Five Signs Your Dog Has Anxiety, According To A Dog Therapist

Has your dog been acting a little odd lately and not quite like themselves? We spoke to expert Laura V about the common indicators your dog is anxious or depressed.

One of the best things about owning a dog is getting to know their own unique personality. But what if your dog's behaviour suddenly changes? Or what if they've always been a little on edge?

10 daily spoke to Dognitive Therapist and PAWGUST Ambassador, Laura V, who is an expert in dogs and their behaviour and formulated the 'Dognitive Therapy' approach to dog training.

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According to Laura, it might surprise you that some of the signs of a depressed or anxious dog aren't necessarily as obvious as you might think.

Here are the signs she said you should look out for:

1. Your dog's body language changes

Does your dog seem to yawn in certain situations? Laura explained it's unlikely they're trying to signal to you that they're tired.

Yawning isn't a good sign, according to Laura. Image: Supplied

"Yawning is a key sign of stress and anxiety in dogs. It's just as common as trembling, putting their tail between their legs, acting out destructive behaviour or barking/whimpering or any increased vocalisation," Laura said.

2. Your dog shows signs of distress upon your departure

When you leave the house in the morning, your dog should be able to settle into the day ahead with ease, according to Laura.

"Signs of distress include following you to the front door, trying to escape as you try to leave or settling in front of the door. Ideally, your dog will be in its bed or happily playing outside when you leave the house," she said.

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3. Your dog shows little interest in food

Laura said when exposed to a distressing situation, a dog is much more likely to experience a decrease in appetite, just like humans.

Observe your dog when it is a foreign or potentially worrying situation and see if a trip to the food bowl part of his/her routine is. If it's not, your dog may be feeling unease in that particular time or place.

The same rule applies if the dog bowl appears untouched after you leave home for an extended period of time (more than a few hours).

4. Your dog is clingy and needy of your attention

Dogs love to play and are deserving of regular stimulation but if they're being extra needy, this is a common sign of anxiety.

Dognitive Therapist Laura V is an expert in dog behaviour. Image: Supplied

"If they can't act independently, are always under your feet and are not trained to follow you through the house (but do it, regardless!) they may be under stress," Laura said.

5. Your dog inappropriately eliminates indoors

If your dog has been trained but seems to be disobeying the rules, it could be a sign of disquiet in your mate.

"Dogs can't communicate as we do, and this is one way they try to draw attention to something that is not quite right," Laura said.

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If your dog displays any of these signs, a good place to start is taking your dog for more regular walks, Laura told 10 daily. According to Guide Dogs Australia, only 30 per cent of owners walk their dog every day.

Regular walks can do wonders for a dog's mood and if you've ever experienced the high of a run, dogs get the same feeling and benefits after exercise too.

You can also take the Dog Happiness Quiz which helps to measure the happiness and well-being of your dog. If your dog is acting oddly, it is also a good idea to seek professional help or take them to your local vet.

Featured image: Supplied