No, anxiety is NOT only experienced by those of us standing on two legs! Pets can feel anxious too, but they often need their faithful human’s help in dealing with it!
Separation anxiety is the most common form of anxiety that dogs experience, but it can also be triggered by stressful situations. Thunderstorms, the presences of other dogs or animals, even humans that they don’t feel comfortable around.
Dogs can express their anxiety in several ways and to varying degrees. It’s up to you, as their person, to identify their triggers and calls for help, because they can’t verbalize what’s wrong.
They are family, after all. Once you can confidently recognize his stressors, relieve him of them. Stay tuned to find out our favorite way!
Common Signs of Anxiety
It’s true that some anxiety-driven behaviors can be similar to your dog’s typical actions, so it’s important to be aware of their personalities so you can weed out the moments of heightened stress.
Aggression & Excessive Barking or Whining – Feeling a bit feisty, are we? Your dog may get loud or behave more aggressively than you are used to or comfortable with when they’re feeling stressed. Ever let out an exasperated sigh or screamed into a pillow when you were feeling overwhelmed or frustrated?
Made you feel a bit better, didn’t it? Dogs tend to get vocal when they’re trying to communicate how they’re feeling, or when they’re simply trying to calm themselves down. It works for them in the same way it works for you.
Body Language & Distracted Behaviors – Shaking, pacing, itching, heavy drooling, yawning, licking, panting, tense muscles… the list goes on! If your pup is overtaken by stressed, they will almost definitely display telling body language. If you notice that your dog chooses the most unexpected and unnecessary moments to lick their, uh, privates… they may be suffering anxiety.
If he is pacing or repeatedly walking the same path in an agitated manner, he is feeling stressed. If his body tenses and shakes after an rare and/or uncomfortable experience, he is trying to rid himself of the discomfort.
Escape Artist – While some dogs may seek more comfort and attention, others may retreat. Do you get the feeling that your dog is trying to escape you? No hard feelings, it’s nothing personal.
Dogs often try to escape when they are feeling scared or trapped, so try to avoid crating them when emotions are running high. You may also find that your dog is withdrawing or making themselves scarce by hiding in places that they don’t usually spend time.
Physical Changes – You may be able to tell that your dog is feeling tense or stressed if he is showing any of these physical signs:
- Dilated pupils
- Showing more of the whites of their eyes
- Blinking more rapidly
- Ears pinned back on their head
Unusual Bodily Functions – Gahh, AGAIN, Max? Yep, don’t be alarmed if your well-trained friend starts popping a squat in your living room. Nervous dogs have a more difficult time controlling their bladder and bowels and are likely to urinate or defecate under stressful circumstances, regardless of where they are. Or, they may experience the opposite and suffer from constipation. It’s a lose-lose, trust us.
Shedding – Grab your lint brush, because you can expect more shedding on your clothes and furniture when your dog’s anxiety is high. Again, sound familiar? As humans, we can experience hair loss when we go through high stress situations. Well, our dogs can do the same. It’s called shedding and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Now, how can you deal with it?
There are a number of ways to manage your furry friend’s anxiety. First and foremost, identify the stimuli. What is making her feel this way? Is there a thunderstorm? Have you been away from home for an unusual amount of time? Was she confronted by a much larger, intimidating dog?
If you notice that she is having a panic attack or showing other signs of stress, try to avoid any form of punishment that is going to exacerbate the issue. Concurrently, you should avoid excessive coddling or overt positive attention so they don’t think they are being praised for their stressed out behavior.
Our favorite way to deal with our anxiety in dogs?
HempGold - Hemp Oil for Dogs
One of the most effective ways to calm your dog is with hemp oil. There are a variety of benefits of hemp oil for dogs, but one of the most glaring is the speed at which it can relieve their anxiety.
HempGold is an organic, CO2 distilled hemp extract. It’s non-GMO, pesticide-free and one of the highest-grade organic pet formulas in the world. Customers report seeing changes in their pup’s anxiety within minutes of application during thunderstorms, separation and more!
As a dog owner and lover, you know there is nothing worse than seeing your furry pal suffer from pain or anxiety. The best you can do is to be aware of the signs and work with your buddy to get through it. Consult your veterinarian if the problem persists.