However pets suffer with anxiety all year round. Whether this is due to travelling, meeting new people, going to the vets, fears of loud noises, the hoover, living in a stressful environment...the list goes on!

FELIWAY has been around for over 20 years helping cats cope with anxiety but there are still many that are not aware about what can be done and what products can be used. We want to raise awareness all about these issues and highlight that there is something you can do to help your pet. 

Whether this be taking them to see a qualified behaviourist or trainer, amend your pets resources to help them with a supporting product. The point is you are not alone and there is something you can be done.
june is dog anxiety awareness month


More than half of all dogs in America suffer from anxiety, fear or stress.  That’s over 50 million dogs in the US suffering from issues like thunder and fireworks (40%) and separation (33%).    

Sadly, over 35% of pet families with anxious dogs have tried nothing to help relieve these problems…mostly because they think nothing will work.

Awareness of human anxiety is improving.  
Let’s do better for our dogs too.  

Below is helpful information about dog anxiety: different types, their symptoms, and brief suggestions for what to do.  Are you wondering if your dog might have anxiety?

TAKE THE FREE ANXIETY ASSESSMENT BELOW prepared by leading animal behaviorists.

If you do have an anxious dog, help is available in many forms.  Please find something that’s a fit for you and give it a try.  Or reach out to your veterinarian or certified trainer for more advice.

What is Dog Anxiety?

Dogs may experience anxiety in ways very similar to humans.  Fear of strange or loud noises.  Anxiety when left alone.  Fear of traveling in a fast vehicle. Anxiety when meeting new people or pets.   For over 50 million dogs in the United States, dog anxiety can come in many forms:  


And the symptoms of dog anxiety are often challenging for both dog and family.  Families with anxious dogs rate over 70% of the cases as moderate or severe.  Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety:

TAKE A FREE DOG ANXIETY ASSESSMENT

Sources of Anxiety

Staying Home Alone

Dogs evolved to be incredibly social animals with other animals and with humans. Over 40% of dogs actually sleep at night in a human family member’s bed! So it is no surprise that being left alone often creates challenges. Over 30% of dogs suffer from some level of separation anxiety. The consequences of this anxiety are often very difficult for families: damaged property, angry neighbors complaining about constant barking or whining, indoor elimination. For many families, it can become a choice between either fixing the problem or giving up their pup. Please try fixing the problem!


Brief Suggestions:

  • Set up a “special safe space” for your pup with comforting, favorite toys and distracting enrichments like treat-stuffed toys or chew sticks.
  • Train your pup to find comfort in a properly sized crate; leave the TV or radio playing.
  • Consider trying one or more calming products, like calming chews, pressure wraps or pheromones.

New Pets and People

Just like for humans, meeting new people or new pets can be stressful for dogs. Over 20% of dogs are identified as “reactive” during new introductions. Some surprising symptoms of reactivity include: looking away, sudden scratching, urination, licking lips and yawning.

Brief Suggestions:

  • Go slowly…if your dog is hesitant, do not force an interaction or let the new person or dog force contact.
  • Let your dog decide when the time is right.
  • If bringing a new dog into the home, make first introductions outside of the home.
  • If your dog shows serious aggression towards people or other dogs, seek advice from a certified trainer or behaviorist.

Fireworks

Fireworks are often incredibly loud and bright! That’s why humans love them. And that’s why many dogs are understandably scared of them; they certainly aren’t a “natural” part of the world that your dog can recognize.

Brief Suggestions:

  • Don’t take your dog to a fireworks show! Many new dog owners make this mistake and it can lead to a dog’s lifetime of noise anxiety.
  • Create a “quiet (as possible) safe space” for the dog in the basement or an interior room… preferably someplace without windows. Play the TV or radio to help mask the sounds.
  • Provide high-value enrichment chew sticks or treat-stuffed toys to help distract from the noises.
  • It’s OK to comfort your dog during the noise! Dogs respond to their humans’ emotions. Show them you aren’t scared and give them a good, happy cuddle.
  • Consider trying one or more calming products, like calming chews, pressure wraps or pheromones.
  • Make sure your dog has a current ID tag or microchip in case he runs off.

Thunder

Much the same as fireworks. A loud, scary noise and bright flashes. Over 40% of dogs are frightened of noises, and unlike fireworks, thunderstorms can often catch you by surprise. It’s also believed that dogs can sense storms long before humans with their excellent hearing, the smell of ozone, and sensing atmospheric pressure changes. The precautions and suggested solutions are much the same as for fireworks.

Brief Suggestions:

  • Create a “quiet (as possible) safe space” for the dog in the basement or an interior room… preferably someplace without windows. Play the TV or radio to help mask the sounds.
  • Provide high-value enrichment chew sticks or treat-stuffed toys to help distract from the noises.
  • It’s OK to comfort your dog during the noise! Dogs respond to their humans’ emotions. Show Them you aren’t scared and give them a good, happy cuddle.
  • Consider trying one or more calming products, like calming chews, pressure wraps or pheromones.
  • Make sure your dog has a current ID tag or microchip in case he runs off.

Travel

While many dogs love car rides, many others struggle with the speed, unbalancing motions, and all of the sights whizzing by. Whether your dog associates a car ride with something negative (“Wait..are you taking me to the Vet?!") or he just can’t handle the stimuli of driving down the road, symptoms of travel anxiety include: car sickness, barking, whining, drooling, lip-licking, pacing, and scratching.

Brief Suggestions:
  • Car rides shouldn’t just be for vet trips! Make sure many happy destinations are mixed in.
  • Give them some exercise before the trip. A good walk. Some fetch. Tug-of-war. Whatever your dog likes to do.
  • Consider trying one or more calming products, like calming chews, pressure wraps or pheromones.
  • For everyone’s safety, consider using a car restraint like a harness that clips into a seatbelt or crate training.

Signs of Dog Anxiety:

Recognizing anxiety in your dog can sometimes be tricky. Look out for these common signs.
Clinging

Has your dog turned into your shadow and not in a cute and cuddly way? This clingy behavior could be an indicator that your dog has separation anxiety.  It may be time to look into calming support or consulting with your veterinarian.

Panting

One of the first things a stressed dog will do is begin to pant excessively. If you know your dog isn’t feeling hot and he hasn’t just been running about, this panting may be a sign of anxiety.

Shaking, Trembling, Cowering, Tucking Tail

Not much room for misinterpretation here. Shaking, trembling, cowering or tucking their tail between their legs are sure signs something is bothering your pup. It very well may be an anxiety.  But if you are not sure, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian as these can also be signs of physical distress.

Drooling Excessively

A sign of anticipating a tasty treat?  Yes.  But also many dogs who don’t normally drool will start drooling when they are nervous or anxious.  Anxiety-related drooling is often accompanied by panting and possibly trembling or other signs of nervousness.

Restlessness

Anxiety is the most common cause of panting and restlessness in dogs without other clinical issues. Just like for humans, stress and anxiety can negatively impact a dog’s health and causes changes to the dog’s behavior.

Destructive

Is your dog tearing up the house? Has your couch turned into a chew toy? If so, this could be your dog’s not-so-subtle way of showing you they are stressed or bored.  

Aggression

Aggressive behavior in a dog refers to any behavior connected with an attack or an impending attack. This includes becoming still and rigid, growling, snarling, baring teeth, lunging, and nipping or biting. If your dog is becoming aggressive, it could be due to fears or anxiety.  For safety, please consult a certified trainer or your veterinarian.

Barking

All dogs bark.  It’s natural and healthy…within limits.  If your neighbors are constantly texting you that your dog won’t stop barking, it’s time to consider that anxiety may be a problem.  

Inappropriate Elimination

Has your potty-trained pooch suddenly started treating new areas in your house like their personal toilet? First things first… consult your veterinarian as there could be an underlying health condition making it harder for your dog to control themselves. If medical reasons are ruled out, it’s time to consider anxiety as a possible cause.

Trying to Escape

”Fight or flight.” Humans and dogs have those instincts when feeling threatened or scared.   Thunder and fireworks are two common causes for dogs to be triggered. Make sure to have an up-to-date ID tag or microchip just in case.

Compulsive Behavior

Compulsive behavior is repetitious, relatively unchanging sequence of activities or movements that has no obvious purpose or function. The most commonly observed obsessive-compulsive behaviors are spinning, tail chasing, licking, self-mutilation, hallucinating (e.g. fly biting), circling, fence running, hair/air biting, pica (appetite for non-food substances such as dirt, rocks or feces), pacing, staring, and vocalizing. If your dog has developed a compulsive behavior, she may be stressed.

Real Stories of Dog Anxiety

Nell & Loud Noises:

What is your dog's anxiety trigger?
Nell's anxiety starts at the first sound of thunder and other loud noises such as vacuums, whistles, fireworks, etc..

How does your dog show he or she is anxious?
Nell will pant excessively, shake uncontrollably, whine (but not bark)  and try to claw her way out, whether it’s through a door or wall. She was left to die after being injured (most likely from being hit by a car) and her back legs healed incorrectly leaving her paralyzed. I think this is why she destroys doors, etc.- to find a way out. She doesn’t like to be contained like in a crate or even in a room with the door shut. She reacts this way to thunder, loud noises, whistles, being in the car, vacuuming. Sometimes she gets anxious and I can’t identify what is causing her to react like that.

What does your dog mean to you?
Nell is my heart. Because I can’t have biological children, the maternal part of me is completely ok with helping disabled dogs. Nell is paralyzed, and my first completely disabled pet. All of my past dogs have had issues towards the end of their lives such as incontinency, and partial paralysis which taught me a lot. When I saw Nell’s foster photo, I immediately fell in love, and knew that even with her disability, I was her perfect person. She has led me to do a lot with promoting rescues for disabled animals and even led to our adopting a tripod (Daisy) as well as pet sitting paralyzed dogs. Nell has given me my purpose in life, which will be to rescue, and foster, only disabled animals from here on out.

How do these anxieties make you feel?
Helpless. I feel terrible that I know she’s safe, but she doesn’t know that. I would never let anything or anyone harm her. It breaks my heart that how she lived before she was rescued still haunts her. It feels like my love for her isn’t enough to save her from those terrible memories.

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
She’s such a survivor. She inspires me every day. It would be wonderful for her to fully let go of her past and just know she’s safe and loved without having to go into flight or fight mode. She’s so special and deserves to live the rest of her life being spoiled.

Why is it important to highlight these issues to other pet families?
Being involved in rescue, there are so many dogs that need homes. We don’t always know their backstory. Having ways to identify and treat anxiety in animals, I feel, will limit how many will be returned to shelters because of behavioral or anxiety issues. This would also reduce the number of euthanized animals that are just reacting to being stressed or anxious.

Winston & Separation Anxiety:

What is your dog's anxiety trigger?
Winston's anxiety is triggered by being alone or away from us in general.

How does your dog show he or she is anxious?
Winston's anxiety shows through being very hyper and unable to sit still or calm down. How do these anxieties make you feel as a pet owner? We never like to see Winston anxious. When we feel his little heart beating fast, we just want to do whatever we can to calm him down.

What does your dog mean to you?

Winston has brought so much love and meaning to our lives. He is a wonderful blessing. After a long day, looking into his eyes makes the whole day melt away because of the love and adoration he has for us and we have for him.

How do these anxieties make you feel?
Winston being anxious causes us to be anxious too.

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
If Winston could calm down and not have separation anxiety, we would be the happiest pet owners! If we have to leave him and we know he's having separation anxiety, it gives us anxiety just as much! If he was able to calm down on his own, we would be thrilled.

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
It is important to highlight these anxiety issues in pets because most animals have some sort of anxiety, at least sometime in their life. It is important to help this issue because it is healthier for your pet, keeps them alive longer, and have less issues in their life. Stress and anxiety, just like in humans, can cause problems for ones health, so just like a person would want to take care of their stress, we should want to help our pets with their stress as well.

Ace & Visitors:

What is your dog's anxiety trigger?
Ace is anxious when new people enter our home.

How does your dog show he or she is anxious?
He will pant excessively, shake, yawn, and cling to the nearest human….usually that’s me.

What does your dog mean to you?
My pet means the world to me, he’s my best friend and constant companion

How do these anxieties make you feel?
Make me feel helpless that he has to go through times like this.

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
Would mean so much to me if I could help him cope with any of his anxieties.

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
So other pet parents can learn and understand the signs of stress/anxiety and know that they are not alone in this with their companions

Ella & Thunderstorms:

What is your dog's anxiety trigger?
Ella's anxiety is triggered by rain and thunder.

How does your dog show he or she is anxious?
She hides under objects, is antsy when it’s raining/thundering, tail between her legs, won’t eat.

What does your dog mean to you?
Ella is my everything. She always is the best part of my days. I always look forward to coming home to her, our park and beach walks, and even just spending the evening in together.

How do these anxieties make you feel?
I feel sad because I want her to be able to be comfortable and not anxious.

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
That she knows that I know she’s feeling that way and can help her.

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?

It connects the pet with the owner

Emily & Loud noises:

What is your dog’s anxiety trigger? 
Emily’s anxiety is triggered by storms. 

How does your show show he or she is anxious?
My fur babies show they are anxious or stressed by shaking or shivering, scratching at the door to leave when there are loud noises, panting usually in the car, running away and hiding either under the bed, or during a storm at the back of the toilet.

What does your dog mean to you?
My pups mean the world to me, and to them I am their entire world. I will do anything and everything to ensure that they receive the best care, and live their best lives.

How do these anxieties make you feel?
When my pups are stressed it makes me feel helpless and stressed since they can’t communicate with me and tell me what’s wrong, and how I can help them.

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
I believe that every problem has a solution, and it makes me truly happy to be able to figure out work arounds and ways to keep my pups happy, and healthy so they can live a longer life.

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
It’s not an easy job caring for your pup, but your fur baby is always there for you giving you unconditional selfless love. It’s important that people pay extra attention to their fur babies' needs, and keep trying to find solutions.

Ham & New people:

What is your dog’s anxiety trigger? It’s a couple of things these days. The biggest one is people he’s unfamiliar with (“stranger danger”). Other things include wind causing trees to sway/rustle or awnings/flags to flap.

How does your show show he or she is anxious?
Tail tucked, weaving back and forth. Very alert.

What does your dog mean to you?
Ham is a member of the family.  He came at the perfect time, after two pandemic years, to pull us out of our rut and get us outside.

How do these anxieties make you feel?
Anxious myself that I can't help him more or communicate to him that there's nothing to worry about. 

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
It would mean a lot knowing that he's able to enjoy his life to the fullest. 

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
So folks know to recognize anxiety in their pets and intervene before the pet does something undesirable like biting or running away.

Kenzo & general anxiety

What is your dog’s anxiety trigger? 
Kenzo has general anxiety with many different triggers that stress him out. 

How does your show show he or she is anxious?
We can tell when Kenzo is anxious because he won’t relax. When he gets anxious he has a very hard time just laying down, he will be up crying and pacing, as well as licking furniture sometimes to calm himself down.

What does your dog mean to you?
Kenzo means the absolute world to my boyfriend and I! We see him as our child! Our fur child lol!

How do these anxieties make you feel?
They make us feel sad! Sometimes it also makes us anxious when he’s anxious but we’ve learned if we’re calm, Kenzo will mimic our behavior! 

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?

It would mean a lot to me to be able to help Kenzo cope with his anxiety! I wish I could take all of his anxiety away.

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
I think it’s important to highlight these issues to other pet owners because I know it can get hard and tiring trying to figure out ways to help your pet cope with their anxieties. It’s good to let other people know they’re not alone and just because one coping mechanism doesn’t work for their pet, doesn’t mean another type won’t! We have tried a few things but we found the thunder shirt has been a big changer for Kenzo! Whenever he’s wearing it, he’s calm and relaxed and has been overall happier!

LaLa & thunderstorms:

What is your dog’s anxiety trigger? 
Thunderstorms, every time we have one, we have a night full of anxiety. 

How does your show show he or she is anxious?
LaLa begins shaking, heartbeat out of control, under the table, bed, sofa, panting.

What does your dog mean to you?
\
My LaLa is my very first pet EVER and I am 57. She means the world to me as she has changed how I feel about pets. I have never had a pet as I was attacked when I was 4 by a dog. Traumatic to say the least. I finally overcame my fears and have had this fabulous dog for 5 plus years. She is such an amazing addition to our family and she is the pet that helped me overcome my fears. 

How do these anxieties make you feel?
I feel helpless and so incredibly sad for her. I want to fix it but can’t.

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
I would feel like a successful Fur Mom.

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
From what I understand pet anxiety is real and not uncommon. I personally would love help.

Murphy & thunderstorms:

What is your dog’s anxiety trigger? 
Murphy gets anxious whenever there is a thunderstorm. 

How does your show show he or she is anxious?
Murphy is only anxious in storms and when someone is cooking on the gas (as his mum usually sets off the fire alarm). His tail tucks under himself and he starts shaking uncontrollably, Murphy turns into a rag doll and freezes in time (literally). In storms the only way to distract him is to turn up the music loud and turn the house into a party, however when the house is asleep the only thing we can do is cuddle him and hope for the storm to pass quickly.

 What does your dog mean to you?
Unconditional love. 

How do these anxieties make you feel?
Sad and hopeless. I just want him to understand me when I say everything is okay and we will protect him no matter what (even from the scary loud man in the sky). 

What would it mean to you to help your dog cope with anxiety?
It would mean the world to us! Murphy is our everything and for him to be able to not be shaking in fear from storms or fire alarms would be incredible. Please tell me there is a solution! 

Why is it important to highlight these issues for other pet families?
It is important to let other pet owners know that they aren't alone or a bad owner/pawrent if their beloved pet experiences anxiety. Generally, Murphy is an outgoing and dominating personality which you would never pick that anything would scare him however when he is anxious all that goes out the window. He turns onto a scared and vulnerable little dog who needs all the love and support to help him through these tough times.

Resources

Additional information about dog anxiety signs and solutions: 


Dog Anxiety Survey Results (Click Here)


Webpages & Blog Posts:

My dog cannot be left home alone!, by ACVB

How to interact with a Fearful Dog, by ACVB

Is Your Dog Afraid? Support Him, Don’t Ignore Him, by Liz Palika, Fear Free.

Storm Brewing? Get Inside Your Dog’s Head To Help Him Manage Fear, by Kim Campbell Thornton, Fear Free

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe this Summer, by Dr. Ruth MacPete


Books:

Online Training Courses:

Noise Aversion Online Course | The Real Dog Nerds




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