Signs of anxiety in dogs

Eight signs for you to keep an eye out for!

Now I have republished items about this subject before but not for some time. This article which appeared on The Dodo was thorough in my opinion and, therefore, worthy of a republication.

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These 8 Signs Might Mean Your Dog Has Anxiety

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO, Published on the 21st July, 2021

Have you ever wondered if dogs can get anxiety?

Turns out, dogs totally can. And it’s important that you know what to look out for when trying to figure out if your dog does have anxiety.

According to Dr. Walter Burghardt, Jr., a veterinarian at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, there’s a spectrum of anxiety-related behaviors in dogs, ranging from mild to severe (just like in humans). 

These are some of the most common signs that your dog has anxiety, according to Dr. Burghardt.

Signs your dog is experiencing mild anxiety

She’s lip-licking

A common sign of mild anxiety — or just being plain uncomfortable — lip-licking usually means that your dog feels uncertain about whatever situation she’s in.

She’s yawning more than usual 

Dogs don’t only yawn because they’re tired. If you’re noticing your pup is yawning more than usual, or not anywhere close to bedtime, it could be because she’s feeling anxious.

She’s more inactive (or active) than usual

If you notice your dog is keeping to herself more than usual — or, on the other hand, if she’s more hyper than normal — this could be a sign that she’s feeling anxious and unsure of how to deal with those feelings.

Signs your dog is experiencing moderate anxiety

She’s tucking her tail

If you notice your dog’s tail is tucked, that’s a sign that she could be experiencing a more moderate case of anxiety.

Her ears are flattened

If you see your dog’s ears are pinned back, it could be a sign that she’s experiencing increased anxiety.

Other signs of moderate anxiety include an increased heart rate, respiration and dilated pupils.

Signs your dog is experiencing severe anxiety

She’s trying to escape

If your dog seems to be doing everything she can to escape or get away from a situation, it could mean she’s feeling severely anxious.

She’s hiding

If you’ve noticed your dog is trying to hide from a scary situation, it could be a sign that her anxiety is severe.

She’s being aggressive

If your dog is showing signs of aggressive behavior, it could mean that she’s feeling very fearful or stressed.

Other signs of very severe anxiety could be that your dog freezes, or just doesn’t move at all.

How to help an anxious dog

If your dog is diagnosed with anxiety, her treatment could depend on a few things:

  • The source of the anxiety
  • The intensity and duration of the anxiety
  • How often your dog’s behavior is affected by anxiety

“For more severe and more frequent cases, anxiety is usually treated with one or more medications to help reduce distress and physiological arousal, environmental changes to reduce the distressing characteristics of a scary event, and behavior modification aimed at improving the patient’s confidence in the scary situation,” Dr. Burghardt said.

If your dog is experiencing more mild anxiety, this can usually be treated by desensitizing your dog to the scary situation and working on building your pup’s confidence — all with the help and advice of your vet or dog behaviorist.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from anxiety, contact your vet to see what you can do to help her feel better.

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Now I left out of the post three recommendations “You can also try some tried-and-true tricks to help calm down an anxious dog” (my italics) because I didn’t think you wanted products from Amazon.

But I would love to hear how common it is to have a dog that shows anxiety. Do you want to leave me a comment?

11 thoughts on “Signs of anxiety in dogs

  1. Lenny gets anxious when we are going in the car. He had an accident when he first travelled a longer distance and doesnt yet associate the car with fun like a walk or seeing people etc. He’s got better as we tend to go short distance and then walk a new path or see new people who can give him ear tickles. When we are returning home, he tends to jump straight in, forgetting his anxiety.

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      1. I think he remembers his first trip and his illness. We are trying to take him out more often so he can associate the car with fun things. Additionally the rear side windows have been blanked off so his peripheral vision is stopped and he seems to be travelling better.

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