If you find yourself asking: “Why is my dog anxious all of a sudden?”, this article is for you. There is nothing worse than not understanding why your dog may experiencing anxiety. There’s a variety of different things that could be adding to your dog’s stress, we’re here to help you get to the bottom of it and find solutions that work for you!
Typically dogs aren’t just randomly anxious unless they suffer from a generalized anxiety which we discuss below. Often times there is something that triggers them. Finding out what that may be is the easy part, but figuring out what you’re going to do about it is the difficult part. Understanding a dog’s body language is the first step in identifying what is triggering them.
Generalized anxiety is persistent through out the day and does not go away when in a “calm” environment. This type of anxiety can be more difficult to manage as dog owners find it difficult to keep their dog from going over their threshold. Generalized anxiety can appear as never seeming to be settled, trouble sleeping, constant vocalization, obsessive licking of paws/arms, pacing, and fear based reactions. Talk to your vet if you think your dog is suffering from generalized anxiety. Some find great success with over the counter anti-anxiety medications, CBD, or a combination of both. You can read more about how CBD works for anxiety in this article we wrote!
Anxiety Triggered By An Event
This is one of the most common forms of anxiety in pets. Anxiety that is triggered by an event is easier to manage than generalized anxiety. This anxiety can be associated with things your dog may not like such as riding in the car, fire works, other dogs, little kids, loud sounds, or thunderstorms. The anxiety can also be fear based, which is a common reaction when facing something that appears scary to them. This can result in fear based reactivity – which is also a difficult thing to manage.
When triggered by an event the body language of your dog will change rapidly. For example when a storm rolls in, your dog may approach you with ears pinned back, excessive panting, squirming, trying to jump up on you, or pawing at you. This is a dead give away that your dog is starting to get anxious. In this case the best thing you can do is provide them with a safe place to be and lots of water to drink. Try to reduce the loud sounds by playing music, turning on the tv, or going into a room that provides some sound insulation. This article is great for how to use CBD to calm a dog during thunderstorms, the same ideology can be applied to firework shows, or any event where loud noises are involved. Cuddle up with your dog and provide them a safe place to be!
What Do I Do When My Dog Is Anxious All Of A Sudden?
It really depends on what is triggering your dog. If your dog is anxious over being around something they don’t like such as kids, other dogs, people, or animals, your best bet is to remove them from the triggers. And yes, it does get frustrating. One thing you can do to reduce this is to not bring your dog places they don’t want to be. If you know they don’t like other dogs, don’t bring them to your friends house where other dogs will be. This way, you reduce the anxiety by not allowing it to start in the first place.
If your dog doesn’t like fireworks or storms, well you know what to do! CBD is a great way to manage event based anxiety like storms and fireworks. It’s all about timing, the earlier you give them their dose, the better off they will be.
Stay calm yourself! It might seem easier said then done, but your dog is going to feed off your response. If you get stressed with them, it will heighten their reaction. There’s some debate over comforting your dog and whether it enforces their behavior. We believe that when your dog is scared, you should comfort them. Especially in the case of loud noises. They want to be assured by their person that everything is going to be okay.
Try to remember that anxious dogs are not bad dogs, they don’t need more training, they just need their pawrent to help them! The more educated you are on how to handle your dog’s anxiety, the better hands they will be in.