More Than 72% of Dogs Suffer from Anxiety

Do you think that anxiety and fear is exclusively human? This study reveals that more than 72% of dogs suffer from anxiety or behavioral disorders.
More Than 72% of Dogs Suffer from Anxiety

Last update: 12 February, 2021

All living beings are afraid of something. Of course, anxiety caused by our surroundings isn’t something that affects only humans. The study we’ll talk about next reveals that more than 72% of dogs suffer from anxiety and other fears.

Understanding this is important for dogs, and for us, too. Knowing how to recognize the signs of dogs that suffer from anxiety or any form of psychological discomfort helps give our pet a better life, and prevent the after effects.

How was this study carried out?

The study took place in Finland with a group of 13,700 dogs. The evaluation of canine anxiety was done by means of a questionnaire in which the keepers had to answer questions about the 7 most common symptoms of dog anxiety, in addition to some problematic behaviors.

Below, we’ll show you the results obtained by experts:

  • Sensitivity to noise is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety. Fireworks were the main reason for the most common fear triggering canine anxiety. In addition, out of 36% of fears generated by loud noises, 26% were due to fireworks.
  • A specific fear is another of the most common symptoms of anxiety. The most common were neophobia, fear of other dogs and strangers, with an incidence of 11%, 17% and 15%, respectively.
  • Young dogs showed more propensity to destruction and leaving stools around the house due to separation anxiety. They also chased their tails more often, and were more impulsive and restless.
  • Males tend to be more aggressive and impulsive, while females are more fearful.
  • Even if fear and anxiety are common to all dog breeds, scientists found certain tendencies. For instance, Labradors don’t channel aggression towards humans, and mixed breeds are more sensitive to noise.
  • Fear of loud noises increases with age. Storms, pyrotechnics, motorcycles and other noises affect senior dogs more.
Destroying things due to anxiety.

Why do more than 72% of dogs suffer from anxiety?

One of the reasons for dog anxiety is usually a lack of care before these problems appear. It often happens that, due to ignorance or other reasons, the keeper doesn’t recognize the problem, or lets it escalate until the dog has already started to cause serious damage or problems in the home.

How to recognize dogs that suffer from anxiety

You’ve already seen that anxiety knows no breed, location, or species. As always, prevention and early detection are the best tools to avoid having to deal with anxiety. This condition is very difficult to cure once established in the mind.

You can start suspecting dog anxiety or fear when the pet shows one or more of the following clinical and psychological signs:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Muscular tension
  • Palpitations
  • Motor tension
  • Apprehensive expectation

Recommendations

When your dog shows any of the above signs, you should look for the source of this behavior. Here are some tips for preventing anxiety and behavioral disorders:

  • Prepare a suitable environment for the animal: It’s important to find a balance between the dog’s adaptation to a new home and your own comfort. Stressors such as loud noises, unpleasant odors, or harmful chemicals can be the origin of many behavioral disorders in dogs.
  • Knowing the dog: It’s not necessary to be an ethologist to know when your dog is acting out of the ordinary.
  • Seeing an expert: Whether due to a veterinary problem or because the behavior problem can’t be solved at home, a professional will always provide the necessary tools to maintain the dog’s psychological health.
  • Establish a healthy routine for your dog: Don’t let it spend too many hours alone, always go out at the same time of the day, and promote good nutrition, environmental enrichment, and a thousand other things that will turn its surroundings into a protective factor for the dog’s mental health.
A sad dog.

In conclusion, we could add the following: mental health is important for all species, not only for humans. A study revealing that more than 72% of dogs suffer from anxiety means that this is something we should be taking note of. In short, it’s necessary to change our perception of dogs in order to ensure their well-being.

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  • Anzola Delgado, B. (2017). La agresividad en los perros como consecuencia de la ansiedad. Revista del Colegio de Médicos Veterinarios del Estado Lara, 12, 14-19.
  • Salonen, M., Sulkama, S., Mikkola, S., Puurunen, J., Hakanen, E., Tiira, K., … & Lohi, H. (2020). Prevalence, comorbidity, and breed differences in canine anxiety in 13,700 Finnish pet dogs. Scientific reports, 10(1), 1-11.