It is hard enough to get people to take other people being diagnosed with anxiety issues seriously, much less trying to get empathy and understanding for dogs who are suffering from unease brought on by feeling anxious. Now, there are several indicators as to when a dog is reacting nervously to particular triggers in their surroundings.
And anxiety can affect all breeds, but may affect each individual dog differently. Some owners could give their dog cbd
and wait to see the results while others may want to take a more active role in helping their friend overcome their issues. Now just like every human, every dog experiences some level of anxiety every now and again however if disproportionate levels of anxiety are left unchecked, a dog can develop an anxiety disorder. If left untreated, dog anxiety can lead to serious behavioral and other issues to be concerned about. So the onus has to be on the dog's owners to not only be able identify when their dogs are anxious but the possible causes.
Causes Of Anxiety In Dogs
● Separation - this is the most common form of anxiety. This is likely a result of not being able to cope with being away from their owners and if they haven't learnt to be able to function in their own company. Normal signs of this type of anxiety are urinating and defecating in the house, destroying furniture and furnishings, and barking.
● Fear - this could be caused by loud noises, strange people or animals - pretty much anything unfamiliar and not seen before. Context must be used to assess whether the fear or scared response is abnormal or improper. Fears are typically expressed as graded responses, with the severity of the response related to the stimulus. Although some dogs may only have brief reactions to these kinds of stimuli, they may affect anxious dogs more consequentially.
● Age - as a dog ages, it becomes more likely that it would be affected by cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). In dogs with CDS, memory, learning, perception, and awareness start to decline, similar to the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Dogs who suffer from CDS are very likely to feel anxious and exhibit known symptoms of anxiety.
● Lack of Proper Early Socialization - puppies that are separated from their mothers too early can also develop social anxiety. Lack of proper early socialization can make it difficult for them to interact with humans and other dogs later in life. Additionally, where a puppy comes from can also contribute to their development of fear and anxiety.
Knowing what might cause anxiety should make actually identifying what symptoms dog owners should look for, simpler. Some of these symptoms may be the result of occasional anxiety causing events, but any of the following can become recurrent and therefore, result in more serious issues. However, because these symptoms might be indicative of other health issues extra vigilance should be given.
Anxiety Symptoms In Dogs
● Urinating or Defecating In The House - if a dog keeps urinating or defecating in the house, especially when their owner is not home. Anxiety may be the culprit, as some dogs experience a loss of bodily control when they’re anxious.
● Extra Vigilance - If a dog is generally friendly and social, a shift or worsening of aggressive behavior may indicate the presence of anxiety.
● Excessive Barking - a dog with anxiety may bark an abnormal amount. This is a way to get their owner’s attention. Their barking may be intensified and last for long periods of time.
Of course there are many other symptoms to look for like flattened ears, hunching, shivering, drooling, and panting. Some owners might also see destructive behaviors like obsessive chewing, destroying items in the home, and indoor accidents. Luckily there are also several ways to help dogs through their most anxious stages.
What Are The Ways To Help Dogs With Anxiety?
● CBD - cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been found useful for treating dog anxiety. The oil could be introduced to a dog a few hours before a stressful event to combat situational anxiety.
● Puzzle Toys - perfect for keeping dogs distracted while something scary is happening, or is about to happen.
● ThunderShirt - really ingenious invention, that exerts gentle, constant pressure on a dog’s chest and sides to soothe them at events like storms or fireworks.
● White Noise - dog owners should try playing relaxing music, white noise machine, or even a fan to distract their dog from potentially startling noises that may cause noise anxiety.
● Desensitization Training - dog owners should slowly introduce their dog to the source of anxiety, preferably in small doses and at a decreased intensity. Repeated exposure and rewarding positive behavior can go a long way toward managing many potentially anxious situations.
● Calming Bed - for that dog safe space, a calming bed may be another good option. A calming bed is normally plush, with a round shape and sunken center, so a dog can find comfort by burrowing and curling up into a ball. Helpful for dogs who have trouble getting properly settled before rest.