A dog with anxiety vs a nervous dog
Dogs are good at letting us know when they’re feeling nervous, and most people are generally good at reading dog behaviors that signal fear or uncertainty. A tucked tail, flattened ears, lowered head, and wide – searching eyes are all clear signs that a dog is uncomfortable.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a dog that is highly strung or prone to over-caution. However, there are a number of ways in which general nervousness can begin to turn into a more serious anxiety condition. For example, if your dog is showing signs of nervousness more frequently, or without an identifiable reason, this may be something to watch. Likewise, if your pup is having extreme reactions to a particular trigger, they may have, or be developing a phobia.
Symptoms of a dog with anxiety
Owners are best placed to notice when nervousness is their pets might be turning into anxiety. Spending every day with your dog means you’ll likely be the first to notice when any of the symptoms below begin to occur, or when they substantially increase.
Note: no one of these behaviors means your dog is suffering from anxiety. In addition, most anxiety symptoms are a matter of scale—for example, perhaps your dog has an accident indoors once in a while. But is this behavior increasing? And can it be linked to a cause or reason?
The more of these behaviors you observe, the more likely that your dog is anxious:
The exact way that your dog manifests their anxiety can depend on the cause of their discomfort. The next section outlines some of the most common underlying causes of anxiety.
The main causes of canine anxiety
Rates of anxiety in dogs
As dogs live longer and happier lives, the rates of sorts of canine conditions, from cancer to arthritis, are rising. The same is true for anxiety, with the onset of anxiousness often occurring in old age.
Studies like this one from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior have shown that rates of anxiety in dogs have comorbidities. In other words, a dog who’s fearful of strangers is more likely to develop anxiety, and even more likely if they’re also fearful of loud noises.
What can owners give their dogs for anxiety?
Here’s a list of the ten major and most common ways for owners to manage their dogs and anxiety. The truth is, the best management approaches combine more than one strategy, so aim to mix up supplements with exercise and routine changes, and always keep a close eye on what seems to work best for your pup!