7 Unexpected Reasons Your Dog Might Have Anxiety
Wondering why your dog’s been chewing the furniture, barking, or going potty in the house recently? It could be anxiety.
You rile him up when you leave the houseJaromir Chalabala/shutterstock
The more you make a fuss about saying hello or goodbye to your pup, the more anxious he’ll become—and unfortunately, many of his most destructive symptoms will play out when you’re not home to calm him down. The best thing to do? “Take your keys, say bye, and leave,” says Nicole Ellis, pet lifestyle expert at Rover.com. “The calmer you are leaving for the day, the calmer they’ll be.” (Here’s how to become your dog’s favorite family member.) When you get home, continue to keep it simple. Take off your shoes, say hello, and wait a few minutes before launching into playtime. Encourage the kids to do the same as well.
A family member has leftGrirk/shutterstock
Separation anxiety is real for kids and dogs alike. Your dog’s anxiety could be sparked by something as small as a family member being out of sight, or as monumental as a kid moving out of the house—and you could see it play out in a variety of ways. (These are the 13 astounding things your dog knows about you.) To fix it, you’ll want to make your dog as comfortable as possible while you’re out. Go on extra-long walks (which will tire him out for when he’s home alone), leave a toy to entertain him while you’re gone, and consider a training class to build up his confidence. More on that later.
You’ve moved housesLook Studio/shutterstock
A new place can make anyone nervous. If your dog’s anxiety symptoms started after your move, consider that a likely trigger. Do whatever’s possible to make him feel at home in your new place. (While you settle into your new home, don’t miss these 10 common backyard hazards for dogs.) A great way to halt any destructive habit is to leave some entertainment for when you’re gone. “That could be anything from a frozen Kong toy with food inside to a snuffle mat where you hide his breakfast,” says Ellis. Building your dog’s confidence could also help. “Taking a scent class is a great way to build confidence—and a confident dog isn’t a nervous dog,” says Ellis. Most training centers offer them, too.
She’s switched owners a lotwavebreakmedia/shutterstock
Being moved around from owner to owner can obviously give a dog anxiety. (Want to make sure you never have to give up your pup? Here’s exactly how much it costs to own a dog.) Not to mention, you never know how she was treated in her previous homes, or how she was associated as a puppy. One thing to consider? Giving her a place of her own; namely, a dog crate. “I’m a fan of crate training,” says Ellis. “It’s not mean. It gives them a den where they can curl up and calm down.” Make it more soothing by adding your dog’s favorite toy and a blanket that smells like you. Put a treat inside the crate a few days in a row and your dog will start to feel at home in no time.
You’ve shaken up his routineKate33/shutterstock
If you always wake up at 8 a.m. and then suddenly stop, it might throw your pup off and trigger dog anxiety. Same thing goes for altered schedules due to back-to-school season or a new job. Do your best to get back into a routine as quickly as possible. Say, wake up at 7 a.m., go for a walk, eat breakfast, and leave calmly. These are the 11 daily morning habits of highly organized people.
There’s a new noise that’s making her nervousAnnette Shaff/shutterstock
If you come home from work every day to find a new piece of furniture destroyed, consider that something might be triggering your dog’s anxiety while you’re gone—construction and traffic especially. If you think that might be the case, make your dog’s crate extra cozy and leave entertainment as well.
He’s got an injuryZivica Kerkez/shutterstock
If you’re dog’s anxiety is severe, head to the vet–it could be the sign of an injury or illness, especially if it starts up suddenly. (These are the 50 things your veterinarian won’t tell you.) If it turns out to be anxiety, your vet can recommend CBD oils or other homeopathic therapies.