What can cause anxiety in dogs?

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What can cause anxiety in dogs?

This is a discussion on What can cause anxiety in dogs? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; About five days ago I made a post about my dog who was panting and shaking and just acting weird. Well, apparently she has anxiety. ...

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Old 01-23-2018, 12:37 PM
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What can cause anxiety in dogs?

About five days ago I made a post about my dog who was panting and shaking and just acting weird. Well, apparently she has anxiety. She needs to lose a few pounds so we put her on a diet and started exercising her more and she's doing great!

My question is, what can cause anxiety in dogs? The only thing that I can think of that's changed is the neighbors got a new dog that she likes to play with at the fence. My mother thinks that for some reason it's made her lonely for canine companionship, as we have no other dogs. Is this possible? If so, what can we do about it? We can't get another dog.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:44 PM
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Psychological make up is genetic. So dogs are born this way. Or, pups have periods of fear in development that pass. Then there is a trigger that can cause anxiety. Illness can cause it too like thyroid issues. Whatever the cause... if poss. Should be medically treated if ill, behaviourally treated by building dogs confidence up. More exercise to run it off. And mind stimulation of training instead of dog stimulating itself with worry. Anxious dogs come from poor stock breeding. And are ltd in their capacity of workability. More work than most pet owners bargained for. BUT, it makes me smile a lot to work with a nervous dog and bring it out of the prison of anxiety?
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:21 PM
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Exercise is certainly an anxiety reducer! Works for dogs and humans too.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:19 PM
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Lightbulb many possible causes


How long have U had her? - Since puphood, or did she arrive as a teen or young-adult?

Anxiety can be, as already mentioned, inherited / genetic - but that should have been apparent early on.
I am presuming that for some unspecified while, her behavior was 'normal' or at least in the normal range, as it seems that her behavior changed, correct? - & that's when U became concerned.

Anxiety can also be a symptom of a medical issue - hypothyroid can affect behavior, but *usually* hypothyroid manifests more as "irritability" than anxious - dogs act cranky, stuff that didn't used to bother them now does, they have a lower threshold of tolerance than their usual self.
A racing or erratic heartbeat [one symptom of Lyme disease] can defo provoke anxiety in dogs, just as it does in humans - in Lyme cases, the cardiac symptoms are often worst AT NIGHT, so the vet may not witness them.

One complication of anxiety caused by environmental stimuli:
Dogs can hear a far-greater range of frequencies than humans can, well into infrasonic & ultrasonic... so noises that upset a dog can be completely UN-heard by humans. // Don't assume that if U can't hear anything, the dog shouldn't, either.
Some of the common audio-irritants for dogs: digital clocks, fluorescent light bulbs, compressors [used in refrigerators - Coke machines, the household 'frig, refrigerated tractor-trailer rigs, etc], sodium-vapor lamps, ultrasonic humidifiers, distant thunder [infrasonic - dogs can hear an approaching storm while it's still over 5-miles off, just how far depends on the intensity of the lightning generated], over-amped bass notes, the scream of sirens...

Some dogs develop unfortunate associations that amount to superstitions:
something BAD happens by sheer coincidence at the same time as something perfectly innocuous - the dog concludes that the 'everyday' thing is connected to, possibly even the CAUSE of, the bad event.
So the innocuous event becomes worrying, or even terrifying.
One such pairing involved the thermostat switch for the heating / cooling system of a client's house, but it took awhile to figure that out - we only knew that Spring & Fall, the dog was normal; winter & summer, he became increasingly anxious, pacing, drooling, whining subvocally, & seeking contact reassurance constantly.
They shut off the HVAC to clean the vents, & suddenly from being a needy noodge, their anxious dog became chilled-out & calm; now we had WHAT, but not WHY.
No matter - we just deliberately set out to pair the soft click of the switch with every wonderful event we could think of, from ice-cream to fetch games, & within 3 or 4 weeks, he didn't even seem to notice it anymore.

I would certainly NOT predict or expect that a new dog nearby that Ur dog enjoys play with, would cause anxiety - that makes no sense. If anything, more social contacts create greater emotional resilience & better rebound from stress.
So IMO - no; the new dog is not "causing" stress, but is very likely reducing it.

- terry

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Old 01-23-2018, 09:50 PM
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I have had her for over three years. She's Chihuahua and Italian Greyhound mix. Around five years old. She had alot of behavior issues when I first got her, but with training and more patience then I thought I had, she's turned into a wonderful dog! I know I'm her third home at least, not including the shelter and rescues she was in. We suspect she was used in a puppy mill.
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:41 AM
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Having a lot of homes and losing owners and no stability early on can certainly cause anxiety. And if in a puppy mill or separated from dogs she might have bonded to, the new dog might be a great thing but she might be anxious at being separated that she won't see it again.
I'm no expert on Italian greyhounds or Chihuahuas but i think they're both somewhat high-strung dogs in general and genetics combined with high stress and maybe not the greatest treatment and lots of changes in her early life could certainly make her anxious.
Doesn't make her weak or not s great dog like someone posted.
My dog was very anxious when I got him, I was his third home on sixteen months. Now he's much calmer and bolder and loves people. He's very friendly and goes up to strangers seeking attention all the time. Doesn't appear weak or even very anxious at all but still has some separation anxiety. A good home and a patient loving consistent owner can do wonders.
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