• Blog >
  • Understanding Anxiety In Dogs
RSS Feed

Understanding Anxiety In Dogs

Anxiety in dogs is a very common problem in the dog population of Clayton County (Georgia). There are 3 different forms of anxiety identified in our canine companions. Canine fear is the instinctual feeling of apprehension resulting from a situation, person, or object presenting a real or perceived threat. The response to fear can result in a freeze or fight reaction. The context of the situation determines if the dog's fear response is normal or abnormal. Most abnormal fear reactions are learned and can be resolved with gradual exposure to the situation that produces the fear. Canine phobia is the persistent and excessive fear to a specific stimulus. Once a phobic event has been experienced, any event associated with it, or the memory of it, is enough to generate a response. The most common fear phobias in dogs are the ones associated with noises such as thunderstorms and fireworks. Separation anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder recognized in dogs. A behavioral condition in which the pet becomes anxious when separated from the owner. Dogs with separation anxiety tend to 'shadow' their owners, greet them exuberantly when they return after being gone, and sometimes vocalize, chew destructively, and urinate or defecate when separated from their owners.

Causes Of Anxiety

  • Physical illness or pain can be a contributor of episodes of anxiety in dogs.

  • Old age can produce changes in the nervous system which can have an effect in dog’s behavior.

  • Dogs that had not been properly socialized as puppies tends to be victims of anxiety.

  • Viral conditions and certain toxicities that can affect the nervous system can produce also behavioral changes associated with anxiety.

  • Dogs that suffered a history of abandonment, multiple owners, rehoming and neglect are more propense to suffer from anxiety episodes.

  • Certain phobias and anxiety disorders are the results of the dog been forced into a frightful situation or due to the inability to escape or get away from a stimulus causing high levels of stress.

Clinical Signs Of Anxiety

  • Trembling

  • Tail tucked

  • Lethargy

  • Hiding from people

  • Escape behaviors

  • Frequent injuries without definitive explanations

  • Episodes of diarrhea or vomiting

  • Skin lesions due to excessive licking and biting


If you suspect your dog is suffering from anxiety, please contact our animal hospital to schedule an evaluation by one of our veterinarians.  Our veterinarians will first try to rule out what might be causing the behavior by using certain diagnostics tests. Most commonly  the history provided by the owner plus a complete physical exam and blood tests are the first tools used in the evaluation of the patient.


If the diagnoses is simple fear, phobia or separation anxiety, a prescribed medication plus the use of a special vest known as the Thundershirt may be all that is needed. Sometimes natural pheromones are also included in the treatment protocol. Also our veterinarians may provide recommendations about the use of certain training techniques that can be used in dogs suffering from these conditions.

For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of dog's anxiety please contact our animal hospital at (404) 366-4370 or visit us at 4798 Jonesboro Road in Forest Park, Georgia.



Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Forest Park Office


8:30 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-12:00 pm