Are you concerned about your dog’s health and happiness? One of the most important things you can do as a pet owner is to pay attention to the signs that your dog may be experiencing anxiety. An anxious dog may exhibit behaviours different from those of a happy dog.
In this article, we’ll discuss five signs that your dog may be unhappy and provide tips on how to help them. By understanding the signs of an anxious dog, you can take action to improve their overall well-being and ensure they are happy and healthy.
1. Changes in Appetite
Just like in humans, changes in appetite can indicate that you have an unhappy, anxious dog. You should be concerned if they suddenly lose interest in their food and aren’t eating as much as they usually would. If this is the case, you should take your pup to the vet to ensure there isn’t an underlying health condition causing the appetite loss, but they could just be depressed.
There are also dogs out there who have the complete opposite reaction. If your dog is suddenly devouring their food and asking for more than usual, it might be comfortable eating! Dog anxiety or unhappiness won’t feel nice for your furry friend, so they may use food to subdue their feelings and cheer themselves up.
Remember, you should always take your dog to the vet if you notice sudden appetite changes. This is the same for unexplained or sudden weight gain or loss.
2. Sleeping Too Much or Too Little
A dog should sleep 12-14 hours a day, which is much more than humans! If you notice a change in your pet’s sleeping habits, this could indicate that they’re not feeling very happy. If you find them sleeping much more than usual, they could be depressed.
Equally, if your dog seems not to be sleeping, or is having trouble getting to or staying asleep, something’s wrong. But, insomnia can also be caused by physical pain and anxiety in dogs. To be safe, take them to the vet for a check-up.
3. Excessive Licking
Dogs often lick themselves, and this is completely normal. They lick their paws and body frequently to try and clean themselves, so don’t be immediately worried! However, they could feel a little blue if you notice they’re licking more than usual.
If a pup is licking excessively, it might be trying to calm itself down and soothe itself. The same goes for chewing, another soothing technique that unhappy dogs use.
If you’re wondering “why my dog is anxious” and want to know more about how to help them, check out the signs of anxiety, alongside tips for calming an anxious dog.
4. Losing Interest in Activities
Dogs are naturally playful, inquisitive, and friendly creatures, which is why we love them so much! But, if your dog suddenly doesn’t seem interested in the things they used to love, it could indicate that they’re not feeling their best. Like humans, depressed dogs can feel a lack of motivation to do the things they used to.
For example, if your pup is usually a big fan of playing with their toys but hasn’t bothered with them lately, they’re probably feeling a little down. Remember, though, that it’s normal for a dog’s interest in their toys to vary daily, but if their uninterest has been going on for a long time, you should pay attention.
The same is true for exercise and walks. If your dog seems super low on energy, lethargic, and doesn’t want to come out and jump around, it could be feeling depressed or anxious; if they’re also hiding and cowering around the house, this a sure sign that something isn’t right!
5. Changes in Behaviors
If you’re noticing many changes in your furry friend’s behaviour, they might be letting you know they’re unhappy. If your dog is usually very friendly but is suddenly showing signs of aggression, for example, then something’s not right. Sudden aggression can be a sign of both depression and anxiety, so don’t ignore it!
You might also notice that your pup starts pacing. Just like humans that are feeling anxious, dogs have certain things they do to try when they’re feeling unhappy and pacing back and forth is one of them. This could also be a sign of boredom, and if you spot your dog pacing, take them outside for a fun run around – it could be just what they need!
Like pacing, starting to destroy things is another sign of a less than a happy dog. Suppose your pup has never been one for destructive behaviour but is suddenly tearing up its toys, destroying furniture, and acting rougher. In that case, they might feel anxious, unhappy, and bored. Again, try to increase their mental stimulation by playing with them and taking them outside so that they can release some energy.
What To Do When You Spot Signs of an Anxious Dog
If you’re noticing changes in your dog that you think are because of unhappiness, there are several things you can do. The first is to take them to a vet to ensure they’re healthy. You should also try and spend more time with your dog, play with them, and take them outside. Socializing them with other friendly pups can also help lift their mood.
Sometimes something as simple as changing their diet can help, too. There are also calming chews, like CBD dog chews, which could help ease their nerves.
Hug Your Puppy and Keep Them Happy
How do you know if your dog is unhappy? Although they can’t speak, in other ways, a man’s best friend tells us they’re unhappy.
A lot of pet owners worry about the happiness of their pets. Because they can’t just tell us how they’re feeling, it can be tricky to know whether or not you’re giving them a good life!
Noticing the signs of an anxious dog in your pup is never nice. Alongside the tips above, give your little furry friend plenty of hugs and love during this time! They might need some extra attention until they feel happy again.
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