Symptoms and signs of anxiety in dogs
As pet owners, it’s important to help our furry friends handle anxieties. For approximately one-third of dogs, loud noises such as thunderstorms or firecrackers cause stress levels from moderate nervousness to extreme panic.
Loud noise anxiety in dogs manifests itself in many ways. The following are the most common symptoms:
- Excessive panting and drooling
- Trembling or shaking uncontrollably
- Pacing and restlessness
- Whining, whimpering, or barking excessively
- Hiding or seeking shelter in confined spaces
- Destructive behavior, such as chewing furniture or scratching doors
- Loss of appetite or digestive issues
- Excessive grooming or licking
- Urinating or defecating inappropriately, even if housetrained
What to Do to Help Your Anxious Dog:
Anxiety related trauma has lasting effects on dogs. While discomfort is momentary for humans, there are various short term and long-term consequences for dogs dealing with loud noises. Therefore, it’s important to address these loud noise anxieties promptly.
Here are some things you can do if your dog is afraid of loud noises:
- Create a Safe Space: A noise-free, cosy spot filled with familiar scents such as bedding and toys helps reduce your dog’s fear of the event’s sounds. The designated location must be conducive for rest and security.
- Counterconditioning: Gradual exposure to sound triggers while accentuating positive reinforcement techniques like praise or toys significantly eradicate negative responses exhibited by canines towards loud events over an extended period.
- Sound Masking: Calming music or ambient sounds help create a serene atmosphere during loud events. Such sounds might mask noises that trigger your dog’s anxiety.
- Prescription Medications: Certain medications are especially effective in managing your dog’s anxiety levels during loud situations. The best ones are non-tranquilizing, and target the receptors that cause anxiety. Your dog has an evolved sense of being “on edge” in these situations. The best medications help them deal with that without making them drowsy or changing their personality.