Unlike their feline counterparts, dogs are universally more expressive and can produce in-depth facial expressions. The more time we spend with our canine pals, the more we understand what they’re feeling at any given time, whether it be wanting more munchies or a good belly scratch. Unfortunately, when it comes to detecting signs of anxiety in dogs, the signs can be a little more subtle.
To further understand and care for our pup, it’s important to be able to understand the different types of anxiety and the signs they exhibit when they’re feeling anxious.
The onset of fear or phobia-related anxiety symptoms are prompted by a variety of factors, and usually stems from the sudden onset of unfamiliar stimuli. This may include sudden loud noises or visual stimuli like fireworks or thunderstorms, the addition of unfamiliar people or animals in their vicinity or exposure to new environments or specific situations such as a visit to the vet’s office or a car ride.
This ailment is especially common amongst dogs, with estimates suggesting it affects around 14% of our furry companions! Separation anxiety occurs when your dog has difficulty coming to terms with being left alone or being separated from family members. Animal behaviourist Kate Mornement says that dogs tend to associate everything they value in life – company, play and food – with when people are around, and it’s likely they’ll have none of that good stuff when they’re left alone.
This is a form of anxiety that tends to affect older dogs and is often associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Like Alzheimer’s Disease in humans, dogs with CDS commonly experience a decline in functioning such as deterioration in their ability to learn, awareness and in the senses of sight and hearing. This can eventually lead to an increase in anxiety and aggression. Common symptoms of dogs experiencing age-related anxiety includes a decrease in activities leading to self-care, poor appetite and often forgetting previously learned commands and potty behaviour.
Signs of anxiety in dogs
1) Pacing, shaking or trembling
An easy way to tell if your dog is anxious is through its body language. Some symptoms are easier to spot, such as excessive pacing, shaking and trembling. Dogs, much like humans, often tremble or shake in the face of stressors and this is often accompanied by a visibly worried or concerned facial expression such as wide eyes, a furrowed brow and pinned back ears.
2) Excessive barking
While barking is a normal canine form of expression, excessive barking can be a sign that your pup is feeling anxious, and anxious barking can often seem as an act of self-soothing for many dogs. It is often high-pitched and sometimes accompanied by whining. Dogs that are afraid or tense may often bark or whine in an effort to get your attention.
3) Hiding or escaping
An extension of avoidance, anxious dogs will often deal with situations, things and people that scare them by attempting to hide or even removing themselves from the situation. This may look like dogs hiding behind their owner’s legs, pulling away at a leash or in some cases simply ducking out of sight by hiding behind a tree or a parked car.
4) Destructive behaviours
Destructive behaviours such as chewing at objects, door frames, digging at doors or destroying household furniture are often mistaken as a dog misbehaving. However, these behaviours can also be signs of anxiety and are common amongst dogs experiencing separation anxiety. Your pup’s tendency to destroy your precious couch or rugs is often their way of getting nervous energy out of their system.
5) Urinating and defecating in the house
Some dogs urinate or defecate when placed under stressful and anxiety inducing situations. Anxious dogs can often work themselves up to the point that they feel the sudden urge “to go” , often resulting in many unwanted pet accidents, despite being properly toilet trained. This is especially frustrating for pet owners and can often cause damage or leave an unwanted odour in the houseAnd then there’s the unpleasant job of the clean-up, which no pet owner enjoys.
While many of these signs and symptoms can be properly identified and treated through behavioural training and medical treatment, pet urine, especially dog wee is especially difficult to thoroughly remove from household objects and carpet. Specific enzymatic solutions to tackle pet urine stains and smells are helpful because the attack the urine crystals that create the odour. While we do love our canine pals to bits, there are many reasons your dog could be weeing in the house, and while toilet training your pup is important, sometimes accidents just happen.
That is why to remove pet urine smells and stains, we recommend Britex Urine Remover. Britex Urine Remover is a unique ‘no touch, no scrub’ enzyme-based formula specifically designed to remove old and new urine stains. It’s ideal for removing pet urine stains and their smells from carpet, rugs, mattresses, upholstery and much more. Simply spray, apply a cloth or towel and wait, and the formula will destroy underlying pet urine stains and their odours.
The enzymes in Britex Urine Remover break up the uric acid crystals and draw them out of your fabric or carpet while also being pet and family safe.
All Britex products are available online or can be purchased at the Britex hire stand in Bunnings Warehouse, selected Coles, IGA, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware stores.