Major Causes For Your Dog's Anxiety

If you are a dog owner you know what it's like to be worried when something is not right and a dog with anxiety definitely will show you signs that something is wrong. So what exactly are these anxiety signs and what causes a dog to be anxious? 

Some of the most common signs are tucking their tail between their legs, avoiding eye contact, fidgeting and whimpering. Some other signs include:
  • Spontaneous elimination (urination/bowel movement)
  • Panting
  • Avoiding interactions 
  • Trembling
  • Pacing
  • Whining/whimpering
  • Excessive licking
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Displacement behaviors: yawning, lip licking, air sniffing, “shaking it off” like a wet dog

Let's not get confused, it is normal to show any one of these behaviors from time to time but to show them every day or multiple at a time is a cause to be concerned.

So what is causing these behaviors?
The causes are sometimes obvious such as they show one of the behaviors above before a vet appointment or when you have company, but they are not always so obvious and that is when attention to detail must be put into action. 
These are the leading causes for anxiety in dogs:

Leaving Them Home Alone 

As you probably know leaving your house in the morning to go to work or for whatever reason is always a challenge with your dog giving you those puppy eyes as you're leaving!! Dogs love to be with their owners and since they are so social, being alone is a major cause of anxiety for them. 
Some common behaviors of separation anxiety would include:
  1. Being destructive
  2. Whining and crying
  3. Hiding 
  4. Making potty where they are not supposed to
These behaviors are caused by feelings of loneliness, fear and boredom from being left alone for hours or even a few minutes depending on the dog.
To ease your dog's separation anxiety, give them a Kong toy with frozen peanut butter inside, take them for a walk around the neighborhood or give them their favorite toy to keep them happy and busy! You can also use these all natural solutions to help with anxiety!

Being A Rescue Dog

Rescue dogs usually have a traumatic experience in their past that affects their current anxiety and fear levels and that's completely normal considering they did not have an easy start. Some of their anxiety may also convert to separation anxiety due to the fear of being abandoned again. They may have also had to deal with an abusive owner and may have anxiety towards people because of that. 

Because they fear change, establishing a routine that rarely changes will help these dogs feel more secure about their day to day lives. A professional dog trainer can also help figure out their specific anxiety behaviors and triggers and come up with a personalized solution just for them!

Having an illness 

This type of anxiety is usually one that comes as soon as your dog becomes diagnosed with a disease. If they start to exhibit anxious behaviours out of the blue you should take them to see a vet to see if its due to a disease. 

Some common causes of this type of anxiety are:
  • Hypothyroidism: when fear responses and anxiety symptoms are coupled with weight gain, hair loss or lethargy, the cause might be a thyroid gland that doesn’t produce enough hormones
  • Thyrotoxicosis: also called Grave’s Disease, a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland
  • Encephalitis: inflammation and swelling of brain tissue can lead to anxiety behavior, as well as aggression, seizures, clumsy gait and even coma
  • Pre-diabetes: when new generalized anxiety is accompanied by weight gain, excessive thirst or appearance of cataracts, pre-diabetes may be the issue
  • Hearing or vision loss:  dogs without one of their senses may startle easily and become anxious of their unknown surrounding

Anxiety With No Cause

Some breeds are more prone than other to experience general anxiety!
 
Here are some of the most common ones:
  • German & Australian Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Vizsla
  • Border Collie
  • Shorthair Pointer
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Bichon Frise
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Greyhounds
  • Havanese
  • Many toy breeds

 Consistency in your schedule is key to reduce general anxiety!

 

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