Just like humans, dogs can get anxious, too. But anxiety in dogs can sometimes be tough to sniff out, with some behaviors being more subtle than others. So before you start thinking, “How can I relax my dog?” you need to recognize when they’re feeling anxious in the first place!
Signs of Anxiety in Pets
If your dog tries to dodge certain people or places, they might feel anxious or uncomfortable. Each pup is unique, though, and may show anxiety differently.
For example, some dogs may try to escape or hide when they feel anxious, retreating to a safe space like under the couch or in their crate. Some might avoid eye contact and slink away, while others might freeze like a statue.
If your dog is exhibiting avoidance symptoms, no worries! You can relax knowing that you’ve recognized this behavior in your dog and are ready to get them help.
It’s important to help your dog overcome their anxiety and wag their way to confidence. Otherwise, it could escalate into more serious issues, such as aggression, especially when dogs feel threatened.
An Increase in accidents
Uh-oh! Is your dog having more accidents than normal? It’s like they’re suddenly forgetting all their potty training and making a mess of the house. But before you grab the mop and broom, take a moment to consider that anxiety might be to blame.
Anxious dogs can lose control of their bladder or bowels, leading to accidents even if they’re well-trained. Worse, some dogs may engage in destructive behavior when left alone or during stressful situations, such as chewing on furniture or other household items. This can be frustrating for pet owners, but it’s often a sign that something deeper is happening with your pooch. With some extra TLC and patience, you can work through this ruff situation together quickly.
Is your dog yawning? Normal. But when done excessively, they might be feeling anxious and trying to calm themselves down.
Yawning can be a self-soothing behavior that helps dogs cope with anxiety. Kind of like how you might take a deep breath or count to ten when feeling stressed. So if you’ve noticed your dog yawning more frequently than usual, it could be time for you to resort to your “relax my dog” skills. Maybe your furry friend needs more exercise, or your pup needs more cuddles and reassurance.
Trembling or shaking
Is your dog quivering uncontrollably as if coming out of a bath? That could be an anxious dog that needs to relax!
Anxiety can cause them to feel nervous or scared. For example, some dogs may shake during car rides or when visiting the vet. Similarly, thunderstorms or fireworks can be anxiety-inducing for dogs, causing them to tremble in fear. But remember, not all shaking is caused by anxiety. It can also be a symptom of other medical conditions, such as pain or illness, so it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
Panting up a storm
If your dog is huffing and puffing as if they just ran a marathon, but they don’t appear to be in any physical pain, it could be their way of telling you something’s off.
While panting is a normal way for dogs to cool down, excessive panting could be a symptom of anxiety. Think of it as their built-in AC unit to keep them cool and comfy but with the added bonus of signaling their stress levels.
Anxious dogs might pant excessively, even in cool temperatures or even when they haven’t been exercising. Also, keep an eye out for other signs, such as pacing or drooling, which can indicate that your pup is feeling uneasy.
Are you checking off these boxes for anxious behavior in your pooch? Don’t worry! There are steps you can take to help your furry friend chase away the anxiety and fetch some fun.
Consult with your veterinarian to help you identify the cause of your dog’s dilemma — separation anxiety, loud noises, or unfamiliar surroundings, to name a few — and develop a treatment plan if underlying medical issues are detected. For more tail-wagging tips and tricks, discover these “Relax my dog” techniques and start implementing them to ease your dog’s anxiety.