Your dog may experience anxiety from time to time, and most of the time, it's normal. Like humans, dogs get anxious for a variety of reasons, some of which may be medical-related as well as emotional. However, sometimes anxiety gets out of control and you need to take action. Here are some reasons why your dog may be anxious and how you and your veterinarian may help.
Reasons Why Dogs Get Anxious
Dogs generally get anxious because of either an emotional problem or a medical issue that is affecting their nervous system. In some cases, the cause is obvious, but sometimes dogs have what's called "generalized anxiety disorder" with no apparent cause.
Emotional issues usually involve things like separation anxiety, fear, or past trauma such as isolation as a puppy or poor socialization. Some dogs may also become anxious if there is a significant change in their environment such as moving to a new place or obtaining a new pet. Often, the anxiety subsides once the dog adjusts or receives behavior modification training.
For some dogs, their anxiety may be caused, or worsened, by medical issues such as thyroid problems, autoimmune issues, and pre-diabetes. Dogs with hearing problems may become more anxious and easily startled because they can't hear people or animals approach them from some angles. This may make them jumpy and anxious, especially in unusual situations.
Ways You and Your Veterinarian Can Help
If you find that the anxiety causes problems such as destructive behavior, aggression, or hiding, then you may need more serious intervention.
If your veterinarian rules out illnesses or physical issues, then you may need to work on behavioral changes based on the possible cause. If the cause is poor puppy socialization, then formal training classes may help. If the problem is an environmental change, then helping your dog adjust by keeping a routine may be a better option. Talk to the veterinarian or a dog trainer to see what would work best for your dog.
If the anxiety is caused by a medical issue, then your veterinarian may prescribe medication that would alleviate the symptoms. In addition, your dog could also be prescribed anti-anxiety medications even if the problem is not related to a medical condition. Anti-anxiety medications may be given when traditional training does not help. Both training and medications might also be used together.
If your dog's anxiety seems to have appeared all of a sudden, and you can't determine the reason, then talk to your veterinarian. If the problem is behavior-related, then your veterinarian can give you ideas on how to ease your dog's anxiety. Try to bring your dog in for a checkup, if possible to ensure that your dog doesn't have medical issues that could worsen the problem. Visit a vet clinic like Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic near you for more information.