February 7, 2014
When I had my first Bulldog I also had a Chocolate Lab. Once there was a tremendous lightening storm directly above my house with loud thunder and torrential rain. Suddenly lightening struck my neighbors tree, went through my house and back out through my other neighbor’s tree. My hair stood on end. My Bulldog reacted by running to the front door to investigate; the lab ran and hid under the kitchen counter. Two different reactions to the same event. If your dog suffers from anxiety or phobias you’ll find this article very informative:
If your dog briefly startles at loud sounds or hangs back when approached by a stranger, chances are he’s exhibiting a normal stress response that is entirely healthy. A short-term reaction to a stressful or unfamiliar event allows your dog to prepare to fight or take flight if necessary. In the wild, the fight-or-flight response keeps animals alive in the face of threats to their survival.
Unfortunately, in todays world, maladaptive stress responses – chronic, long-term anxiety and phobias — are a growing problem for companion dogs. These fear-based conditions often take the form of separation anxiety, storm and/or noise phobia, or aggression.
A chronic, prolonged fear response can cause both physical and emotional disease processes that can potentially shorten a dogs life and negatively impact quality of life. Chronic stress can depress your dogs immune system, putting him at higher risk for opportunistic infections. It can trigger the development of compulsive behaviors, and it can also alter blood flow to vital organs.
A dog can be assumed to be anxious and/or fearful when she exhibits certain behaviors. These include:Crying or whining Loss of appetiteDrooling PacingEars held back PantingHiding ShakingInappropriate elimination Tucking tailLip licking VigilanceLooking away from a threat Yawning In addition to these behaviors, if your dog has a storm phobia, during thunderstorms she may also tremble, try to stay close to you, engage in destructive behavior, or try to harm herself.