One of the most common complaints you will hear from dog owners after lock-down is that their pet suffers from anxiety problems. This is because most dog owners spent a lot of time with their pets during the lock down period, and they did not expect this type of anxiety in dogs when they return to their normal routine.
According to the Association of Pet Behavioral Counselors (APBC), dogs are more susceptible to anxiety problems than any other animal. So, those dogs that have spent a lot of time with you and your family during the lockdown when they find themselves alone after a long time will most likely suffer from separation anxiety.
Not all dogs suffer from anxiety problems, especially those that are well trained will suffer less. So the best thing to do to prevent your dog from having an anxiety problem is to seek the help of a professional trainer.
In this article, we will talk about anxiety in dogs due to COVID-19, it’s signs and symptoms, and how we can overcome this problem.
What dogs are at high risk of anxiety problems?
Anxiety problems can develop in dogs of all ages, but there are some predisposing factors that develop problems in certain dogs.
Newly adopted dogs
If you have adopted a dog during the confinement and suddenly have to return to work, there is a greater chance that he will suffer from anxiety-related problems. It is because they are in a new and unfamiliar environment. They have not yet had a chance to acclimate to their new home.
Older dogs are at high risk for anxiety-related problems. This is because as they age, their ability to cope with different changes decreases. So any sudden change in their routine will put them under stress.
Dogs that already have anxiety problems
Dogs that already have an anxiety problem are more sensitive and have less ability to cope with stressful situations. Therefore, sudden changes like their owner returning back to workplaces maybe the “last straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
Symptoms of anxiety in dogs
Being a dog owner, it would help you to know the signs and symptoms related to anxiety problems. Some common signs your dog will show are:
Whenever you leave your dog alone, the most common way he will show his anxiety is through excessive whining and barking. A dog suffering from anxiety will show different barking than normal. Their barking sound will usually be unstable and high pitched. They run around the house, they seem worried, and they look for you.
Digging and destructive Chewing
When a dog suffers from anxiety, he will begin to display destructive behaviors such as digging the areas around the house’s entrance and exit. Chewing and scratching anything that gets in their way, like shoes, door frames, and furniture.
If your dog displays this destructive behavior, he can potentially injure himself, like damaged nails, self-harm, broken teeth, and scraped paws.
Urinating or defecating in the house
Urinating or defecating in the house is another sign that appears when your dog becomes anxious. When your dog feels scared and isolated, he will start to hide in different places in the house, and an unusual bathroom accident will happen.
Dogs are basically used to the time you spend with them. Whenever they want to go to the bathroom, they will look up at you so you can take them outside, and if they don’t find you around, they will do their business inside the house.
Feces Eating (Coprophagia)
One of the disgusting behaviors that most dog owners complain about is that when their dog is suffering from anxiety, he will defecate in different places and then consume all of his feces.
This problem will not only disturb their digestive system, but they will also suffer from bad breath and feel scared in front of you.
Dogs that are not feeling anxious will generally move on a specific path, and there will be no changes to their routine, but if they are feeling anxious, they will start to move back and forth or in a circular pattern. Your dog will not do these behaviors if you are around him.
How to prevent anxiety in dogs?
Many veterinary behaviorists have given some solutions to prevent anxiety in dogs. Such as:
- Practice taking your car keys, purse and jacket as you would when you leave your home and but don’t go anywhere. These could be actions associated with leaving your dog at home alone that have become triggers. Once your dog can handle that then start by leaving for just a minute where he cannot see you behind the door you exited. Wait a few seconds and return. Increase the time away slowly but gradually so that you leaving the house is no longer a problem.
- Do not make frequent changes to your pet’s daily routine and try to stick to his usual routine.
- If you are working from home, train your dog to stay in the crate.
- Give your dog treats and toys so he can play independently.
- Take your dog for a walk regularly.
Treating anxiety in dogs
If the anxiety problem is getting worse in your dog and affects his health, you should consult your veterinarian, dog trainer or animal behavior specialist.
Many of the problems related to anxiety can be treated with obedience training. If your dog is well trained, he will know what you expect of him and will show good behavior in his daily routine.
Seek Professional Help for Training
If you think your dog’s anxiety is getting worse or is already in a worse stage, you should seek the help of a professional trainer, as this problem can get out of control if left untreated. An obedient and well-behaved dog will understand your language and will remain disciplined in stressful situations.
For professional training, you can seek help from Dog Gone Happy Training & Pet Sitting Center. They offer the best dog training classes in Milford, USA. There, specialized dog trainers will solve all the unwanted behaviors related to anxiety and teach you to maintain what your dog has learned from them.
Dog training by a specialist is necessary because no two dogs are the same, and only a professional knows what training best suits your dog. In addition, training will also solve other unwanted problems such as jumping, aggression, and pulling on the leash.
They also have an advantage over other dog training centers located in Milford as they do dog aggression cases. You can also seek help if you want to teach your dog obedience. For more info, visit their website Dog Gone Happy Training & Pet Sitting Center or Call Now (570) 575-8504.
Medication can play an important role in dogs with anxiety. This is because some dogs are so stressed by anxiety-related issues that their behavior can only be modified with the help of medication. However, medication should be your last resort–not a Band-Aid solution. Behavior modification training, along with medicine, will help your dog overcome this problem.
All post-lockdown anxiety-related problems can be solved by training your dog to be obedient and disciplined in every situation. You can also seek help from professional trainers in such a situation. Keep one thing in mind: don’t punish your dog if your dog shows any bad behavior because it will only worsen the problem.