Even the calmest of dogs can become tense under the right circumstances, and some normally mellow animals may become decidedly anxious due to specific stimuli. Knowing how to handle your pet when they are scared or uneasy will help to alleviate their fear and condition them to new things. Although some dogs with severe anxiety issues may require medication, most situations can be managed with patience, compassion, and training.
When dogs experience chronic pain, particularly pain that is made worse by contact, this can have a profound case on their psyche and may cause uneasiness. Arthritis, degenerative disc disease and dental issues can cause a pain that is relentless.
Dogs may become uneasy during storms due to the static electricity and barometric changes in the air rather than or in conjunction with the sound. In those cases, anti-static treatments formulated for a dog’s fur or storm jackets may be helpful in reducing the animals unease.
Noise is a very common trigger for canines, particularly the sounds of fireworks, vacuum cleaners, or of thunder. Noise anxiety is a common component to the development of PTSD and phobias in dogs.
Illness or Injury
Canines may attempt to hide their symptoms if they are feeling unwell. If your dog begins showing signs of discomfort or unease with no apparent provocation, particularly if it is combined loss of appetite, indications of pain and discomfort, retching or vomiting, or severe lethargy a visit to your veterinarian may be a good idea.
Depending on the length of the separation, any dog can exhibit behaviors consistent with separation anxiety, characterized by frantic destructive behavior, loud and excessive vocalizations, and house soiling when either the person the animal is most bonded to leaves their environment or when the dog is left completely alone (also known as isolation anxiety).
Canines are often susceptible to the same motion induced nausea that humans are and their dogs may be uneasy due to the fear of the unknown or past associations that are negative. This is particularly true for dogs that travel infrequently or only to places that the dog itself may consider unpleasant, for instance, the veterinarian's office or groomers.
Many dogs may become uneasy when new people or animals are introduced to them or to their territory. This type of behavior can frequently be curbed by utilizing a training technique known as deconditioning training.
Some dogs may become anxious or uneasy when they are exposed to new places or new experiences.
Keep a close eye on your animal, and be aware of the signals of unease that your dog may be exhibiting, such as overly aggressive chewing, cowering, escape behaviors, excessive vocalizations, licking of their nose and muzzle, or even trembling and loss of bladder control. If your pet is uneasy due to a fear reaction, however, your first instinct when you see your pet cowering in fear is frequently to comfort your canine companion. Although some veterinary behaviorists recommend ignoring the dog until it has calmed itself in order to prevent the inappropriate behavior from being reinforced, while others condone using a calm and reassuring manner to comfort the animal. In some cases, pheromones designed to calm canines may be used to enhance their comfort levels as well.
Dogs that are exhibiting signs of pain or abdominal discomfort should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible to eliminate the possibility of a physical disorder as an instigator of the patient’s ill-ease. To avoid either injuring the dog or causing the dog to bite in fear, it should be approached calmly and with as little stress as possible. If the unease that your canine companion is experiencing is interfering with the dog’s enjoyment of life, a behavioral therapist may be able to help you to create a treatment program based on counter-conditioning training, and in more severe cases, psychiatric medications may be prescribed.
One of the best ways to avoid uneasiness in your pet is to introduce them to as many positive experiences as possible during their primary socialization phase at between eight and twelve weeks of age. This stage in their lives they are most easily able to accept and assimilate new experiences, and it typically becomes much more challenging for the animal to accept new experiences after the age of around fourteen weeks. Negative influences may also be particularly influential during this formative stage and can cause life-long discomfort in certain situations. Even when this critical phase of your dog’s life is not handled properly, either because you were unaware of this need or unable to meet this when they were a puppy or because you met the dog after this socialization period was over, with a little patience and compassion most dogs can be socialized after this stage. If your dog is showing unease or fear, approach it cautiously, even if you know your pet well.
Pain and fear can cause dogs to react in unpredictable ways. Approaching the animal slowly while speaking in soft tones may help to ease fear for a restless or uneasy animal, and prolonged eye contact should be avoided at least until the dog has regained its composure.
The reasons that a dog may be feeling uneasy are many. Treatment for this behavior, for example when due to a tooth root abscess, may cost as much as $1200. Diagnosing and prescribing medication for arthritis may average around $500.
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