Besides the love for horses, I also love the company of my wonderful dog, Boogey. Caring for a dog is just like caring for a horse, you need to pay attention to many things that they go through. One of the things that I found out is that dogs does have anxiety just like horses. My neighbor has a very unique dog, husky pomeranian mix, which shows signs of anxiety all the time. From that dog, here is what I have found out about dogs and anxiety.
What dog anxiety symptoms tell you is that your dog is uncomfortable with the current situation, whatever that situation might be. Intervention is advisable both from the standpoint of calming the dog’s fears and avoiding a situation where the feelings of anxiety could get out of hand. Some dogs will complain, others will cower, and still others may bite, not out of aggression, but out of fear.
In one sense, dog anxiety symptoms can be a good thing as they make you aware that something is bothering your pet. A dog can’t tell you it doesn’t like the sound of thunder, or that is annoyed or frightened by an unfamiliar noise, but it can certainly demonstrate it by its behavior. If a dog gives a warning such as growling, that warning needs to be respected. It’s a sign that if appropriate action is not taken, the growling could turn into something worse. If the dog is punished for growling, the next time a similar situation arises it may not bother to growl because it was previously punished for doing so. It may skip the growling and go straight to biting.
A Few Anxiety Symptoms to Watch For
There are a number of different ways a dog will tell you that it isn’t exactly comfortable with the way things are at the moment.
– Raised Paw – Dogs will sometimes raise a paw when they are watching something closely. That’s something may be a rabbit or a butterfly, but the dog is about to spring into action. A dog will also raise a paw when it is anxious about something. What it is watching here is not a rabbit but a type of situation, a situation that worries or frightens it. When a dog raises a front paw it is almost as if it has been frozen in its tracks. It is waiting for what comes next, and in the case of something that it is uncomfortable with, that waiting time is a fearful or worrisome one.
– Half-Moon Eye – A half-moon eye, also called a whale eye, is another sign that a dog is in distress. In this case you can see the white portion of the eye at the corners. This is usually a sign that the dog would rather be somewhere else, or simply wants to be left alone. When a dog wants to be left alone it is usually best to try to accommodate its wishes. The dog will be looking at someone, but with its head turned slightly to one side.
– Closed Mouth – A closed mouth can be a symptom. That is not to say that any time your dog has its mouth closed it is stressed. Most of the time when a dog is relaxed its lower jaw will hang slightly loose. If it hears a sharp noise, or there is some other distraction it will close its mouth. This is usually a very temporary situation. What it means is that the dog is momentarily waiting to see what is going to come next. If it keeps its mouth closed, as it will when it growls, it usually means it is stressed. You can usually tell if a dog is relaxed, even if it has its mouth closed, but it is nevertheless a sign to watch for. A closed mouth combined with breath-holding is sometimes a sign that a dog is ready to bite.
– Lip Licking – Lip licking is a sign of anxiety. This isn’t the type of lip licking a dog does when it’s just finished having something good to eat. This is a very quick series of movements were the tip of the tongue makes contact with the end of the nose. This behavior is common in dogs that are trying to adjust to a new situation, and is also common shelter dogs.
– Panting and Drooling – Panting and drooling are very common dog anxiety symptoms. These two symptoms in a dog may be accompanied by other forms of anxious behavior such as constantly moving about, or wanting to be close to the its owner. These are symptoms commonly observed during thunderstorms or when there are fireworks exploding nearby. Panting and drooling are sometimes accompanied by shivering, which is an indication that a dog is quite stressed and even frightened.
When It’s All Over
Many times a dog will shake violently as if it had just been for a swim or had a bath. It is not wet but shakes as if it is. This usually signals a release of tension, and is a dog’s way of saying that it’s glad that whatever was troubling it is gone or done with. This is of course a good sign, but one you want to take note of so you can try to determine what it was that might have bothered your dog in the first place.
Not all dogs are alike. Some are extremely skittish and afraid of anything new or strange. Others could sleep through an artillery barrage. If you have one of the former types however it’s always best to take action early on. There are things that can be done. If you do nothing, the situation may only get worse, and you could be the one ending up showing symptoms of anxiety.