I Suspect My Dog Has Anxiety: Should I Worry?

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I recently scrolled through a thread on a local dog forum and saw something that sparked my interest. One of the participants wrote, “I suspect my dog has anxiety: should I worry?”

As a dog parent, I wondered what the telltale signs of anxiety in dogs are. So, I contacted my family vet to ask the question.

Read on to learn what I discovered about dog anxiety, its causes, its signs, and how to treat it.

Key Takeaway

  • Excessive whining, tail tucking between legs, behavior changes, and incontinence can indicate dog anxiety.
  • Dog anxiety can arise from fear, situations, age, and illnesses.
  • The best approach to treat dog affection is to take it to your vet, as they will determine the cause of anxiety and medication.

7 Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

Like humans, our furry friends also experience stress. However, they do not voice their concerns, and it is up to us as their parents to note they are not well and act swiftly.

a white fluffy pup sitting on a couch
white pup on a couch

But how do you determine the signs of anxiety in dogs?

  1. Excessive Whining

Barking and whining is the only way a pooch vocalizes concerns. If your dog was quiet before but has changed and started barking excessively, that can be a sign of stress.

  1. Body Posture Changes

Unless a dog is sick, it will stand firm and distribute its weight to its four legs. However, an anxious dog shifts its weight on its hind legs and tucks its tail.

  1. Incontinence

Urinary and fecal incontinence in dogs is evident when a canine cannot control bodily functions. Dogs with anxiety can relieve themselves knowingly or unknowingly, and you should act if you find urine or excretions in inappropriate areas.

  1. Withdrawal

When a dog is anxious, they are likely to withdraw from interacting with their owner and other pets. They will usually hide in quiet places to be alone.

  1. Destructive Instincts

An anxious dog’s destructive instincts are usually at their peak. You will note your dog chewing on its pillow, door frames, furniture, and anything on its way.

  1. Excessive Drooling

While it is normal for some dogs to drool, excessive drooling could be a potential dog anxiety sign. However, you might want to check your dog’s dental health to rule out a tooth problem. 

  1. Shaking

If your dog shakes after bathing, that is normal. However, if your furry friend is shaking out of nowhere, this could be an anxiety sign. 

What Causes Anxiety in Dogs

Now that you know the signs of anxiety in dogs, you may wonder what causes this condition. Here are common causes of anxiety in dogs.

  1. Fear

A dog can fear new people, other pets, or even a new environment, especially if you recently moved or adopted the pup. While some dogs brush off the fear quickly, others may not if they have experienced such panic attacks. 

  1. Separation

According to a recent Certapet study, 76% of American dogs have separation anxiety. Moreover, the study revealed that 47% of American dog owners experience anxiety when separated from their pets.

Dogs can experience separation anxiety if deprived of social interaction, moved from home to home, and if their favorite person leaves them. If your dog has separation anxiety, it will usually show it when you prepare to leave the house.

Check out Rachel Fusaro’s YouTube video on separation anxiety in dogs

  1. Age 

Anxiety in older dogs is common due to Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). This disease acts like Alzheimer’s in humans because your pet’s memory and self-awareness weaken. You will note some behavior changes in your senior dog, like increased anxiety, disorientation, and improper potty usage.

  1. Surgical Procedures

Vets use anesthesia during surgical procedures like neutering and prescribe medication to help the puppy heal. Observing your pet during post-surgery is essential as they may feel stressed. 

You can help your canine companion relieve the pain by following the vet’s advice and finding a quiet place for the dog to lie. Additionally, a comfortable dog bed can help your pet relax.

How to Vets Treat Anxiety in Dogs

The best way to treat your dog’s anxiety is to take it to a vet. The specialist can do physical and medical examinations to find the root cause of the anxiety.

Moreover, it would help to disclose your pet’s history if the situation is recurrent. This information will help determine the best approach to treat anxiety.

The specialist will then recommend the best treatment method based on the vet’s diagnosis.

Dog Anxiety Medications 

If the vet determines the best anxiety treatment for your dog is medication, they are likely to issue any of the following medicines.

  • Dexmedetomidine- a gel FDA-approved drug to help dogs deal with noise anxiety.
  • Sertraline-a liquid or tablet medication that can help canines deal with various anxiety triggers.
  • Buspirone- a tablet medication best for dogs with social anxiety.
  • Alprazolam- a tablet to help dogs deal with situational anxiety, like thunderstorms.
  • Diazepam- a tablet, liquid, or injection drug to help dogs with panic disorders.
  • Paroxetine- a liquid or tablet to help dogs showing behavioral anxiety symptoms.
  • Lorazepam- a tablet, liquid, or injectable drug to help dogs with situational anxiety.
  • Amitriptyline- a tablet medication for dogs with separation anxiety issues.
  • Fluoxetine- an FDA-approved capsule, liquid, or tablet drug for dogs with separation anxiety.
  • Clomipramine- the first FDA-approved tablet for dogs with situational and separation anxiety.

Home Remedies for Anxiety in Dogs

  1. Retraining

If your vet determines the anxiety is triggered by specific situations like loud noise or social interactions, they can recommend training. You can train the dog to respond positively or desensitize it to the anxiety triggers.

  1. Exercise Together

If your dog experiences separation anxiety, exercising before you leave can be an excellent way to reduce the anxiety. Moreover, there are toys you can get to keep your dog occupied.

a boy running with his dog
A boy runs with a dog on a leash

Check out this automatic ball thrower from Amazon that can keep your dog occupied without your presence.


  1. Cuddle with Your Dog

Research shows cuddling with your dog benefits your health and well-being, but how about the dog’s health? Cuddling can help calm your dog as it will feel protected in your arms.

Check out this snuggle puppy heartbeat stuffed toy from Amazon that can keep your dog occupied in your absence.


Check out this dog anxiety jacket from Amazon to calm your pet. 


  1. Use CBD Supplements

CBD dog products have recently graced the market and proven excellent medical alternatives. CBD for dogs calms the pet by interacting with its endocannabinoid receptors.

So if your pet has situational or social anxiety issues, you can give them CBD supplements before the trigger occurs. This will help the dog keep calm and respond calmly.

Check out Charlie & Buddy hеmp oil for dogs and cats from Amazon.


  1. Use Essential Oils

A point every dog parent should know is that essential oils are toxic to pets; therefore, you must avoid direct application. However, you can use essential oils to calm your canine down.

According to a 2006 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) study, lavender odor works wonders to calm dogs with travel anxiety. You can use a diffuser or spray the oil onto the canine’s rest area.


  1. Does dog anxiety go away?

While various remedies help deal with dog anxiety, the situation does not completely disappear. If your dog has a history of anxiety, you must watch it closely to ensure the panic attacks stay away.

  1. What are the common anxieties in dogs?

The common dog anxieties include situational, separation, illness-induced, and generalized anxiety.

  1. How long does anxiety last in a dog?

Anxiety can vary from minutes to hours. However, the variation depends on the type of anxiety the dog has.


As a doting dog parent, keeping your pet happy is your ultimate goal. However, like humans, dogs are prone to stress, and it is up to you as the parent to help the pet deal with the anxiety.

The above post highlights the signs of dog anxiety, its causes, and remedies. With that in mind, share the post with another dog parent who might benefit from this knowledge.

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