Dogs are one of the most popular pets throughout the world, and they can bring untold amounts of love and happiness to their family.
You might think that your dog is happy all the time, but you could be wrong. Much like humans, dogs have a range of emotions, which though can be healthy and part of being alive, can also be a little unpleasant during times.
Anxiety is something that people suffer from all the time.
The levels of anxiety will vary from person to person, and can be over something complexly minor such as meeting up with some old friends, or something a lot more serious such as some medical examinations or a hospital check up.
Humans are not alone when it comes to anxiety and it is something that can affect a range of animals, including dogs.
Dogs can suffer varying degrees of anxiety, but unlike humans, it’s not easy for them to communicate what the problem is and what they are anxious about.
The types of anxiety in dogs
There are three main causes of anxiety in dogs, and surprisingly enough, they are all extremely relatable to humans as well.
The anxiety caused by fear can be related to a variety of differ factors including things such as strange or new people (or animals), new environments or being in certain situations or places, such as a visit to the vet.
Sometimes loud noises can be a big cause of fear for dogs, especially fireworks, which can really make dogs (and other animals) very scared and uncomfortable.
Another cause of anxiety in dogs is the natural aging process. This is something that will obviously only affect older animals, and some might be suffering from problems with their memory or perception. With older dogs, it’s important that they have a comfortable place to sleep, such as one of the great dog beds that you can find at BobbyBed
Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is something that is actually common in older animals.
Their awareness may also begin to decline, and where you’d once find it impossible to sneak up on them, now it becomes normal with them not aware of your presence at all until you are right in front of them.
Being separated from your family is something that is difficult for everyone. Children are very prone to being away from their parents, which can cause a lot of anxiety.
Think back to your first day at nursery school (if you can), or your child’s first day.
Most likely you’ll remember yourself or your child being very upset at the thought of leaving their parents to go into the nursery full of new and strange people.
Dogs suffer from this separation in much the same way as people.
There are a large number of dogs who become very anxious the moment they are left alone at home, and this in turn can lead to a range of different behavior.
This happens as they try to find a way to deal with their anxiety, and can result in things such as destroying or severely damaging furniture, urinating or defecating around the home, or wailing and howling.
Signs of anxiety in dogs
There are a range of symptoms for anxiety that you should be aware of if you have a pet dog.
Some may obviously be unrelated and your dog may be perfectly happy and not anxious at all, but studios have found that most of these do have some underlying connection with anxiety.
Things such as urinating or defecating in your home could be signs of anxiety, especially if your dog is left alone for long periods throughout the day while you, and your family, are out of the house. Excessive panting and drooling is also a symptom, as is constant barking or pacing about.
One of the more serious symptoms is aggression. This is something that comes in two forms – direct or indirect aggression.
If your dog becomes aggressive to particular people or other animals, then this is direct aggression. Indirect aggression is when someone comes in between the source of the dog’s aggression, such as another animal, and your dog.
It’s important to be aware of situations in which your dog becomes aggressive, as even if it is prevented from causing any harm, some of the related behaviors of aggression such as intense barking, can lead to potential situations or flashpoints in the future.
Tips to help calm your dog
There are a number of things that you can do which can help your dog deal with their anxiety and to help them calm down. It is important that you are able to find the source of their anxiety and then try and deal with it appropriately.
Give them a hug
Nothing helps anxiety more than physical contact. Whether you are a dog or a young child, the most reassuring place you can find yourself is in the arms of the person who loves you. Cuddling your dog can really help with their anxiety and take their mind of what is troubling them. Emotional support is just as effective for animals as it is for people.
Or even a massage
If you are hugging your dog, why not then switch that physical contact around and give them a relaxing massage. Dogs and other animals can enjoy the benefits of a good massage just as much as people can. The neck is the best place to start a massage and start working downwards.
Take them out for a walk
Dogs love being outside, especially if they are stuck inside the house all day. Exercise time with your dog is also bonding time and gives your pet the reassurance that you care about them.
This is an especially good thing to do if the cause of your dog’s anxiety is due to separation and spending all day alone. Physical exercise is a great way to reduce stress, in humans and animals, and the release of endorphins is key to this.
Some final thoughts
Pets are wonderful companions, but at the same time, do require a lot of love, care and attention.
If you are noticing signs of anxiety in your dog, it’s vital that you take action right away and try to find the source of their anxiety, as well as give them the love and assurance that they need.
If dogs, or any other animal, could speak to us and tell us their fears, then it would be easy to deal with.
But obviously, this isn’t an option, so we have to observe their behavior and try to determine the cause of their problems, and then help them to deal with the situation.