Dogs are sociable animals. They have been trained to relate with humans for many years. Dogs are perhaps one of the earliest animals to be domesticated in human history. In general, dogs like to wait on their owners, keeping them company while they feel at home themselves. This kind of familiarity often takes time to establish and involves adopting several strategies, including cuddling, patting, feeding, playing, and walking among others. However, dogs may often display discomfort in certain instances even while their best person is with them. One such instance is when a dog is to go on a trip in a car or when the dog owner is not home, with questions emerging as to the reasons for such sudden behavioral shift. So, how may the anxiety of a dog be detected?
Signs that Show a Dog is Anxious
The dog may begin to lip lick.
This is a common symptom whereby to detect a dog is anxious. When a dog is not anxious, the dog should relax. However, as soon as anxiety develops, the dog may shoot out its tongue and begin to lick its upper lip. This may be done repeatedly.
Barking or howling.
Barking is another way whereby a dog may show it is anxious. Naturally, barking is part of the way of life of a dog. However, barking or howling may become intense in some instances. And it is a sign of worry that should prompt the dog owner to look around.
Panting is a condition whereby the breathing rate of a dog increases. Panting is commonly stimulated by actual danger or threat to the dog from its surroundings. Hence, panting is a way whereby the dog expresses fear or worry about towards a scary condition.
This is another visible way a dog expresses discomfort to situations in its environment. Shivering may be described as unpleasant body movement or shaking, usually prompted by some terrifying situation or condition on the outside. When stimulated from the outside, shivering occurs as a response to a peculiar occurrence.
An anxious dog may express its anxiety by retreating from a perceived cause of danger or threat to its life. The dog may try to hide itself away from sight in a chair, table, or cushions. Alternatively, or when no such object is available, the dog may begin to run away to avoid the identified danger or threat. For instance, when a dog is road-trip anxious, it may begin to run away or cower while it is being enticed to come near the vehicle. In some cases, mere seen the vehicle parked with the doors open, the dog may feel you want to take it to a veterinarian and may find means to escape from the yard.
Sudden loss of appetite.
Sometimes, a dog that has shown symptoms of illness may refuse to eat its food. And worse still, every effort to make entice it eat its food may prove abortive. When this happens, the dog has discomfort. In some other cases, the dog may begin to chew its toys or furniture to show that it is angry or amused about something in its environment. See alsoreference
Overall inability to settle.
A dog may become restless for a long while. This may be marked by several visible symptoms. For instance, the dog may sit or get up often, lifting its paw, looking away or it may urinate frequently. Symptoms of general restlessness or discomfort may include individual or combination of all symptoms.
Types of Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs are sociable animals that get easily familiar with their owners. Thus, many dogs can barely stay alone in the house when their owners sneak out. Separation from the dogs may be marked by symptoms, including barking and destroying house furniture.
Anxiety due to loud noises.
As with other animals like birds and cats, many dogs are startled by loud noises in their environment. When such noises occur, dogs may feel their lives are threatened and develop anxiety. Noises that can stimulate anxiety in dogs include thunderstorms and fireworks.
Anxiety caused by changes in normal routine.
Dogs are excellent at learning and once they learn a thing, they become used to it and would rarely expect it to change. Thus, slight changes such as alteration of work hours, moving car or house make them anxious. Because dogs are intelligent watchers, they may develop discomfort when a valued item is being taken away from their territory. This behavior is described as resource guiding.
Tips on Treating a Dog’s Anxiety
Adjust the dog’s behavior.
Training a dog to get used to changes in routine is a primary way to correct a dog’s wrong impression about changes in their environment. For instance, where a dog is anxious about its owner staying out late, the dog may be trained to stay alone for a while. When the dog gets used to staying alone this way, the duration and distance of separation may be gradually, cleverly extended. When anxiety develops from loud noise, train the dog gradually to associate with noises.
This is another way to stop a dog’s anxiety and it involves holding the dog in the hands tenderly in a way that the dog will feel loved. This method works more when the dog is crying as a response to the anxiety. Cuddling is an alternative to method to patting.
It may be necessary to use anti-anxiety medication especially where other methods have proved abortive. Thankfully, there are medications manufactured specifically to treat dog’s anxiety. Use of medication may be necessary where anxiety becomes severe that it now inhibits the dog’s ability to learn. See alsoreference
Plan your trip in advance.
This is another effective option to manage a dog’s anxiety. Planning should be done ahead when the dog owner is intending to travel away from home. In this case, the dog may be taken to a doggy home or to a friend’s house.
Keeping dogs as pets has many benefits. However, anxiety in dogs can be very unpleasant. Adoption of adequate method to treat dog anxiety is advised but must be applied wisely to forestall further complications.