What does dog anxiety look like?

  • Date: January 6, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Many dog owners may experience anxiety in their pets, but may not be able to recognize the signs. Dog anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, from excessive barking to destructive behaviors to changes in physical health. Understanding what dog anxiety looks like is the first step to helping your pet cope with and manage their anxiety. In this article, we will explore the signs of dog anxiety and how to manage it.

What is Dog Anxiety?

Dog anxiety is a behavioral disorder that is characterized by nervousness, fear, or excessive worry in response to certain triggers or situations. It can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, including barking, pacing, destruction of property, and even aggression. Anxiety can be triggered by anything from loud noises to a change in routine. It is important to recognize the signs of anxiety in order to provide proper treatment and help your dog lead a stress-free life.

Signs of Dog Anxiety

The signs of anxiety in dogs can vary greatly, depending on the individual dog and the type of anxiety they are experiencing. Some of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs include:

Panting and Restlessness

When a dog is anxious, they may pant and seem restless in an attempt to calm themselves. This behavior may also be accompanied by pacing, circling, or other repetitive behaviors.

Excessive Barking or Howling

Excessive barking or howling is a common sign of anxiety in dogs. This behavior may be triggered by loud noises or changes in their environment.

Destruction of Property

Dogs who are experiencing anxiety may engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture or digging holes in the yard. This behavior is often a result of a dog’s attempt to find relief from their anxiety.


Some dogs may become aggressive when they are feeling anxious. This may be expressed as growling, barking, snapping, or even biting.

Changes in Appetite

Dogs who are feeling anxious may experience changes in their appetite. This can range from not eating at all to eating too much.

Causes of Dog Anxiety

There are many different causes of anxiety in dogs, ranging from a traumatic event to an underlying medical condition. Some of the most common causes of anxiety in dogs include:

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common cause of anxiety in dogs. This type of anxiety occurs when a dog is separated from their owner or left alone for extended periods of time.

Noise Anxiety

Noise anxiety is a fear or anxiety that is triggered by loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks. Dogs may respond to noise anxiety by hiding, panting, trembling, or barking.

Fear of Other Dogs

Some dogs may experience fear or anxiety when around other dogs. This type of anxiety can be triggered by unfamiliar dogs or dogs that appear to be aggressive.

Medical Conditions

In some cases, anxiety may be caused by an underlying medical condition such as a thyroid disorder or an infection.

Treatment of Dog Anxiety

When it comes to treating dog anxiety, it is important to identify the root cause of the anxiety in order to provide the most effective treatment. Common treatments for dog anxiety include:

Behavioral Modification

Behavioral modification is a type of therapy that aims to change a dog’s behavior by teaching them new behaviors and removing triggers that cause anxiety.


In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help reduce a dog’s anxiety. Common medications used to treat dog anxiety include anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.

Pheromone Therapy

Pheromone therapy is a type of therapy that uses synthetic versions of naturally occurring pheromones to help reduce a dog’s anxiety.


Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and CBD oil have been shown to help reduce anxiety in some dogs.

Preventing Dog Anxiety

The best way to prevent dog anxiety is to address any underlying medical conditions and provide a supportive and stable environment for your dog. Some tips for preventing dog anxiety include:

Provide Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is important for dogs of all ages and can help reduce anxiety.

Provide a Routine

Establishing and sticking to a routine can help reduce anxiety in dogs by providing them with structure and a sense of security.

Provide Mental Stimulation

Engaging in activities such as obedience training and puzzle toys can help keep your dog mentally stimulated and reduce anxiety.

Avoid Punishment

Punishment can increase anxiety in some dogs and should be avoided. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training.

Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s anxiety is severe or does not respond to other treatments, it is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

**Common Myths About Dog Anxiety: Debunked**

Myth: All dogs experience anxiety.
Fact: Not all dogs experience anxiety. While some breeds are more prone to anxiety than others, dogs can be bred and trained to be calm, confident, and relaxed.

Myth: Anxiety in dogs is caused by bad behavior.
Fact: Anxiety in dogs is usually caused by environmental factors such as changes in routine, loud noises, or unfamiliar people and places. It is not necessarily caused by bad behavior.

Myth: Anxiety in dogs can be cured with medication.
Fact: Anxiety in dogs cannot be cured with medication alone. Veterinarians may prescribe medication to help reduce anxiety symptoms, but the best treatment for anxiety in dogs is a combination of medication, behavioral training, and environmental modification.

Myth: Dogs with anxiety will always act out.
Fact: Dogs with anxiety will not always act out, but they may display signs of fear or distress such as trembling, panting, or hiding. It is important to recognize these signs and work with your dog to help reduce their anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does dog anxiety look like?

Answer: Dog anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from barking, panting, pacing, shaking, trembling, and destructive behaviors, to attempting to escape, hiding, and even self-harm.

How can I help my dog with anxiety?

Answer: The best way to help a dog with anxiety is to create a calm and secure environment. This can include providing plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, positive reinforcement training, and making sure the dog has a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Additionally, talking to a veterinarian or animal behaviorist can provide more specific advice tailored to your dog’s individual needs.


Dog anxiety is a behavioral disorder that is characterized by nervousness, fear, or excessive worry in response to certain triggers or situations. Its signs include panting and restlessness, excessive barking or howling, destruction of property, aggression, and changes in appetite. Separation anxiety, noise anxiety, fear of other dogs, and medical conditions are common causes of anxiety. Treatment involves behavioral modification, medication, pheromone therapy, supplements, and professional help. To prevent dog anxiety, provide regular exercise, a routine, mental stimulation, positive reinforcement, and avoid punishment.

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