Anxiety in Dogs

dog laying down due to anxiety

Did you know that dogs can suffer from anxiety? And when they do—when anxiety takes hold, just like us, stress can lead to significant consequences.

Understanding and addressing canine anxiety is crucial for maintaining their well-being.

We’re going to delve into the causes and symptoms of anxiety in dogs, offering practical advice and solutions to help you support your furry friend.

Let’s jump in…

Can Dogs Have Anxiety?

It’s true—dogs, just like us, can feel stressed, anxious, and distressed. While small, infrequent episodes of anxiety are considered normal, as they would with us (everyone has little worries), animals that experience regular or consistently high levels of anxiety result are at risk. They may display all sorts of behavioural problems or see a reduction in their quality of life and a strain on their relationship with their owner.

What is canine anxiety, and what causes it?

Anxiety is a state of unease or apprehension that can be triggered by a variety of factors. When a dog is anxious, physiological changes occur, like what happens in humans. The sympathetic nervous system triggers a “fight or flight” response, leading to an increase in adrenaline production. This prepares the dog to either confront or flee a perceived threat. Heart rate and blood pressure rise, and cortisol (the primary stress hormone) is released. In a dog, this manifests as restlessness, panting, trembling, etc.

The most common causes of anxiety in dogs tend to be:

  • Separation from their owners
  • loud noises (such as fireworks or thunderstorms)
  • unfamiliar situations or environments
  • past traumatic experiences
an angry dog barking

What are the signs of anxiety in a dog?

Anxiety signs can differ depending on the dog and the specific cause of their anxiety. The following are some of the most common signs to look out for:

  • Restlessness
  • Trembling
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Excessive barking or whining
  • Destructive behaviour (such as chewing or digging)
  • Urinating or defecating in the house
  • Attempts to escape or run away
  • Aggression

Some of these may result from an isolated anxiety-inducing event. However, if you notice them occurring frequently, take them seriously and seek veterinary help. Aggression, in particular, should not be ignored, as it is dangerous to both the dog and others around it if it’s not addressed.

Having an anxious pet can be distressing. Fortunately, there are things we can do to manage it and ensure our beloved four-legged friends live a happy, comfortable life.

How to help a dog with Anxiety

If you think your dog may be experiencing some anxiety, seek advice from your veterinarian or an animal behaviourist. They can help diagnose anxiety, identify triggers and determine necessary treatments, as well as rule out other medical conditions.

One of the most common ways to manage anxiety in dogs is through behaviour modification techniques, including desensitisation and counterconditioning. These involve gradually exposing your dog to an anxiety trigger in a controlled setting and providing positive reinforcement for calm behaviour. For example, if your dog is triggered by other bikes, having someone ride a bike nearby and reward them for correct, calm behaviour trains them towards the appropriate response. This can help the dog learn to associate the trigger with positive experiences and reduce its anxiety over time.

Medication can also be an option. Anti-anxiety medications can help reduce the severity of symptoms. So, with the more severe symptoms reduced, it becomes easier to train your dog through behavioural training. Anxiety medication must be prescribed and monitored closely through a veterinarian to determine the appropriate medication and dosage for your dog. Some medications can have side effects or interactions with other medications.

How to Manage Canine Anxiety at Home

There are a number of options you can do at home to help manage your dog’s anxiety. Providing a safe and comfortable environment for them, including a cosy bed, plenty of toys and chew treats, and a predictable routine, can help them feel more secure and relaxed. Regular exercise and playtime can also help promote positive behaviour.

A Vet that can help with Canine Anxiety

Anxiety in dogs is treatable, and seeking professional advice is the first step toward helping your dog (and yourself) feel more calm and comfortable.

Here at Berwick Clyde Vet, we strive to make each pet’s visit a positive one. We are here to help and understand that caring for an anxious pet can be difficult. You are not alone, and with patience, understanding, and the right treatment plan, together we can help your furry friend overcome their anxiety and live a happier, more relaxed life.

To book a consultation, or speak to one of our experienced team, contact us here.

Share This :
Facebook
LinkedIn

Get in touch

Our team are ready to take your call. 

Berwick Clyde Vet IconBerwick Clyde Vet

Unit 3/121 Grices Road, Clyde North

5.0 48 reviews

  • Avatar Ashlee Crisp ★★★★★ in the last week
    The staff at Berwick Clyde Vet are warm, friendly and so passionate about what they do! The service is impeccable - the reception staff are absolutely lovely and the vets are extremely thorough and knowledgeable, not to mention great with … More the fur babies. My dog doesn’t get anxious at all going to the vet because he is always so well looked after from the minute we arrive. I can’t recommend Berwick Clyde Vet highly enough!
  • Avatar Michelle Thompson ★★★★★ in the last week
    Vet talked me through in simple terms how they can help my chi after going to serval vets . Patience and knowledgeable.
  • Avatar Tahyah McGrath ★★★★★ in the last week
    The care provided by the team from beginning to end of my kitty’s recent procedure was exceptional. What truly impressed me were the consistent updates and photos they shared throughout the day, which provided immense peace of mind. I couldn't … More be more satisfied with the quality of care received!
  • Avatar Andrea Triffett ★★★★★ in the last week
    They looked after our little girl so well sent us messages to let us know how she was doing. Thank you for taking good care of Ayla A++
  • Avatar Kylie ★★★★★ 2 weeks ago
    Amazing Team!Such a relief to find a vet that is amazing with my Australian Shepherd. Very caring and professional, and they have no issues in handling him, and he very much enjoys going there.Lovely photos, updates and follow up when … More having a procedure, and everyone is very welcoming.Also a great sized waiting room, so your pets don’t have to feel cramped and overwhelmed.
  • Avatar Ashily D ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Super lucky to have this new vet nearby! Dr Jess and the team have the utmost care for animals. Our dog is not a fan of vets due to previous experiences but has been really well taken care of here! As a testament, our doggo was actually … More excited by the idea of going here the second time we took her in. Thanks so much to the passionate team here! Your support and extra mile of care and attention to detail is not unnoticed!

You're in good hands

Lynbrook Veterinary Services Primary Care Practice

Lynbrook Vet is a close-knit team of Veterinary professionals dedicated to practising veterinary science in a compassionate, trustworthy, respectful and professional manner.  We care deeply not just for our patients and clients, but for one another as well.

Genuine Care
& Experience

Customised Treatment
Solutions

Customised Treatment
Solutions

Specialised
Services

Ready to book your appointment?

Please fill out the enquiry form below and we will get in touch with you soon. If your enquiry is urgent please call us on 8373 0301.

Contact Us

Contact Your Local Vet

Working Hours

Follow Us On Social Media

Search our site