How to spot the signs of an anxious dog

The last thing that you will want as a dog owner is for your dog to feel anxious, nervous or less than happy. However, what you should realise is that it is common for dogs to become anxious from time to time. It is important to be able to spot the signs of an anxious dog so that you can be ready to calm them down. If you find that your dog is becoming increasingly anxious or that they are not calming down, then you may want to speak to a vet about ways that you can help them.

But how do you know if your dog is anxious? We have put together our guide to the main signs that you should be looking out for.

Know your dog

Before you even start to think about picking up on whether your dog is feeling anxious, you first need to be able to tell what is normal behaviour in your dog. If you don’t understand this, then how can you tell if they are not themselves? Dogs will show their emotions on their face. If they are relaxed then their eyes are going to be soft and round, or even slightly squinted, the important thing is that you will be able to see the colour of their eyes. If they have straight ears then they will be held semi-erect and their mouth will be relaxed, even pulling into a smile in some dogs.

How a dog shows anxiety in their face

One of the most obvious ways that your dog will show that they are feeling stressed or anxious is within their face. You are likely to find that they are showing more of the whites of their eyes than they normally would, as well as showing an intense and direct stare, or in some circumstances, avoiding eye contact at all.

Their ears are also likely to show how they are feeling. Although this can differ between different dogs. Some dogs may hold their usually relaxed ears completely upright, whereas some may lay them back flat against their head.

Another sign is that they hold their mouth closed or that they pull their lips back into somewhat of a grimace. This is not a good sign and will often show that they are getting ready to snap, growl, snarl of even worse, bite.

How the behaviour of an anxious dog may change

If your dog is feeling anxious, then they are much more likely to whimper, growl, whine or bark. All of which are their own type of distress signal. Your dog will have their own go to distress call, so look out for something that is out of the ordinary for them.

They may also become more active. They could seem on edge, and that they are ready to take action if they need to. However, just as likely is that they will freeze in place and refuse to move anywhere.

The thing to remember is that when your dog is feeling anxious, they won’t be behaving in a way that you are used to. If you notice that your dog is acting out of the ordinary, then it may be time to find out what is stressing them out and change it!