation and possibly make him fearful of you. Focus on positive reinforcement. Of course, you don’t want to go too far and coddle Fido: that may reinforce the behavior. Ask your vet or a pet behaviorist for more information.

Causes Of Anxiety In Dogs

Animals can often feel anxious in various situations or environments. Several things can come into play here, such as Fido’s personality, past, where he lives, and breed. However, there are numerous common triggers that can induce anxiety in dogs. Here are some of the key ones:

Significant changes can generate a lot of stress for our pets. Examples include moving to a new place, getting a new roommate (whether human or furry), dealing with the loss of a loved one, and/or adapting to a different daily schedule.

Dogs can also develop phobias. Loud noises can be quite frightening for many dogs. Dogs that were kept in a kennel for too long might develop a strong dislike for being crated.

Fido may also be anxious if he doesn’t feel well. Our canine companions  can suffer from a wide range of illnesses and injuries, just like humans. Unfortunately, they don’t fully understand what’s going on. Anything that affects Fido’s senses, mobility, or nervous system can potentially cause anxiety. Senior dogs may experience anxiety as a result of canine dementia.

Man’s Best Friend can also be unsettled by the unfamiliar. Dogs, like humans, are happiest when they feel protected and secure. Dogs may experience feelings of fear and unease when introduced to unfamiliar surroundings or circumstances. Even just meeting new people or other animals can sometimes cause stress for our beloved furry friends.

Another cause of canine anxiety is a lack of socialization. Effective socialization is essential for helping dogs grow into friendly and well-behaved adults. If Fido wasn’t properly socialized as a puppy, he will be more prone to become anxious and/or aggressive.

There could be other possible causes as well. Here are a few more options:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Previous trauma
  • Fear
  • Conflicts with other pets
  • Discomfort
  • Genetics

Ask your Houston Heights, TX vet for more information.

Make An Appointment At Our Houston Heights, TX Pet Clinic

Do you require any help with your dog’s health or care? Don’t hesitate to contact us at your Houston Heights, TX pet hospital, whenever you need assistance! We are here to help!