Anxiety in dogs can sometimes be hard for pet owners to spot. Your dog can’t tell you if they’re feeling anxious the way a human could, and dog anxiety symptoms can sometimes be overlooked or mistaken for behavioral issues. So how can you know if your dog is experiencing anxiety? Below, we’re going over 10 signs your dog has anxiety to help you recognize the telltale signs of anxiety in dogs. Then, at the end of this post, we’ll also go over some ways you can manage anxiety if your dog is displaying symptoms.
1. Excessive Barking
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It’s normal for dogs to bark if they see something outside or if they hear a suspicious or loud noise. But if your dog seems to be barking non-stop for no apparent reason, this could be a symptom of anxiety, especially if they also can’t be soothed when they’re barking.
2. Uncontrolled Urinating or Defecating
When dogs are anxious, they may sometimes leave trails of urine as they walk. Or, they may experience uncontrolled defecation. This issue is commonly mistaken for “bad” behavior or a sign that a dog has forgotten their house training. But uncontrolled urination or defecation is often a symptom of anxiety that occurs due to a fight-or-flight response. When a dog is anxious, they can experience a fight-or-flight response, which raises their adrenaline and helps them get out of perceived danger. But a by-product of this raised adrenaline is a relaxing of the bladder or sphincter, which allows urine or feces to release.
If a dog is anxious, they may tend to hide away in an attempt to avoid things that scare them. For example, they may go off into another room, hide under furniture, or hide under their owner’s legs.
Some dogs seek solitude or exhibit escape behavior when they’re feeling anxious, while others seek comfort. It’s normal for your dog to want regular attention and affection, but if they’re excessively seeking comfort, it could be a sign that they’re experiencing anxiety.
5. Destructive Behavior
Some dogs experience separation anxiety, anxiety that occurs when they’re separated from their owner. And a very common symptom of separation anxiety is destructive behavior. Dogs may chew up furniture, scratch at doors or doorways, or just generally wreak havoc on your home while you’re away if they’re experiencing separation anxiety.
6. Nervous Pacing
Your dog may pace around the house due to boredom, so pacing can sometimes be normal behavior. However, they may also pace because of nervous energy caused by anxiety. If your dog is pacing frequently, pay attention to your dog’s body language while they pace and consider whether or not they’re exhibiting other symptoms of anxiety.
Chuffing is when a dog sharply exhales air, making a noise that sounds like a cross between an exhale and a bark. This vocalization is a way for your dog to release stress, so if you notice that your dog is chuffing often, they may be experiencing anxiety.
8. Trembling and Shaking
Trembling and shaking are some of the most noticeable signs of anxiety in dogs. When a dog is experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, they may visibly tremble or shake. This expression of anxiety is also often accompanied by other signs of stress and fear, like wide eyes, a furrowed brow, or whining.
9. Compulsive Licking or Chewing
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When a dog is feeling anxious, they may compulsively lick or chew at their own fur. While this behavior can sometimes be tied to certain health issues or medical conditions (such as allergies or dry skin), excessive licking and chewing is also a common sign of anxiety.
Many things can cause aggression in dogs, including fear or anxiety. If a dog is experiencing anxiety, they may suddenly become aggressive toward other dogs or even toward their pet parent.
Managing An Anxious Dog
It’s challenging to see your dog experience anxiety, since no one wants to see their pet suffer. However, there are steps you can take to help your dog manage their anxiety. If you notice your dog is experiencing anxiety, avoid punishing or scolding them, since this could make them feel even more afraid or anxious. Also avoid praising them, because this could reinforce anxious behavior. If your dog is anxious, it’s most important to discover what is making them feel anxious. After you figure out why your dog is anxious, you can work on controlling their exposure to anxiety-inducing stimuli and giving rewards for positive behavior.
Sometimes, using behavioral modification techniques is enough to ease a dog’s anxiety and improve an anxious dog’s behavior. However, if anxiety persists after trying these techniques, your dog may benefit from an anti-anxiety medication or supplement that’s designed to treat anxiety.
As a pet CBD company, we know that anxiety is actually one of the most common reasons dog owners try CBD for pets. And many pet parents have found that CBD has made an enormous difference in their dog’s quality of life. If you’re interested in trying CBD for your dog’s anxiety, we carry a variety of CBD pets for dogs, such as our CBD Pet-Oleum Tincture and our CBD Pumpkin Treats. All of our veterinarian-formulated pet CBD products are made with high quality hemp-derived CBD. Additionally, they include other healthy and delicious ingredients that pets love (like salmon oil and pumpkin) to offer your pets additional health benefits. To learn more about our premium quality pet CBD products, click here.