The first thing that should be understood is what is anxiety? Anxiety is the body's reaction to stress. It is the physical responses to situations that are or were stressful. So what is stress? Stress is the emotional response to situations that are new and or challangeing. In people stress is things like starting a new job or school, in pets it can be things like loud noises and new environments.
What causes stress
Stress can be caused by numerous different things especially in animals. Animals especially dogs can be sensitive to the environment surrounding them, often if we are stressed, our animals can pick up on it. They then “feed” off our stress. Other things that can cause stress in pets, especially dogs, is boredom, things that scare them like loud noises, new environments, strange or large objects, and large groups of people. Separation can also be a stressful and scary thing for pets.
Just like in people when these stressors are continuous, they often develop into anxieties. There are other extenuating circumstances of stress that often lead to anxious pets like traumas they may have faced as a puppy or with previous owners.
What is Anxiety
Anxiety is different from stress. Anxiety is the bodily response to stress. Anxiety is the body's way of telling the person or dog that this thing that is happening is beyond the normal levels of stress. Anxiety comparable to a fear response. When we as people are scared we often will start to shake, this is a bodily response to a stressor. Pets like dogs and cats are the same. They will have a bodily response to stressors in their environment and this is anxiety in pets. So the stress triggers that were mentioned earlier are things that also may cause anxiety in your pet.
Importance of the nervous system
The nervous system is how the brain and the body are able to communicate. The nervous system is how the brain tells the body that the stimuli is one of fear and they should be stressed. This is not always an accurate assessment. The nervous system is the reason that when anxious the body will shake ect.
Signs of stress and anxiety in pets.
There are many signs of stress and anxiety in pets. Some of these are more obvious than others. Signs can be excessive liking and biting of the paws, shaking, crying, whining excessively, pacing, excessive panting, excessive shedding eye ear and body language changes. It also can be behavioural changes like previously unseen aggression.