The most common behaviors are elimination (i.e., urination and/or bowel movements), destruction and excessive vocalization (i.e., barking, crying). Pet owners may also observe excessive panting and/or pacing. Separation anxiety is the most common specific anxiety in companion dogs.
Dogs experiencing a panic attack will generally be trembling, with wide eyes, and a stiff posture. They're likely to be drooling, panting, and barking or howling. Pacing, destructiveness, or attempts to escape are also common. They may also urinate or defecate involuntarily.
The dog breeds that are more likely to have this problem are the German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Toy Poodle, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, and German Shorthaired Pointer.
“Dogs can experience panic attacks like the way humans do,” she explains. “This means they may experience a sudden feeling of intense fear and anxiety that could cause physical responses.”
It will not go away on its own, and most often a complete "cure" is never experienced. But, there are many things an owner can do right away to begin to ease the symptoms. Separation Anxiety can range from minor to severe.
The minimum treatment for anxiety in dogs usually averages 4-6 months but can take years in some cases. Medication therapy may help alleviate your dog's response to triggers and can assist in learning new behaviors.
Visit Your Vet for An Examination
Some symptoms linked to depression and anxiety can actually have physical causes that need urgent veterinary attention. If your dog seems sad or particularly edgy it's time to schedule a visit with your vet.
Any dog can suffer from mental health issues, but it is a common and heartbreaking problem for dogs who have been neglected, mistreated, or abused. Anxiety can also be more prevalent in smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Shih-Tzu, and Jack Russell Terriers.
Signs of worsening anxiety in dogs can include destructive behavior in the house, self-mutilation, aggression or aggressive tendencies, and restless, pacing activity." But sometimes a two-fold approach needs to be taken, according to Herron.
In an attempt to decrease the level of anxiety that these dogs exhibit prior to owner departure, owners should try to ignore the dog 15-30 minutes prior to leaving. Upon return, owners should try to greet the dog softly, calmly and quietly, and attend to the dog only when the dog is calm and quiet.
Diazepam (Valium) - This medication can be an effective anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxant, appetite stimulant and seizure-control drug for dogs. Diazepam can be helpful in treating dogs with panic disorders such as severe noise aversion or phobia if given in advance of an event known to trigger anxiety.
When alone, the animal exhibits anxiety or excessive distress behaviors. Most fears, phobias, and anxieties develop at the onset of social maturity, from 12 to 36 months of age. A profound form of fear and withdrawal of unknown cause occurs at 8 to 10 months of age.
Signs a Dog is Faking Being Fearful
Signs of fear (real or faked) range from subtle lip-licking or yawning, right through to the quivering wreck. It's also salient to be aware that some dogs will manifest fear as aggression, and decide an attack is the best form of defense when placed in a stressful situation.
Age-Related Anxiety: As dogs grow older, some develop new fears and confusion due to cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Medical Issues: Underlying medical issues, ranging from pulled muscles to thyroid conditions, can cause sudden anxiety in dogs.
Dog experts claimed anxiety in dogs is a sign of emotional intelligence.
Oftentimes as dogs age, they become more anxious in general. Physically, this may show up as panting, licking, shaking, or pacing. Behaviorally, an anxious older dog might also urinate, excessively lick/bite themselves, or even become aggressive.
In all, 72.5% of all dogs showed at least one anxiety-related behavior, the researchers reveal today in Scientific Reports . Noise sensitivity was the most common across all breeds, affecting 32% of dogs.
Behaviors characteristic of canine separation anxiety include destructiveness, housesoiling, hypersalivation, vocalization, and pacing. To satisfy a definitive diagnosis of separation anxiety, these behaviors must be restricted to times when the dog is left alone or separated from an attachment figure.
Symptoms of PTSD in dogs can include: panic, panting, fearfulness, being timid and clinging to their owners, aggressive reactions in dogs that were never aggressive before, depression, and hyper-vigilance (especially for working dogs and guard breeds).
Neurosis, on the other hand, involves a mental state in which the patient is under emotional duress, but still able to respond to stimuli. A neurotic dog knows what is happening, but cannot necessarily respond in a “normal” fashion. Neuroses can have genetic or environmental causes, or a combination of both.