Understanding Anxiety In Dogs

Humans and dogs are a lot alike when it comes to certain types of behavior. By understanding anxiety in dogs you will be aware of what types of stressful situations can lead to the development of one of several different types of anxiety disorders.

There is no specific guideline as to what breeds will not develop anxiety, either. In fact, the American Kennel Club says that anxiety affects all breeds although there are some breeds that are somewhat more susceptible to develop anxiety than others.

The list below outlines the breeds that will most likely develop some form of anxiety at one point in their lives:

  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie
  • Greyhound
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Bichon Fries
  • Vizsla
  • Standard and Miniature Poodle

Types Of Dog Anxiety

There are a number of triggers that can result in the development of anxiety in dogs. Knowing what they are is an important step in understanding anxiety in dogs.

There are four main categories that anxiety triggers fall under. They include the following:

Noise Anxiety

Just as the name suggests, different or unusual noises can cause a dog to become fearful. Loud noises such as thunder or fireworks are two of the most common noises that have a negative effect on dogs.

Separation Anxiety

Your four-legged friend may become anxious when separated from you for any length of time. This can be a difficult situation especially if you work all day and have no choice but to leave your pet home alone until you are finished work.

Travel Anxiety

Moving vehicles can cause a dog to become nervous and stressed. This is mostly due to the fact that the motion cannot be fully understood by the dog.

If your dog suffers from this, you will already know that he or she displays fear whenever getting into a vehicle.

Confinement Anxiety

The last category of anxiety types for dogs is confinement anxiety. This one is also just as the name suggests, it can be triggered whenever a dog is left in a confined space. This can be restricted to a crate or a room, cutting off contact with you or others.

Causes Of Dog Anxiety

Another important way to understanding anxiety in dogs is to learn the many different causes that can lead to this disorder. When you have a good idea of what may be causing the problem, you are more likely to come up with a suitable solution as a treatment.

Although there is a long list of potential causes for anxiety in dogs, this is a list of the most common of them.

Abandonment History

When a dog has been abandoned or neglected frequently in the past it can lead to something known as abandonment anxiety. Essentially, your dog fears being left alone and that you may not come back to get it.

Re-Homing History

Dogs that have been fostered through many different owners over its lifetime, for whatever the reasons, can form a separation anxiety disorder. Some dogs weather family and home changes rather well, but others do not and suffer as a result.


A dog that has experienced a traumatic and frightening event in their past can easily develop anxiety. Such triggers for this type of fear-related anxiety can include being in strange places or having to adapt to new things.


Dogs and humans are very much alike in many different parts of their lives and the things that impact their lives. Aging is one of these examples.

In humans some develop Alzheimer’s disease or some other kind of dementia. Some dogs also develop conditions that are similar and while they struggle to understand what is happening to them, they become nervous and anxious.

Underlying Illnesses

One more thing to consider when working on understanding anxiety in dogs is to remember that there may be an issue that is hidden under the surface. If our dogs could talk to us it would most certainly make figuring out some of these problems far easier.

But since that is not the case you have to be able to pick up on the subtle signs your best friend may be displaying. A trip to your vet will help to determine if there may be an underlying illness or medical condition that is triggering the fear in your pet.

Symptons Of Dog Anxiety

Even if your furry friend and you are the best of friends with a bond that is so strong that it makes your human best friend of spouse jealous, dogs are pretty good at hiding things they are afraid will either get them in trouble or send them on a trip to the vet.

However, if you observe normal behavior patterns, you should be able to identify some of the symptoms of dog anxiety. Here is a list of the most common signs.

  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Tail tucking
  • Excessive or non-stop barking
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Defecating or urinating inside the house
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Sadness or misery
  • Eating his or her own poop
  • Aggression and destructive behavior (chewing shoes, furniture, etc)

Treatment And Prevention

The first thing you should get in the habit of if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms is to stop punishing him or her. The symptoms you see are to tip you off to a much bigger problem and will lead to you gaining a better understanding of anxiety in dogs.

Then you should take your four-legged buddy to see the vet. This is to eliminate the potential of other conditions being present and to properly diagnose anxiety as the issue. This can be done through a simple blood test.

Once other health issues are proven to not be the cause, you will then be able to discuss possible treatments with your vet.

Provided that you can work with your dog, you may be able to find a suitable solution that does not require medication. However, if the anxiety issues are severe, medication may be the best solution.

Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions

There are several different ways to treat separation anxiety in dogs. Here is a look at the most common treatments.

Go Away For Short Periods Of Time

You can get your dog used to being alone by slowly introducing the concept to him or her. Start by just leaving the room for a few minutes at a time. Add to that time frame as the days and weeks pass. Work up to leaving the house for five minutes at a time and gradually increase that until you can be gone to work for the day.

Turn On The Radio Or TV

Hearing other voices in the house can help keep your dog calm when you are away. An easy way to do this is to leave a television on or a radio that is set to a talk station or news station. The ‘talking’ voices will mimic conversation heard in the house and should comfort your dog.

Go For A Walk Before You Leave

Taking your dog outside for a walk or even some play time will do a couple of things that will aid your understanding anxiety in dogs.

A walk or some exercise will burn off some excess energy stored up by your dog. It also gives him or her some undivided time just with you.

By the time both of you get back home your dog will be relaxed enough to either fall asleep or just lay around so that you can go or not worry about separation anxiety.

Be Calm, Stay Calm

The goal is to keep your dog relaxed and you can accomplish this by projecting a relaxed atmosphere. By talking gently and calmly to your dog, you will be helping him or her to relax.

What Can I Give My Dog For Anxiety?

You can give your dog toys that are designed specifically for treating their nervousness, foods that will improve their overall health and relax them or you can use medication.

Medication is often used only in severe cases of anxiety in dogs. By using a natural approach to remedying the situation, your dog may respond better

Each situation is different but by understanding anxiety in dogs as being related to triggers, once you eliminate those triggers, the problem may be solved.

How To Crate Train A Dog With Separation Anxiety

Crate training is an excellent tool in dealing with anxiety in dogs. The way you do this is very simple.

Place your dog securely in their crate. The crate should be big enough to be comfortable for your dog to stand up and turn around in without problem.

Once your dog is in the crate, leave the room. But only go for a few minutes at a time. Slowly increase the amount of time you are away and eventually your dog will view their crate as their safe place and a place of comfort.

Understanding Anxiety In Dogs Final Word

Dogs suffering from any type of stress can become nervous and anxious. It can become so severe that it can become a huge problem within your family and household. It is also important to understand that your dog is only responding to stimulus that has either scared him or her or caused some kind of fear.

Once you are able to completely identify the cause of the anxiety, you will be able to work with your dog to control that fear. Anxiety in dogs in common so just take your time, be calm and understanding.

You will soon be able to be away from your pet when you have to without it becoming a stressful situation for your best friend.

Checkout The Following Anxiety In Dogs Buyer Guides

Anxiety In Dogs - Best Anxiety Supplements For Dogs Buyer Guide

Anxiety In Dogs - Best Products For Dogs With Anxiety Buyer Guide