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Recognising dog anxiety

When we get anxious, we tend to have a good idea of how to handle things (or at least Google it) but for dogs it’s very different.

They aren’t equipped with the same set of troubleshooting tools that us humans can use to calm our distress, and so look to us canine parents for re-assurance.

A recent study from Finland found that over 70 per cent of dogs expressed anxiety-related behaviour at some point in their lives and this is why it’s so important to keep an eye on your dog’s daily well-being, as early intervention can ease or even prevent a pet’s anxious state or actions.

But why do dogs even experience anxiety in the first place? Even though dogs are a different species, they still are emotional, sentient beings who experience a spectrum of feelings, just as humans do.

Nick Parkinson, founder of Pawpounders says that fear and anxiety should be taken seriously and attended to in a loving yet productive way.

“Like people, dogs thrive on routine,” says Nick. “That means anything unfamiliar or unpredictable has the potential to trigger apprehension or panic.

“Being abandoned can lead to anxiety; so can the presence of another dog, meeting a new human friend, spending time in a strange place, or a departure from the dog’s usual schedule.”

Since it’s a response to fear, anxiety also occurs when dogs experience scary stuff — think thunderstorms, fireworks, or loud, nearby noises such as the vacuum, heavy machinery, and even an argument.

And then there is separation anxiety, which is a specific type of mood disorder that can be triggered by trauma (remember dogs have a very different threshold for trauma than people). Something as relatively minor as their humans’ post-pandemic return to work outside of the home can lead to separation anxiety.

If your dog’s behavior changes for the worse every time you depart, our daycare can help. Here each and every new dog that comes to us is slowly socialised until they are comfortable and confident. And when they are ready, we introduce them to other dogs so that they can begin enjoying their day.

We take the wellbeing of every dog that comes to us extremely seriously – their happiness is our happiness right from the word go.