Anxiety Symptoms in Dogs
There are many symptoms of anxiety in dogs, and since quite a few of them are variations or extremes of normal canine behavior, diagnosis can be difficult. Such behaviors can all be considered normal reactions to short-term, active stressors such as an unexpected loud noise. However, when those behaviors start to become routine, they might indeed be symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
According to Dr. Meghan Herron, head of the behavioral medicine clinic at Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, there are some tell-tale symptoms. “Signs that a dog is anxious may include panting, pacing, whining or whimpering, avoidance of eye contact, fidgeting, attempts to move towards the exit, hiding, and trembling. Less obvious signs might include dilated pupils, subtly moving away from people who attempt to pet the dog, displacement behaviors such as yawning, lip licking, air sniffing, wet-dog shaking, and shutting down and avoiding interactions.”
A well-adjusted dog will find its home to be a safe and generally stress-free environment. Dogs, like many other animals, are prone to scan their environment for potential threats. If your dog does this excessively or seems to always be in a heightened state of alertness, anxiety might be the culprit. Behaviors that get in the way of living a normal life are cause for concern in dogs. An anxious dog might be unable to sit still or relax, or may have physical symptoms, such as excessive shedding and changes to eating and sleeping habits.