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11 Types Of Anxiety In Dogs + Tips To Manage It (2023)

Types Of Anxiety In Dogs

Anxiety is a tricky condition in dogs.

And since you can’t walk up to your pooch and ask them why they’re feeling it…

You can turn to this guide that’ll tell you all about the types of dog anxiety.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 11 troublesome types of anxiety in dogs.
  • 5 quick tips for managing your canine’s anxiety.
  • How canine anxiety and fear turn into a phobia.
  • And much, much, more…

11 types of anxiety in dogs

#1: Fear-related anxiety

According to MSDVM, fear is your dog’s natural response to terrifying stimuli.

In general, your pooch could be scared of:

  • Strangers.
  • Loud noises.
  • Young children.
  • Unfamiliar canines.
  • Strange animals (ex., rodents).
  • Visual stimuli (ex., Umbrellas and hats).

And when a stimulus is present…

Your dog’s fright turns into anxiety.

Which causes them to feel agitated. 

Then, your pup’s response would be showing the following behaviors:

  • Hiding.
  • Trembling.
  • Tail-tucking.
  • Reduced activity.

Fun fact: Dogs avoid frightening triggers to get rid of their anxiety. And there are 2 ways that canines flee from them:

Type of avoidanceDefinition
PassiveThe response where your pooch freezes. They’re ignoring the stimulus as a means of escape.
ActiveThis is where your pooch runs away from what scares them. They hide to avoid it.

Read also: 23 Critical Signs Of Anxiety In Dogs + How To Treat It

#2: Car anxiety

This is still under fear-related anxiety…

But aside from fright…

Your pooch gets agitated inside vehicles due to motion sickness.

Fun fact: NLM says the ears are the main organ involved in balance. Specifically, the vestibular system found inside them. And when that sends contradicting messages to the brain, it leads to motion sickness.

That aside, VCA Hospitals says car anxiety can also be due to a lack of conditioning.

As well as inadequate experience in traveling.

With that, watch out for signs of car anxiety in Fido. Which are:

  • Barking.
  • Whining.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Panting and shaking.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Suddenly peeing and pooping (inside the car).

Read more: Dog Car Anxiety: 9 Symptoms & 7 Calming Tips 

#3: Anxiety in specific places

This is another one under fear-related anxiety in dogs.

Because when they’re scared of a particular place…

Your pooch will get anxious on the way there. 

And they’ll be more agitated once they arrive at the location.

A great example of this is when Fido’s up for a vet visit.

Most canines get anxious on the car ride alone…

As they expect their destination to be the doctor’s clinic.

Once you get there with your pooch, they’ll exhibit signs of anxiety. Which I already mentioned in the previous sections.

But it’s not just the vet clinic…

Any place related to a bad experience can trigger anxiety in your canine.

For further reading: 9 Real Reasons Why Dogs Hate The Vet + 3 Vital Tips

#4: Separation anxiety

MSDVM reveals that this affects at least 14% of dogs.

And the veterinary manual describes this condition as:

Your dog’s inability to find comfort when their primary human parent is away.

It’s where your pooch develops a hyper-attachment to you. Or a person they really care about.

Then, the absence of that human triggers anxiety in your canine.

“How do they get separation anxiety?”

ASPCA tells us that sudden changes play a big part in the appearance of this condition. 

Specific examples are the shift in:

  • Schedule.
  • Residence.
  • Guardian or family.
  • Household membership (addition or disappearance of a member).

And even a sudden transformation in furniture arrangement triggers it.

When that happens, your pooch will display the following symptoms:

  • Digging.
  • Barking.
  • Howling.
  • Escaping.
  • Coprophagia (poop eating).
  • Chewing (clothes, socks, or blankets).
  • Pooping and peeing inside the house (again).

Continue reading: Why Does My Dog All Of A Sudden Have (Separation) Anxiety?

#5: Pain-induced anxiety

Aches can change your pooch…

Because when Fido’s hurting, they can develop sudden anxiety.

According to research, that’s an animal’s natural response to pain.

As they need to be more cautious. 

Since experiencing hurt means becoming more vulnerable.

With that, they can’t defend themself the same way they can when sound.

#6: Age-related anxiety

Age-Related Anxiety

Unfortunately, your pooch won’t stay sharp forever…

Because as they grow older, their cognitive and physical abilities begin to decline.

That’s how dogs develop canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome or CCD.

As stated by PetMD, this is similar to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

And since this condition leads to confusion and weakness…

Your dog develops anxiety with it. 

Which causes the symptoms below:

Moreover, aging impairs your canine’s senses. 

So, their hearing and seeing abilities aren’t as good as before.

And that fact stresses your senior pooch.

#7: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Humans aren’t the only ones experiencing PTSD…

Which is also known as a post-traumatic stress disorder.

And it’s a condition that leads to severe anxiety.

According to doctors, the possible causes of PTSD in dogs are:

  • Severe abuse.
  • Living as a stray.
  • Surviving a disaster.
  • Military or police work.
  • Experience as a fighting or bait dog.
  • Being raised in a puppy mill (breeding facility).
  • Getting attacked by another animal or fellow canine.

For example, AKC reveals:

Animals who lived through tornadoes in Oklahoma developed PTSD.

Then, they showed the following symptoms:

  • Panic.
  • Panting.
  • Being timid.
  • Fearfulness.
  • Getting clingy to their humans.

#8: Anxiety due to neglect and abandonment

This is a type of separation anxiety in canines.

Which appears due to their history of abandonment.

As well as experiencing neglect from their previous humans.

That’s why this is most evident in rescued canines.

Especially in foster pups who are in constant anxiety.

And because they encounter repeated rehoming…

They live in uncertainty, which continually stresses them.

#9: Illness-related anxiety

Just like pain, a medical condition can shift your pup’s attitude.

Vets say an illness affects the way your pup reacts to a stimulus.

So from a carefree and friendly pupper…

They can turn aggressive and anxious.

And when they feel sick, they also think of themself as weak and vulnerable.

So, they live in fear and anxiety because they’re easy targets of threats. 

#10: Generalized anxiety

Some dog parents report that their pup is in a constant state of anxiety.

As they observed that their Fido is easily reactive.

Moreover, they noticed that their puppers were always extra alert.

If this is the case, I tell them to look into generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Which is a disorder that drives your pup to be anxious all the time.

According to PetMD, this condition is a product of nature and nurture.

Because these factors can result in GAD in dogs:

  • Environment.
  • Lack of socialization.
  • Genetic predispositions.

With GAD, your pooch will be quickly scared of everything.

And it’ll be too much that it can affect their daily life quality.

You might also be interested in: Quiz: Does My Dog Have Anxiety? Test It With These 9 Signs

#11: Excessive stimulus anxiety (phobia)

The longer your pup is exposed to their fearful stimulus…

The more intense their anxiety becomes.

With that, they can get overstimulated. Others call it sensory overload as well.

When that happens, your pup will begin showing the following signs:

  • Panting.
  • Yawning.
  • Not blinking.
  • Vocalizations.
  • Hypervigilance.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Breathing too fast.
  • Biting (or the intention to do so).

And your pooch might escape their trigger, or it comes to an end…

But there’s a risk they might’ve developed an intense fear of it.

In this case, it becomes a phobia.

Then, your pup will be scared of any events associated with their trigger.

Fido’s response to that is called excessive stimulus anxiety.

From which they’ll begin showing severe displays of the following:

  • Pacing.
  • Panting.
  • Active escape.

Warning: Research reveals dogs are self-aware. And with that ability comes their means to self-harm. When your pooch experiences extreme anxiety, they can inflict harm on themself. Examples of that are biting and gnawing their skin.

5 tips to manage anxiety in dogs

#1: Desensitization and counterconditioning

VCA Hospitals guarantee these are powerful ways to change a canine’s behavior.

Because they work without putting your pooch under more stress.

But first, let’s define both terms:

DesensitizationGradually exposing your pooch to their fearful stimulus. Which aims to lessen their frightful response little by little.
CounterconditioningChanging your dog’s response to their trigger by using positive association. Which is through rewards like praises and treats.

And to put the 2 together in action, watch this instructional video:

#2: Massage them

This is an ongoing trend in the veterinary scene.

Because massage therapy helps relieve anxiety in canines.

It promotes calmness which supports your pup’s emotional well-being.

Moreover, MedVet informs us of the benefits of massage therapy in dogs. Which are:

  • Alleviating soreness.
  • Relieving muscle tension.
  • Reducing muscle spasms.
  • Decreasing discomfort from bone issues (ex., arthritis).

Learn more: 7 Best Techniques To Massage Your Dog (For Anxiety)

#3: Anxiety medications

You can’t manage Fido’s anxiety with non-medicinal routes when it’s severe.

With that, you’ll need to take your pup to the vet.

Where they’ll get consulted and prescribed medication for their exact case.

And according to PetMD, these are the possible anxiety medications for canines:

  • Buspirone.
  • Amitriptyline.
  • Sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Paroxetine (Paxil).
  • Diazepam (Valium).
  • Lorazepam (Ativan).
  • Alprazolam (Xanax).
  • Dexmedetomidine (Sileo)
  • Clomipramine (Clomicalm).
  • Fluoxetine (Reconcile or Prozac).

Note: Other anxiety medications are available over the counter. Regardless, I highly suggest consulting a vet first. Not only will they prescribe the right one, but they’ll also advise the proper dosage.