Environmental and Emotional Causes of Dog Anxiety

Dog anxiety is a serious issue. The way you deal with it depends on the causes of the anxiety and the severity of the condition. There are breed and genetic factors that may predispose dogs to anxiety; however there are also environmental and emotional causes for canine anxiety.

Separation Anxiety

A dog that is left alone for too long could suffer from separation anxiety. Dogs are social animals and are miserable alone. This is why they need to have a "pack". The pack may mean other dogs in the household or your family; so when you leave or the dog is separated from his mother and brothers, he will be unhappy. The separation anxiety may be controlled with proper training or therapy. Some busy owners often opt for canine day care or dog sitters to reduce the symptoms of separation anxiety.

Some breeds are more susceptible to separation anxiety.


A dog notices any changes in any aspect of his or your life. If you change your routine or your pet's routine, he may develop anxiety. Dogs fear the lack of stability and abandonment and the changes will only encourage his fears. Watch out for any of the following changes that may influence your dog's mood:

  • moving
  • moving or changing the dog crate
  • changing the feeding time or type of food
  • changing the time for walks and outings
  • a new person or pet in the house
  • a family member has passed away, went on vacation or to college
  • changing of owners
  • disappearance of other pets or separation from mother and brothers


Dogs may suffer from anxiety as a consequence of a trauma. This may be a past accident or violent incident with other dogs or humans.

If a dog is mistreated by the owner, he is very likely to suffer from anxiety.

Also, if a dog is abandoned, this will cause trauma and he will suffer from anxiety.

Lack of Socialization

Dogs that haven't been properly socialized and trained to be with other dogs will suffer from social anxiety. They don't know how to react and behave when seeing other dogs and may develop fear and aggression.

Dogs that have been taken away from their mother and brothers before the age of 8 weeks lack the necessary social skills and are likely to develop social anxiety.


Sudden and powerful noises can cause stress in your dog. Thunders or firecrackers, loud music or even a noisy sneezing may scare your pet.

Parasites and Diseases

A dog that has a disease may suffer from anxiety. The disease as well as the treatment may cause great stress. Parasites can stress a dog.

Dog Anxiety Treatment

Dog anxiety needs to be dealt with, because it won't just go away. Dog anxiety medication is available and is recommended if the anxiety is severe. The dog might also need therapy. There are alternative treatment options, such as homeopathic remedies, pheromone diffusers or aromatherapy.

If you fail to deal with your dog's anxiety, he will develop destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing or crying.