Recognizing Anxiety In Your Dog
Chase Correll | July 24 2018
I’m sorry dog owners but I’ve got to break it to you: our dogs can’t talk. I know, I know, you swear your dog said your name that one time after it yawned, and I totally believe you. I’m not going to deprive you of that miraculous moment; I’m here today to talk about recognizing key signs that point to anxiety in our pups.
Chronic anxiety devastates anyone who experiences it, especially our furry little friends. Anxiety in our dogs can diminish their immune systems over time (link to immune system article), leading to increased risk for illness and infection. Anxiety can dangerously affect your dog’s health and wellness. No dog owner wants that.
Watch The Body Language
Because our pups can’t pull us to the side and tell us when they’re feeling a little anxious, it’s important to become aware of the physical symptoms of anxiety in our dogs. Flattened ears, shivering, tucked tail and hunched body, and even lip or nose licking can all be key signs of anxiety in your pup. All of these physical signs indicate a certain sense of discomfort your dog may be experiencing. The most important thing here is recognizing the context of the situation for these behaviors. For example, if your dog licks its lip while your pouring food in its doggy dish, then of course that is a normal sign. But if your pup licks its lips, or “flicks” its tongue two or three times in rapid succession, then it’s more likely that your pup feels a certain degree of discomfort. Another key body language our dogs can use to communicate anxiety is yawning. Yawning helps our pups release stress, but is also context dependent: if your pup yawns while at the park or in an unfamiliar area, then they’re experiencing anxiety and discomfort. However, if your furry friend is simply lounging around the house and yawning, then they’re likely just sleepy and being cute. Remember, context is key.
Examine Abnormal Behavior
Watch out for increased vigilance in your pup. Things like excessive scanning of your home, when most dogs would be relaxed, or excessive barking can point to signs of anxiety in your dog. Also be on the lookout for pacing: if your dog can’t sit still it’s likely dealing with some anxiety.
Destructive behaviors that occur when your pup is left alone, like chewing on furniture or tearing up the trash, are usually a sign of separation anxiety. The best way to deal with separation anxiety, and anxiety in general, is through training or the use of essential oils that help to calm your pup. Applying a nice melting balm to your dog, like Sleepy Cotton’s Calming Shiny Dog Melting Balm, can help alleviate anxiety. The lavender in these melting balms works wonders for calming down an anxious pup. Also be vigilant for indoor, potty accidents. If your pup starts to inappropriately do its business inside the house, chances are it may be experiencing anxious episodes causing it to lose control of its bladder. Excessive shedding may also point to signs of anxiety, or possibly indicate signs of an unhealthy coat of fur. Whatever the case, bathing your dog with a beneficial shampoo, like Sleepy Cotton’s Calming Dog Shampoo, can benefit its coat of fur and help reduce stress and anxiety.
Context is key. When looking for symptoms of anxiety in your pup, remind yourself of the current situation. If the body language or behavior doesn’t fit the situation at hand, then your dog is likely experiencing anxiety and discomfort. Stay vigilant, and keep that sweet pup anxiety free!