Anxiety is a difficult emotion for us as humans to understand and control. Our pups may have an even harder time controlling their anxiety, and just as with humans, there are varying degrees and manifestations of the emotion. It is extremely difficult for any pet parent to watch their dog suffer from anxiety. You’d do anything for him, but calming an anxious pet is no easy task.
We know that dogs are very good at hiding their weaknesses. In the case of anxiety, you may not recognize the signs that your pup is stressed. If your pet seems uneasy or fixated on licking, for example, he could be trying to tell you he feels nervous, stressed or even fearful. All pets have a different 'communication style' so pay attention to which signals mean 'stress' or 'anxiety.'
The signs of anxiety are vast and may change for your pup over time. Pacing, trembling or shaking, hyper-vigilance, lip licking, frequent yawning and decreased appetite are all signs that he is anxious. Pay close attention to increased salivation or drooling, dilated pupils, increased heart rate and panting, or skin lesions from self trauma or over-grooming.
The causes behind the anxiety your dog is experiencing can be as vast as the signs and symptoms your dog displays to show their anxiousness. Some common causes of anxiety may stem from past abuse, loud noises, medical problems (like allergies) or other animals. Separation anxiety is another form of anxiousness that is usually easier to diagnose. Typically, a dog with separation anxiety will act out while you are away, and may chew or dig furniture, howl, pace or go to the bathroom inside the house.
Depending on what causes your pup stress, the solution can be as simple as recognizing the stressor and removing it. If there are still anxiety symptoms after removing the stressor and trying these techniques, you will want to seek out the help of a veterinarian.
Looking for options to ease your dog’s anxiety, paying attention to what causes her stress and are seeking professional help is the best path you can follow to calm an anxious dog. Support your dog through this time, and don’t give up. The solution may not be easy, but with dedication and perseverance you can help your pup overcome her anxiety symptoms.