Has your cat or dog been acting strangely? Our pets each have their own cute and quirky behaviors, and it’s often hard to distinguish Fluffy’s normal animal antics from more serious health issues.
One condition easily overlooked by pet owners is anxiety. Look for the following indicators that your dog or cat is suffering from this condition. If your best friend exhibits these anxiety behaviors, schedule a visit with your vet in D’Iberville, MS:
Top 10 anxiety behaviors in dogs
- Detachment: Your dog may hide or avoid people and other animals.
- Attachment: Rather than hide, an anxious dog may seek extra attention and comfort.
- Shaking and panting: Some panting is normal, such as after exercise. Panting during other times, accompanied by shaking, may indicate anxiety.
- Chewing and licking: Your dog may lick and chew compulsively at their own fur.
- Barking: Most dogs bark occasionally, but if your dog barks in response to noise and continues even after the noise stops, their inability to be calmed may indicate anxiety.
- Aggression: Growling, snapping and other sudden aggressive behaviors toward you or others are signs of anxiety.
- Hyperactivity: Anxiety can show up as surges of energy.
- Destruction: An anxious dog may chew or destroy furniture or other objects they would normally leave alone.
- Defecation: Stress from anxiety may cause your dog to defecate indoors.
- Escape: Anxiety may cause your dog to feel trapped and try to dig out or run away.
Anxiety can cause your dog to experience a panic attack that lasts anywhere from sixty seconds to six hours. Any number of these symptoms or combination of behaviors may be involved in a panic attack.
Top 5 anxiety behaviors in cats
- Psychogenic Alopecia (excessive grooming): An anxious cat may over-groom to the point of hair loss or sores.
- Meowing: Your cat may meow repetitively if anxious.
- Pacing: Frequent compulsive pacing can indicate anxiety.
- Chewing: An anxious cat may even swallow the fabric they chew.
- Sucking: Spontaneous sucking on a person or object can indicate anxiety.
Causes of pet anxiety
For dogs, a common factor is genetic disposition. Breeds known for high energy and intelligence are more likely to experience anxiety, such as Standard Poodles, Dalmatians, German Shepherds, and Pekingese. Medical issues can also cause anxiety symptoms. Conditions including hypothyroidism and hearing loss can induce anxious behaviors. Trauma your dog has experienced can also cause anxiety. Taking a puppy away from its mother before eight weeks, and incidents of abuse or abandonment when they are one to three years old can lead to anxiety.
For cats, it is important not to reinforce anxious behavior. If you provide attention or feed when these symptoms are displayed, your cat’s anxious behavior is reinforced and more likely to continue. Common causes of anxiety onset include change in surroundings and the stress of confinement for indoor cats.
Protect your pet
Left untreated, symptoms of anxiety can lead to self-injury and increased negative behaviors. They may also be a sign of other medical issues. If your cat or dog exhibits anxiety, bring them to your vet in D’Iberville, MS for a thorough exam and treatment. Schedule your appointment today.