Anxiety is a common mental health issue in humans, but did you know that it can affect dogs too? It’s a bigger problem than people realize and there are a lot of reasons why a dog might suffer from anxiety. It’s just as difficult and distressing as it is for people, so you need to learn how to identify anxiety in dogs and treat it. So, how can you tell if a dog is feeling anxious?
Running Away And Cowering
If your dog seems to be very scared and they run away into the corner of the room and cower when people enter, that’s not a good sign. This can be common in rescue dogs that have been through a difficult time but it can happen to any dog. Usually, this is an indication that they are feeling very anxious.
Changes To Appetite
A change in your dog’s appetite should always be a cause for concern and you should take them to see the vet. It can be caused by an underlying condition, so you need to get them checked out to make sure that their health is not at risk. However, if there is no obvious physical cause for their loss of appetite, it could be down to anxiety.
An Inability To Settle
This one can be more difficult to spot, but if you notice that your dog is restless and cannot settle, particularly if they pace around a lot for no reason, that could be a sign of anxiety. Sometimes, it might just be that their environment isn’t comfortable, so you should get them the best calming dog bed you can find and create their own welcoming space for them. But if this still doesn’t work, you need to think about more advanced anxiety treatments.
A poorly trained dog will often chew at the furniture but this is something that puppies should grow out of fairly soon. If your adult dog suddenly starts chewing at the furniture, it’s usually because they are feeling anxious. There are other reasons, so get them checked over by the vet, but make sure that you consider the possibility of anxiety.
What Can You Do?
Treating anxiety in dogs can be difficult but you have a few options. Behavioral therapy is often a good way to calm their anxiety. This is particularly good for dogs that have separation anxiety during the day when everybody is out of the house. It’s about changing those negative associations that they have with being at home, and you can do this by giving them puzzle toys to keep them occupied. You should also start by leaving them at home for a short period, then gradually increasing it so they can get used to it.
Medication can sometimes be helpful for dogs with anxiety too. Vets will use medication when the problem is very severe, but it is only there to manage the symptoms while you carry out behavioral therapy treatments to deal with the underlying cause.
Many people are using CBD products for their pets these days too. Although they are relatively new and more research needs to be done, they have promising results when used to treat anxiety in humans and animals.
If you have any concerns about your dog and you think they may be suffering from anxiety, get in touch with your vet and they will be able to give you advice.