Signs of Anxiety in Your Pet

You know what anxiety feels like. You might feel restless. You might feel nervous. You can be cranky and irritable. You might worry excessively or have trouble sleeping.

And when you feel this way, you use stress management techniques, relaxation exercises, or you reach out to friends or family to help.

But did you know that your pets can feel anxious, too? Your pets can exhibit signs of anxiety – and it’s not uncommon at all.

The reasons they experience anxiety can be varied – ranging from previous abuse or neglect to fear of separation from you (which is the most common). And it’s important that you’re able to recognize the signs – so you can help your pet if needed.


What To Look For

  • Barking or yelping when you’re not home

    If you’re not sure if this is happening, ask a neighbor or set up a camera.

    • Pacing and Panting

      Panting is a natural reaction when the weather is warm, but not when the temperatures are cooler.

      • Shivering
      • Running away from you
      • Hiding from you

      Your pet may try and hide under beds or in corners of your home

      • Destroying things in your home

      Destroying furniture or woodwork can be a sign of anxiety

      • Not eating or drinking

      While it’s not always a sign of anxiety, it can be and should be discussed with your veterinarian as soon as possible

      • Urinating/defecating where they shouldn’t

      If a pet that’s potty-trained starts to urinate or defecate indoors or where it shouldn’t, this can be a sign

      • Licking excessively

      Especially if they repetitively lick one spot and there is no sign of trauma or injury

      Sometimes, your pet may do these things occasionally, and they’re not a cause for concern. But if you see these things more often, keep an eye on your pet as you may need to find some specific ways to help your pet deal with anxiety to prevent injury.

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