Anxiety in dogs: causes, symptoms and treatments

Animals experience similar emotions to humans. However, unlike us, they’re not able to verbalize what they’re feeling. Some of your dog’s annoying or strange behaviour may be a sign that it’s experiencing anxiety. At Chico, we take the well-being of all animals to heart and are sensitive to the difficulties experienced by their owners. In this article, you’ll learn about the causes and symptoms of canine anxiety, as well as treatments that may help.

Common causes of anxiety in dogs

First, it’s important to recognize the difference between a fear response (such as when your pup hears a loud thunderclap) and anxiety, which is a state of persistent alertness. It’s not always easy to determine the cause of your pooch’s behaviour, especially if you can’t identify a trigger.

That said, most experts agree that anxious dogs live in anticipation of an unpleasant event or situation. This is often due to a troubled past, especially if the canine in question was abused, abandoned or neglected. These dogs may be anxious about the future because they’re afraid to relive a traumatic experience. In other cases, dogs are so attached to their owners that they’re completely confused and afraid when they find themselves alone (this is called separation anxiety).

Additionally, certain living environments can make a dog anxious. This includes those with strong odours, loud music, televisions that are always on, many people or animals, or a lack of personal space.

What behaviours are associated with anxiety in dogs?

A dog may express its anxiety in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Moaning
  • Refusing to walk on the sidewalk or get in a vehicle
  • Hiding
  • Incontinence
  • Shaking
  • Scratching at furniture or doors
  • Drooling
  • Repetitive yawning
  • Rubbing the ears

How to help your dog be less anxious

If your dog embarrasses you in public, does its business in inappropriate places or your neighbours tell you your pooch barks non-stop when you’re not home, don’t give up. Anxiety is very common, but there’s lots you can do to help. However, scolding or punishing your pet won’t help — and abandoning it should never be the solution.

An expert such as a veterinarian, animal behaviour therapist or dog trainer, can give you advice. They may also recommend products such as soothing pheromone sprays that can reduce anxiety symptoms in your faithful companion. Calm and harmony can be restored with patience, time and a lot of love.

At Chico, we have everything you need to ensure the health and well-being of your pets. Visit the location that’s closest to you.