Lack Of Exercise Causing Anxiety
A study from 2015 in the journal Plos One looked into the different cause of anxiety in dogs, specifically pointing to how early life experiences affect a dog’s well-being. They found that fearful dogs had socialization experiences a lower quality of maternal care when they were puppies.
However, the same researchers were surprised to find out that a lack of exercise was a more common factor in their research group. They found that dogs with noise sensitivity and separation anxiety had less daily exercise. This goes to show just how important regular walks and sufficient exercise are for a dog’s well-being.
The Difference Between Fear Phobia And Anxiety In Dogs
noise aversionPet Tunes.Anxiety that is more general typically causes the dog to be on edge on a regular basis.supplementspressure wrapspheromonesmusicbiofeedback toolsbehavior modification trainingTrupanion. Trupanion Learn more about Trupanion here.EusohEusohPetHubs basic members get 18% off their membership fee and premium members get a whopping 29% off!
Why Do Dogs Have Separation Anxiety
It is not understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety. There could be an underlying medical condition. Or it could be triggered by an environmental change, like the addition of a new baby, a move to a new home, or the death of an owner or another pet. Other causes could be from a change in schedule , or because the dog is spending more time in the crate, kennel, or vet’s office.
The Spruce / Missy Schrott
Recommended Reading: Do I Have High Functioning Anxiety
What Is Dog Anxiety
Dog anxiety is when a dog is fearful or worried that something bad will happen. Anxiety is a natural emotion that helps alert to danger. However, if too pronounced, dog anxiety can be a problem.
As problematic dog behavior, anxiety is quite common. According to a 2020 study, 72.5% of dogs show some form of anxiety-like behavior. The most common type of dog anxiety in the study was noise phobias .
Common Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety
The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate separation anxiety:
Urinating and DefecatingSome dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their guardians. If a dog urinates or defecates in the presence of his guardian, his house soiling probably isnt caused by separation anxiety.
Barking and HowlingA dog who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesnt seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.
Chewing, Digging and DestructionSome dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, dig at doors and doorways, or destroy household objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a dogs chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they dont usually occur in his guardians presence.
EscapingA dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where hes confined when hes left alone or separated from his guardian. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dogs escape behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it doesnt occur when his guardian is present.
Don’t Miss: Can I Get Anxiety Medication Online
Causes Of Anxiety In Dogs
There are various factors that could contribute to your dogs anxiety, ranging from genetic factors to lack of appropriate socialization, traumatic events, or diseases in other body systems. In order to properly treat your dogs anxiety, its helpful to understand the root cause of it.
These are the most common causes of anxiety in dogs:
Your dogs anxiety might seem out of the blue, but its usually due to some sort of environmental change or stressful situation. However, certain dog breeds are more predisposed to anxiety.
Exercisea Major Stress Resilience Factor
The alternative explanation for the observed association between exercise and anxiety could relate to the owner factor: anxious dogs are exercised less because fearfulness challenges such routines. These dogs may, for example, run away, be less obedient, or behave aggressively when startled. However, Tami et al. did not find any difference in obedience between dogs with short compared with long walks . Our results did not find any association between daily exercise and aggressiveness towards strangers, but we did find a modest association where dogs with less daily exercise were more aggressive to other dogs. We could speculate that these dogs may also have fewer experiences and therefore be more fearful. However, puppy socialization did not correlate with daily walks. Thus, our and others’ data makes the alternative explanation for the observed association less likely. However, daily exercise was also positively associated with other routines that together may have an effect on anxiety. Dogs that got more daily exercise spend less time alone, and their owners had more activities with these dogs as well. The amount of daily exercise can thus be a variable that indicates the overall quality of general dog management.
Recommended Reading: What Can Social Anxiety Lead To
Signs Of Separation Anxiety
A dog who has it shows a lot of stress when they are alone. They might:
- Howl, bark, or whine to excess
- Have indoor “accidents” even though they are housebroken
- Chew things up, dig holes, scratch at windows and doors
- Drool, pant, or salivate way more than usual
- Pace, often in an obsessive pattern
- Try to escape
They likely won’t do any of these things to an extreme while youâre around. A normal dog might do some of these things once in a while, but one with separation anxiety will do them almost all the time.
How Do I Know That My Pets Problem Is Due To Separation Anxiety
Dr. Agapis stresses the importance of distinguishing between separation anxiety and other behavioral problems. Many other conditions, such as barrier frustration, storm phobias, lack of mental stimulation, destructive behaviors when a puppy is teething , exploratory behavior, and underlying medical problems, could be the cause of the behavior.
For example, your kitty may not be using the litter box all the time due to a bladder problemor because the litter box is not clean, she says. To rule out medical causes, owners should consult their veterinarian about the pets symptoms.
Many dogs with separation anxiety also have noise or thunderstorm phobia, which may complicate the diagnosis and treatment. According to Dr. Agapis, separation anxiety is a distress behavior that happens every time the dog is alone the dog will not display these behaviors in the owners presence. Noise and storm phobias, on the other hand, arise in response to those triggers.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Weight Loss
Behavior Modification For Dogs
When is behavior modification used for dog anxiety?
Behavior modification is a relatively new tool dog trainers and behaviorists use to manage anxiety in dogs. It includes two basic techniques desensitization and counterconditioning. Dog separation anxiety training is based on behavior modification. The process is gradual but pays off in the long run.
What are the benefits of behavior modification for dog anxiety?
- Improves the bond with your dog
- Offers mental stimulation to your dog
- Proven effective for most dogs
What are the risks of using behavior modification for dog anxiety?
- Often requires hiring a professional dog trainer
- The training process is relatively long
How Do You Treat A Senior Dog Who Has Anxiety At Night
Once you know the why behind your dogs nighttime anxiety, its time to talk treatment options. Remember, a diagnosis can be tricky. Dont give up if you dont have a definitive answer on your first vet visit. It may take several visits and lots of detailed observations on your end to unravel the full story.
Here are a few treatment options that you and your veterinarian may discuss:
Don’t Miss: What To Do When You Have Separation Anxiety
Help Train Your Puppy To Overcome Anxiety With Petplate
Anxiety in dogs can happen for many reasons, from situational anxiety, like car rides or thunderstorms, to separation anxiety, to anxiety caused by overstimulation or loud noises. Regardless of the cause, your dog doesnt have to suffer. Whether your dog has mild anxiety or severe anxiety, help is available.
Your veterinarian may recommend certain anxiety meds for dogs, a different diet, anxiety supplements for dogs, etc. You can also try changing your dogs environment into a more soothing space by purchasing a dog anxiety bed or a comforting crate. Dog anxiety vests may be especially helpful for dogs who suffer from anxiety during thunderstorms or loud situations, like vacuuming or fireworks, as they can easily be taken on and off.
Retraining and positive reinforcement can also combat your dogs anxiety by exposing them to their fear, helping them to overcome it in the process. For some dogs, this may look like regular walks that expose your dog to the outdoors and strangers or introducing your dog to strangers in a safe environment. One of the best ways to reinforce training is through the use of treats! PetPlate offers Chicken Apple Sausage Bites which are ideal for training because they are easy to break apart, high in protein, and made from six wholesome ingredients. Our delicious treats are picky eater-approved, grain-free, and USDA organic so that you can give your pup treats during training sessions guilt-free!
What Behaviors Indicate A Diagnosis Of Separation Anxiety
According to Dr. Agapis, signs of separation anxiety differ between cats and dogs. The behaviors seen in dogs include: following their owner pre-departure anxiety vocalization destructive behavior, such as chewing and biting inappropriate elimination pacing frantic attempts to escape self-destructive behavior salivation vomiting lack of appetite for no medical reason and exuberant greeting when their owner returns.
While the criteria for cat diagnosis has not been clearly defined, some behaviors seen in cats with separation anxiety include: inappropriate urination or defecation excessive vocalization, such as loud, persistent meowing eating too fast or not at all vomiting excessive grooming destructiveness, such as shredding curtains or furniture with claws or knocking over objects and exuberant greeting when their owner returns.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Headaches From Anxiety
A Proper Place To Sleep
It is important to provide a proper place for your senior dog to sleep. The place should be cool with no external disturbances. External disturbances especially during night time such as other dogs howling, any other activities can cause a lot of disturbance to your dog can in turn cause anxiety in him.
If your dogs capacity of vision is reduced, it is better if you keep the light turned on in your dogs room as the shadows of some objects may seem spooky to your dog during the night.
Install some led night lights in your dogs room to keep them turned on the whole night.
Treatment Of Storm Phobia
Depending on presentation, treatment of storm phobia may be straightforward. Such solutions include:
- Bringing the dog indoors during the storm
- Providing background noise
- Offering a safe place, such as a bathtub, laundry basket, or open closet
- If possible, having the owner present.
Given the complex nature of storm phobia, however, treatment is challenging and requires intensive follow-up in some dogs. The dog may be responding to impossible-to-control stimuli, such as changes in barometric pressure, ionization, and lightning, making desensitization difficult.
Don’t Miss: Can Anxiety Make You Forgetful
Is It Possible To Prevent Damage To My Home Without Kenneling My Pet
Yes! It helps if pet owners create an enrichment-filled environment that appeals to the five senses, advises Dr. Agapis. For example, consider putting on video or audio streaming designed to relax and entertain dogs. Give your pet a great view of the outdoors so they can watch birds and squirrels going by. Get a variety of food-dispensing toys, taste-enhanced toys, and puzzle toys and give the pet access to the toy only when you are out. The toy should be picked up immediately upon your return. Rotate which toy you offer to keep the pets interest up. You can also add novel scents, such as vanilla or other animal scents to the toys. Lastly, feed your pet their morning meal right as you are leaving.
How Can I Prevent Dog Anxiety
As a dog owner, there are several things you can do to prevent dog anxiety. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep your dog stress-free:
- Avoid Triggers. Obviously, the best thing you can do is avoid potential anxiety triggers. Sadly, this is not always possible. However, it helps if you can minimize the exposure.
- Start Training. Dog training can go a long way in shaping your dogs behavior. If training your dog is more than you can handle, you can hire a professional dog trainer.
- Regular Exercise. Physical activity is vital for preventing dog anxiety. Plus, regular exercise will keep your dog in shape and prevent obesity-related health conditions.
- Mental Stimulation. The dogs mind also needs exercise to stay sharp and healthy. You can prevent anxiety by providing interactive and puzzle toys for your dog.
- Socialization. Socialization can also help prevent anxiety. Enroll your puppy in a doggy daycare and make sure it meets new people and finds itself in different situations.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Phone Anxiety
Senior Dog Anxiety At Night
A dog is never the same and its behaviour changes with age. This is common and you can observe certain behavioural changes in older dogs. Your senior dog behaviour changes with age and if these are not properly managed, they turn into behavioural problems and living with a senior dog can be troublesome.
One of the common issues every senior dog owner face is their senior dog anxiety at night. It can be painful for any dog owner when you see that your dog is suffering from anxiety and restlessness during the night.
But why does a senior dog become anxious in the night? Why is it restless? What are the best ways to treat this issue and make your elderly dog sleep happily?
Let us find out answers to all these questions in the below article
Treating Extreme Fear And Anxiety In Dogs
If your veterinarian diagnoses a simple fear, anxiety or phobia, they might prescribe anti-anxiety medication in addition to recommending management techniques and behavior modification exercises.
Your doctor will make recommendations based on your individual dogs fear trigger, or they will refer you to a veterinary behaviorist who can help your pet.
Most forms of treatment will be done over the long-term, and could possibly span several years. It generally depends on the duration and intensity of the clinical signs of anxiety. Minimum treatment averages four to six months.
Keep in mind that prescription medications are not right for every pet and are typically implemented only as a last resort in severe instances.
If your dog has extreme panic and separation anxiety and needs to be protected until medications can become effective, which can take days to weeks, hospitalization may be the best choice.
Otherwise, you will care for your dog at home and will need to provide protection from self-inflicted physical injury until your dog calms down. You may need to arrange for day care or dog-sitting.
Don’t Miss: How To Work With Anxiety
Is My Dog Anxious Or Excited
A highly aroused dog will generally have a high heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. They may drool excessively, may have dilated pupils, and will have poor impulse control in response to the stimulus. A highly aroused dog is stressed. Stress is usually thought of as negative stress or distress.
Panic Attacks In Dogs
It is certainly possible for canines to have panic attacks.
Normally associated with humans, a panic attack in canines is similar to an acute bout of generalized anxiety.
If suffering from severe dog anxiety, your pet dog may urinate themselves and become very vocal.
In this moment of fear it is important to try and calm your dog, but also be aware as dogs at this moment can lash out with aggression.
Read Also: Can Not Enough Sleep Cause Anxiety
What Is Anxiety
“From a clinical perspective, there are two primary patterns of anxiety,” says Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVBM, CABC, a veterinary behaviorist at the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, Ore. Broadly speaking, the patterns break down into situational anxiety and generalized anxiety. “Situational anxiety occurs in specific situations or contexts. For instance your dog may become anxious when she’s left alone or when she is left at the boarding facility. Generalized anxiety doesn’t depend on one particular context or event.” Pachel says.
When a dog’s anxiety becomes severe and hinders their quality of life, that’s when it’s time to seek attention from a veterinary behaviorist or certified animal behavior consultant.
While we’re at it, a quick note about fear: “Although fear and anxiety often get lumped together, they are actually completely separate emotional states,” Pachel says. Fear is an emotional state, something that an animal or human feels after a trigger or during an unpleasant event. Like being spooked after hearing a sudden lightning crash. Anxiety is the build-up of strong emotions and worrying about a potential threat or event. Like hearing rain drops and then worrying a big storm is coming even if there’s no sign of thunder or lightning.
How To Treat It
First, talk to your vet to rule out any medical problems. Sometimes dogs have accidents in the house because of infections or hormone problems or other health conditions. It also could be due to incomplete housebreaking. And some medications can cause accidents. If your dog takes any drugs, ask your vet if they are to blame.
You May Like: How To Help Calm Anxiety