Certain breeds of dog are more prone to anxiety than others, but all dogs can exhibit signs of stress and fear in a given situation.
Left untreated, anxiety can develop into some very undesirable and inappropriate behaviour, and an anxious, fearful dog is more likely to bite, which could put you and your children at risk.
Causes of Anxiety in Dogs
The most common cause of anxiety is separation. Dogs are pack animals, and when you leave them by themselves at home, they feel separated from their pack and become distressed.
A dog with a history of being abandoned, having multiple owners and an unstable home life has every reason to be anxious. Every time you leave, they think it’s happening again.
Dogs that aren’t socialised properly as puppies, or who have been mistreated or beaten, can be fearful and anxious around new people and places.
Loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or a trip to the veterinary clinic can cause fearfulness.
Illness, not feeling well, or a bad experience can trigger anxiety, even an anxious owner can pass their nervousness down to their dog since dogs can easily pick up on your mood and state of mind.
Signs of Anxiety
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, they could chew or scratch the furniture while you’re gone, bark constantly or urinate and defecate in the house.
All this is annoying and unpleasant, but your dog might even injure themselves trying to find a way out of the house or yard to find you.
Other signs to watch for are drooling, panting, restlessness or pacing, trembling and shaking, and uncharacteristic or compulsive behaviour.
The most dangerous sign is aggression as your dog may bite or growl at you, a family member or even a complete stranger without warning.
Ways You Can Help
If you’re having issues with anxiety and nervousness in your dog, the best thing you can do is speak to your vet.
At Port Kennedy Vets, we’ll assess your dog to identify the type of anxiety and the causes and triggers while also ruling out any health conditions that might be causing it.
There are training and behaviour modification methods such as desensitisation, and counterconditioning where the anxious behaviour is replaced with a less destructive and calmer behaviour.
Medication can also be prescribed for severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments.
Wellness Programs for Dogs and Puppies
Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your dog.
It’s important to try to see things from your dog’s perspective so you can better understand the causes of their anxiety.
We’re open every day, so call us on 08 6555 5149 or contact us online about treating anxiety in your dog and helping themselves to feel safe and secure.