6 Signs of an Anxious Dog: Behavior Guide 2023

Dogs are such loyal and loving creatures, it's no wonder they're considered man's best friend.

But what do you do when your furry friend starts to show signs of anxiety or social anxiety?

While it may be tempting to just ignore the problem and hope it goes away, that's not the best solution. In this blog post, we'll learn how to deal with dogs anxiety.

fearful dog hiding under a car

Anxiety is a common problem in dogs, with an estimated 14% of all canine pets affected by it.

While some degree of anxiety is normal and even necessary for survival—think of it as your dog's "fight-or-flight" response—it becomes a problem when it's excessive and starts interfering with your dog's quality of life.

Some pet owners experience this while grooming their dog. If your dog's anxiety is severe, it can even lead to physical health problems like gastrointestinal issues, high blood pressure, and compromised immunity. In other words, it's not something you should ignore.

But there are solutions to help with your dog's anxiety.

Check out the video below and our post on anxiety dog treats.

6 Common Signs of an Anxious Dog

1. Excessive Barking or Whimpering 

Dogs who bark excessively or whimper for no apparent reason may be trying to self-soothe and relieve their anxiety. If this is out of character for your dog, take note and you can begin to help your dog's anxiety. 

2. Pacing or Shaking 

Is your usually calm dog pacing back and forth or shaking uncontrollably? These are both common signs of anxiety in dogs. 

3. Destructive Chewing and Excessive Licking

Dogs who suffer from anxiety often chew on things they're not supposed to, like furniture or shoes. This may be their way of trying to relieve stress or soothe themselves. Additionally, dogs will lick the floor excessively as a sign of anxiety.

4. Elimination Issues 

Anxious dogs may start urinating or defecating indoors even if they're fully housetrained. They may also have accidents more frequently than usual. This is a sign it is time to intervene and help your dog's anxiety. 

5. Loss of Appetite 

Just like humans, dogs can lose their appetite when they're feeling anxious or stressed out. If your dog stops eating or seems uninterested in his food, this could be a sign that something's wrong. 

6. Avoidance Behaviors 

Dogs who are anxious may flinch or to try avoid people, places, or things that trigger their fear or stress. For example, a dog who's scared of loud noises might cower under the bed during a thunderstorm.

12 Common Causes of Dog Anxiety

You'll need to identify the causes first to help your dog's anxiety. There are a number of things that can trigger anxiety in dogs, including (but not limited to): 

  1. Changes in routine (e.g., a new baby in the house, a move to a new home) 
  2. Home alone
  3. Loud noises (e.g., fireworks, thunderstorms)
  4. Unfamiliar people or animals
  5. Chaotic environments
  6. Previous traumatic experiences
  7. Health problems
  8. Separation anxiety 
  9. Adverse reactions to medication
  10. Hunger or thirst
  11. Car rides
  12. Difficulty sleeping

7 Ways To Deal with Your Dog's Anxiety

There are a number of things you can do to help your dog cope with anxiety. These include: 

  1. Establishing a routine and sticking to it as much as possible 
  2. Exercising your dog regularly 
  3. Providing plenty of chew toys/bones for them to gnaw on  
  4. Using calming pheromones (e.g., via an anti-anxiety collar or diffuser) 
  5. Getting them accustomed to being left alone gradually (e.g., start by leaving them alone for short periods of time while you're still in the house)  
  6. Desensitizing them to whatever is causing their anxiety (e.g., if they're afraid of loud noises, play recordings of those noises at a low volume so they can get used to them). 
  7. Introduce your furry friend to Xen Pets' Calming Treats for Dogs.

Dealing with your dog's anxiety can be challenging, but it's important to take action so that their anxiety doesn't get worse and you are actively helping.

If you think your dog may be experiencing anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action for your pup.

Learn more about your dog's anxious behavior by reading our article - Warning Signs Your dog Is Crying for Help.


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By Tory Johnson

Tory Johnson is a veteran dog trainer, dog behaviorist, and canine nutritionist with 10+ years experience.

Tory has helped countless families have beautiful relationships with their canine companions.

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