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Can Dogs suffer from Anxiety?

February 15, 2020

Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from anxiety, dogs can also experience anxiety in various forms. Read more to learn about the types, causes, and treatments for anxiety in dogs.

Most dogs will exhibit some degree of anxiety intheir lives, and this behavior can be displayed as fearful or aggressive behavior. There are several types of dog anxiety including

  • Separation anxiety
  • Noise phobia
  • Food aggression
  • Fearful aggression

Anxiety or stress in dogs can be caused by a number of factors so it can be difficult to determine the cause. In some cases, it can be simple to determine the cause but difficult to treat or manage. One of the best ways to determine the cause of your dog’s anxiety is to look for the symptoms that occur when the trigger is present. Symptoms can range from

  • Pacing
  • Hiding
  • Shaking
  • Avoidance
  • Vomiting
  • Inappropriate urination or defecation

Once you have determined the trigger then you can begin with treatment or management of your dog’s anxiety. There is no one size fits all treatment plan for dogs with anxiety so be patient and compassionate to your dog in the process.

Desensitization — If the trigger is the nail trimmer, begin to desensitize your dog by presenting the trimmers in a non-threatening environment and allow your dog to adjust and begin to naturally reduce his anxiety.

Counter Condition — Offer your pet a reward when exposed to the trigger to help your dog associate the trigger with the reward. The reward will eventually begin to outweigh the fear

Medication – in extreme cases it may be best to consider medication to help manage your dog’s anxiety. Visit your vet for guidance on the severity of your dog’s anxiety and determine medication is the best option for treatment.

Lastly, its import to remember the do’s and don’ts of dealing with a dog who has anxiety

  • Don’t challenge or show aggression to a dog
  • Don’t physically harm your dogs
  • Do ensure your pet is current on all vaccines
  • Do warn others of your pet’s behavior before allowing them to touch or approach your dog

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