Understanding an anxious dog.

Understanding an anxious dog. Image: Pixabay

Expert reveals signs your dog needs calming

An anxious dog might exhibit similar signs to a stressed human, such as panting, pacing, trembling, and changes in appetite…

Understanding an anxious dog.

Understanding an anxious dog. Image: Pixabay

If you’re familiar with dogs, you likely know that dogs suffer from stress and anxiety – just like humans!

It can be challenging to recognize the behavioral cues that indicate stress or unease in your pet. But being able to spot and understand them is crucial for your pet’s well-being. 

Andrew Leal, co-founder and CEO of Waggel, speaks to us today to discuss the common signs of canine anxiety and provide practical tips for pet owners to address these issues effectively.

Behavioral Indicators of a Stressed or Anxious Dog

1. Excessive Panting

While panting is normal after exercise or in hot weather, excessive panting without a clear reason can signal stress.

Ensure your dog has a cool, quiet place to relax. Provide plenty of water and consider calming aids like anxiety wraps or pheromone diffusers.

2. Pacing

Repetitive movement or pacing back and forth can indicate that your dog is anxious or unable to relax.

Try to identify and remove stressors from the environment. Engage your dog in calming activities like gentle play or a slow, controlled walk.

3. Yawning

Frequent yawning, especially in situations where your dog wouldn’t normally be tired, can be a sign of stress.

Create a calm and predictable routine. Avoid exposing your dog to overwhelming situations and provide a safe space for them to retreat to.

4. Lip Licking

Licking their lips when not eating or after drinking can indicate discomfort or anxiety.

Observe and note the contexts in which this behavior occurs to identify possible triggers. Provide positive reinforcement when your dog is calm.

5. Trembling

Shaking or trembling can be a clear sign of fear or anxiety, often in response to loud noises or unfamiliar environments.

Comfort your dog with gentle petting and soothing words. Consider desensitisation techniques to gradually acclimate them to the triggering stimuli.

6. Avoiding Eye Contact

Dogs avoiding eye contact may feel threatened or anxious.

Avoid forcing interactions. Allow your dog to approach you on their terms and use positive reinforcement to build their confidence.

7. Excessive Barking

Unusual or prolonged barking can indicate that your dog is stressed or anxious.

Determine the cause of the barking. Ensure your dog is well-exercised and mentally stimulated to reduce anxiety-related barking.

8. Destructive Behavior

Chewing, digging, or other destructive actions can be a way for dogs to cope with stress.

Provide appropriate chew toys and engage in regular playtime. Ensure your dog is not left alone for extended periods.

9. Changes in Appetite

Stress can lead to a decreased or increased appetite.

Maintain a consistent feeding schedule and consult a veterinarian if changes in eating habits persist. Offer high-quality, nutritious food to support overall health.

10. Withdrawal

A stressed dog may become withdrawn and less interested in social interactions or activities they usually enjoy.

Spend quality time with your dog, offering gentle encouragement and affection. Avoid pressuring them into social situations they’re uncomfortable with.

Watching Out for The Signs

Understanding your dog’s body language and behavior is key to addressing their stress. 

Keep a diary of any changes or patterns in your dog’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer if necessary. 

It’s important to remember that each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. 

Patience, consistency, and empathy are essential in helping your dog overcome anxiety.

Andrew reveals, “Implementing these tips and understanding your dog’s stress signals will foster a stronger bond between you and your furry friend, ensuring a happier and healthier life for both of you.”