Dog Nervous Disorders

The dog nervous system is very complex, and canines can develop nervous disorders just like humans. The most common nervous disorder in dogs is chronic anxiety, which is due to the fact that the dog constantly identifies a threat in his environment.

Dog Nervous Disorders

A nervous disorder or chronic anxiety is the result of the production of certain chemicals in the dog's body, which trigger the reactions. The brain reacts to different stimuli which the dog identifies as threats, and he will experience anxiety. If the dog is constantly exposed to the stimuli he considers threats, the release of the chemicals that trigger anxiety will cause the immune system to grow weaker, resulting in additional health issues. The nervous disorders in canines can be classified as:

  • Phobias, which are a reaction to an external stimulus such as a loud noise, an alarm or fireworks
  • Unspecified nervous disorders, which don't have obvious causes

Symptoms of a Nervous Disorder

A dog affected by a nervous disorder will display a number of signs such as:

  • Loud barking
  • Whining
  • Aggressiveness
  • Eliminating in the home and more frequent urination
  • Licking or chewing of the skin, causing skin infections or hair loss
  • Heavy panting
  • Hiding behavior, especially when the factor causing the nervous disorder is present
  • Lack of appetite

Diagnosing Dog Nervous Disorders

A nervous disorder is difficult to diagnose, but the vet will consider several factors such as the dog's behavior. A few tests can be performed to rule out other possible causes that could lead to similar symptoms. Anxiety may be signaled by a low white blood count, so the vet will make sure to run a few blood tests also. The vet will ask you several questions regarding the dog's lifestyle and possible causes of anxiety.

Treating Dog Nervous Disorders

In treating the nervous disorder in a dog, the most important thing is to find the trigger that leads to chronic anxiety. This trigger should be eliminated or the dog should not be exposed to it. Certain triggers such as thunderstorms cannot be avoided, but the dog can be trained to be less sensitive to these noises.

The dog will need extra attention, so that he will be more likely to get better and respond to therapy. Chronic anxiety is difficult to treat and will take a lot of time and patience. Meanwhile, the dog should get immune system support, as a strong immune system can help him recover faster. The vet will prescribe a number of vitamins. Therapy can also be applied to reduce the dog's reactions to certain factors that may cause anxiety.

Medication is only prescribed when the dog doesn't respond to less aggressive treatments. The medications can bring immediate improvement, but may have several side effects such as behavior changes, lethargy or even kidney damage.