If you are a hardcore dog person, it hasn’t probably taken you long to realize that your dog has emotions. Right? You have seen it cry, getting sulky on being denied extra meat, becoming restless after endless lone hours and getting scared like a baby. But did you also know that your dog gets anxious at times? Yes, dogs suffer from anxiety as some of us do. And that could make them really ill tempered and moody. A little worry on your part is understandable but don’t let this make you feel pathetic. You can prevent this from happening if you know the signs of anxiety. Pay close attention to its day-to-day activities and watch out for these 10 signals to find out if your dog is really anxious.
A dog that is anxious keeps on pacing. It may suddenly lie down, wobble about for a while, get up and start pacing again. You might overlook such a behavior thinking it could just be a leisurely activity. But that may not be true in all cases. Your pet might be trying to tell you something important. If you do not pay heed to such a behavior, you might be risking your dog’s health. Spend some time thinking- if she is doing this for the first time or has been regularly doing so. If she does it on a regular basis, then know for sure, there is a nagging, persistent reason behind this which needs to addressed immediately. In both the cases, taking prompt action is the best thing you can do.
The huffs and puffs
It is not uncommon to spot a dog huffing and puffing with its tongue jutted out. But ‘stress panting’ is an altogether different concept. It could be, at times, bothering for the owner as well. But before you too start panicking, this needs to be confirmed whether the issue is serious or something you can ignore. If your dog has just been home from a long walk, it’s not unnatural for her to breathe heavily. What is unnatural, though, is if your dog is panting out of no obvious cause. Panting due to reasons unknown could be a telltale sign that your dog is anxious. As the guardian of the dog, it is your responsibility to take her to a vet for urgent medical attention. Consultation with the doc should help you pinpoint things that could be bothering her.
Your dog is missing. You have hunted through the entire apartment but seen no traces of the dog. You approach your neighbors to inquire in vain. Disappointed, you get back home only to discover that your dog is lying in the garage, under your car, curled up into a ball. A terrible experience right? And an experience most dog owners must have had at least once in their lives. Dogs do find a hiding place for themselves for times when they are scolded or made to feel guilty of doing something wrong. But if that hiding place becomes your dog’s second kennel and she has begun to like it more than every other thing she enjoyed earlier, your dog must be anxious about something. Anxious dogs hide themselves to feel safer. Try to figure out what’s bothering your dog and love her more than before.
It’s a subject of worry if your strong and muscular dog that always had a firm stance begins to waver, allowing accidents. Dogs are generally so well balanced that they seldom would hit a pole and fall down. If this has happened to your dog recently, do not take it as just another accident. There could be more serious underlying reasons. One of such reasons is anxiety. Anxiety makes a dog unstable-both physically and mentally. They become overly confused and clueless that gets visible in everything they do. As a result, their day-to-day activities are affected. An excessively anxious dog, no matter how well trained she is, may urinate or move bowels inside the house. Treat her with affection, not anger.
A sharp, focused gaze is one of those characteristics that define a dog. The eyes of a dog are as expressive as those of a human being. Whether they are happy or sad or guilty, you will read written on their eyes. Therefore, it is a matter of concern if you notice that your dog’s eyes are drooping. An anxiety stricken dog sports half-moon eyes, which means that the whites of her eyes are more visible than usual. Also known as whale eyes, half-moon eyes are indicative of a dog’s sickness. This also happens when the dog is afraid, nervous or anxious. Take the dog to a vet in order to knock out other health issues. If it’s just anxiety then allay all her concerns with love.
Too much Yawning
If a dog could speak it would yawn, and say, “Enough! I am running out of patience.” Yes, dogs generally express their boredom and impatience through yawns. For example, if she is in a training session, she will yawn to tell the instructor that she is exhausted. As a response to it, the instructor might either reduce the intensity of training or give her a break. A yawn may also indicate nervousness. Say, for instance, you and your dog are waiting in queue to meet your vet at his clinic. You might notice that she is yawning repeatedly and is a bit restless. This is nothing but usual nervousness. The problem, however, arises when yawning becomes a recurring activity that’s happening without a cause. Always take the yawning of your dog seriously.
Too much barking
Everyone gets irritated when there is a dog in the neighborhood that seems to know nothing other than to bark. Even the owners pretend they know why their dogs bark so much. Generally, they would consider this behavior normal. They don’t understand that dogs who bark more could be anxious. By repeatedly barking, they try to convey it to their owners that they are unhappy about something. The owners, therefore, need to do some research to find out what it is. If not attended immediately, anxiety can make dogs fearful to the point where even the slightest of movements around can scare them. Excessive barking can, however, be curbed with training, love and care. Generally, if your dog barks a lot at night, you should keep her indoors to avoid unnecessary noise.
Unless she has a toy hanging over her head or food served in front, your dog is not likely to lick her lips or nose. Yes, there are other occasions as well when you would see a dog flicking her tongue around, for example, homecoming of the owner or an act of self-bathing. All other instances of tongue flicking by a dog should be taken seriously as they could be warning signs of more serious issues. You can watch out for reasons that could be causing her tongue flicks. For example, there could be objects in the house your dog doesn’t like or sights she finds disturbing or people she is uncomfortable with. Once you know what it is, you can work towards fixing it. You can also take your dog to a vet.
Full Body Shake
You must have seen your dog shaking the water off her body after you have given her a shower. You must have also seen other dogs do the same thing for the same reason. So, is there anything to worry? Yes, if the shakes are frequent and not to remove water. Dogs also shake their bodies when they are stressed out. Do not ignore such an act thinking it could be a sign of playfulness. This, in reality, could be an indication that your dog is worried about something. It’s good if you have successfully figured out the cause behind her worry, if not, then it’s wise to seek the help of a medical practitioner. A dog shaking her body off and on could be pointing at something graver than just anxiety.
The most important thing to realize when you are a dog owner is that not all dogs are the same. Every dog has a different genetic composition and will react to situations in a way it likes. While some dogs become very barky, restless and unstable when they are anxious, others prefer to stay quite. If you have a timid dog that would rather let burglars in than trying to make a few big barks, then something is just not right about the dog. Dogs by nature are protective. They would lay their lives if that means saving the master from danger. So, lethargy and slowness in your dog might imply sickness.
If your dog has stayed active for the most part and has recently become lazy, then she could be a victim of anxiety; notice.