Pets also experience high levels of anxiety. It is a normal reaction to something that is unfamiliar to them. In fact, according to a recent study, 7 .5 percent of dogs of different breeds become anxious.
When dogs are anxious, it shows through physical symptoms. They start panting, barking, drooling, pacing around, urinate or defecate inside the house, and generally become restless. Sometimes, they also become aggressive and destructive.
Anxiety in dogs, while not always a cause for concern, if left unchecked could develop into a disorder and may lead to behavioral issues later on. There are many ways to address anxiety in dogs, including training and counterconditioning. The veterinarian may also prescribe medication to control the anxiety.
It also helps to know the things that may not seem a big deal to you but might be making your dogs anxious. Here are some of them:
Moving Furniture Around
The process of moving houses is a known reason why dogs, or any type of pets, feel anxious. The long journey from the old house to the new house and settling in an unfamiliar neighborhood can be a cause of stress, both for humans and dogs. That is why pet owners use animal transport services to safely and comfortably move their fur babies across the country, preventing the anxiety – and dangers – that come with plane rides.
However, redecorating your house can also trigger anxiety in your dogs. Dogs in their older years or have vision impairments especially will not be happy with the decision to move large furniture around.
Dogs rely on memory to move around the house. They have mapped out the house, knowing where the open spaces are and where the large obstructions are located. When the couches and tables were placed somewhere else, it can cause anxiety because the place suddenly becomes unfamiliar.
Dogs love being petted, but owners should be careful around older and visually impaired dogs. When dogs lose their eyesight due to age or other reasons, they become easily startled. Even if your intention is to pat their heads for being good boys and girls, sudden and unexpected movements can cause anxiety.
Before petting an older or visually impaired dog, make sure that they know that you are around. You have to make a noise – but nothing too loud – before touching them. That way, they know that they are not in danger and, therefore, will feel calmer.
Dogs do not like it when their owners are wearing sunglasses or any other coverings that obstruct the eyes. Pets look at their owner’s eyes to understand what is going on, what they are expected to do, and what they are focusing on. When the owner is wearing sunglasses, they become agitated and they do not know what to do.
The same may happen with hats. Dogs may feel uneasy with hats that cover a portion of the face. It might be a good idea to ditch any face coverings to keep your dogs comfortable or be sure to have positive interactions with your dogs while wearing sunglasses and/or a hat so that, next time, they will feel relaxed.
Staring Too Long
In contrast, having eye contact with your dog all the time can make them anxious. It is fine to stare lovingly at your dog when they are being cute but constantly keeping an eye on them will stress them out. They might feel like they are doing something wrong if their owner is watching them even if they are just sitting quietly on the couch.
Owners should pay attention when a dog is playing, especially younger pups that can accidentally eat and swallow an object that is not food.
Dogs do not like the smell of cigarette smoke. Moreover, exposure to cigarette smoke may negatively affect the health of your pets. Your pups have a very strong sense of smell which they use to move around and observe the environment around them. Smoke is very unpleasant to them, and it can overwhelm their senses.
Smoking also will kill your dog. The harmful compounds from tobacco smoke do not float away; they fall down and settle on the floor where dogs hang around. Dogs, and cats, can absorb these harmful compounds through inhalation or contact with their skin.
In addition, dogs can accidentally consume tobacco by licking the face of their owner.
When a dog is exposed to smoking, they can develop breathing and lung issues, chronic coughing, and cancers. Dogs are at risk of nose cancer, especially breeds that have longer snouts like Greyhounds and Doberman Pinschers.
Pet owners should quit smoking for their sake and for their beloved dog’s health.
Dogs are part of the family. So, when they feel anxious, it can also cause pet owners stress. But, like in humans, stress can be addressed through training, medication, and avoiding triggers.