Fear in Dogs

There are many triggers for anxiety in dogs. Dealing with it properly is like a science. At least if there is a lack of experience and understanding of the behavior. In this article, you will find information about possible causes, the body language of anxious dogs, and suggestions to help four-legged friends cope with their everyday life.

Triggers for anxiety in dogs

Which situations trigger anxiety in dogs depends, among other things, on their personality structure. Perception of danger is subjective, in both humans and dogs. While one four-legged friend is traumatized by a bursting balloon, for example, the other is attacked by a fellow animal. A decisive phase in a dog’s life is the first weeks of life, also the embossing phase called. What puppies don’t get to know during this time can cause big problems in adulthood. Whether cars, children, different floor coverings, certain noises, or much more. Dogs that have grown up in regions that are particularly close to nature and have not been confronted with the typical charms of a big city are less able to get along with them by nature. If they move into a new home, where they are confronted with unknown environmental influences, insecurity is often inevitable. Genes also play a role: there are dog breeds that are significantly less jumpy than others. For example, livestock guardian dogs and all dogs that were bred to guard the house and yard are generally not that easily disturbed. All terrier breeds, for example, are also considered alert, courageous, and fearless.

Recognize fear – “read” body language

Perceived fear can be accompanied by various symptoms. Fright sweat, as people know it, is noticeable in dogs through damp paw prints. Accelerated panting, tremors, and increased salivation also indicate anxiety. In addition, body language draws attention to it. In order to be able to help dogs, it is imperative to recognize anxiety states in good times. We have arranged some examples that can reflect this condition:

  • large pupils
  • ears laid back on the nape
  • lowered head (conveys insecurity)
  • hanging rod
  • the tail is carried under the belly
  • pronounced hunchback
  • lick the snout (due to stress)
  • the center of gravity is behind
  • frozen posture
  • severe, sudden coat loss
  • extreme dandruff (white)
  • bristling coat on the back of the neck

Fear triggers certain processes in the body. Among other things, adrenaline is increasingly produced, as is the hormone glucagon. The result: heart rate and blood sugar levels rise. The organism provides as much energy as possible to react to the frightening situation. This can go so far that the dog defecates and urinates uncontrollably because his body reduces the activity of the gastrointestinal tract and provides maximum energy for flight or attack.

CBD oil for anxiety relief

A balanced diet is important to promote behavioral therapy training with anxious dogs. Well-fed dogs that are provided with all nutrients are more balanced and happy. A general condition that is essential for training success. Dietary supplements can also help with training. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component of the hemp plant that, unlike THC, is not psychoactive. Instead, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a part of the body’s nervous system that both humans and dogs possess. That is why CBD oil is equally popular with people. It can also have positive effects on dogs.

Cannabidiol docks onto the two receptors CB1 and CB2 of the system and thus influences various bodily functions. Due to the anxiolytic effect, CBD oil can increase well-being and ensure that dogs cope better with stressful situations. If required and tolerated, the oil can be administered as a dietary supplement for an unlimited period of time. In the guide of a pet portal for a CBD oil test for dogs, the following dosages were summarized as a rough guide:

body weight amount per week
up to 12 kg 2.5 to 5ml
between 12 and 25 kg    5 to 10 ml
more than 26 kg 10 to 15 ml

Basically, the administration of CBD oil must be increased in small steps. On the first day, only one drop is administered orally or dripped onto the dog’s food. An additional drop is given each additional day until the recommended amount is reached. When buying, you should pay attention to high-quality carrier oils, a gentle extraction process, and organic cultivation. 

Training requires finesse

The first step in treating anxious dogs is to build or improve trust in their caregiver. If there is a lack of a trusting relationship, the training is doomed to failure. Trust helps the animal to cope better in stressful situations. The owner takes an important step in the right direction by assuming responsibility and conveying security and sovereignty to the dog. This takes practice and patience.

Another important measure is a regular daily routine. This does not mean a rigid sequence of activities, but meaningful routines that fit into the everyday life of the family and give the dog stability and orientation. Also important: restful sleep and rest. Dogs need time to break down stress hormones and to process what they have experienced.

A key factor in training anxious dogs is building self-confidence. This can be achieved through employment, among other things. It has to be decided individually whether retrieving, tracking games, or learning tricks are suitable. Just like the entire training plan. The application of general advice from literature, television, and the Internet is not recommended for specific anxiety dogs, because the signs are often misinterpreted by laypeople. For example, the training or therapy approaches depend significantly on whether trauma is actually present or whether the reaction was triggered by sensory overload.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *