There are very few things in the world that can light up your life, like the radiant smile of a golden retriever. While there are different types of golden retrievers, each breed is known for its infectious energy and lustrous coat. Their happy faces can melt the most rigid hearts.
So, it’s only natural that you get worried when you find your pooch sulking in the corner of your home. Or you otherwise affable golden might suddenly start exhibiting destructive and unruly behavior.
Before you decide to punish your dog or search for answers on Google, it’s essential to understand that golden retrievers are vulnerable to anxiety disorders. Their loyal and sensitive nature increases their predisposition to anxiety.
Various triggers, such as loud noises, uncomfortable situations, or the death of a family member, could trigger anxiety in different types of golden retrievers. As a dog parent, it’s up to you to monitor their behavior and body language for signs of anxiety and seek help from an experienced veterinarian.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at various causes, symptoms, and treatment options for anxiety in golden retrievers. Let’s dive right in.
Anxiety in Golden Retrievers: Understanding the Why
First things first – it’s normal for golden to become fearful or nervous when facing adverse situations. Anxiety is a natural physiological and emotional response that shields your canine companion from danger. But if your dog’s anxiety disrupts their routine life, it’s a cause for concern.
Typically, golden retrievers develop the following types of anxiety disorders:
- Chronic anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder
- Situational anxiety
What Causes Chronic Anxiety in Golden Retrievers?
In chronic anxiety, your dog exhibits anxious behavior without any obvious trigger. While its precise cause isn’t known, researchers believe certain dogs are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Also, as your golden gets older, they experience a gradual decline in cognition, hearing, and vision. That, in turn, makes them more prone to chronic anxiety. Lack of socialization at a young age could also lead to chronic anxiety in golden retrievers.
What Causes Situational Anxiety in Golden Retrievers?
Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, situational anxiety in golden retrievers involves specific triggers. The most common forms of situational anxiety include:
- Separation anxiety (caused by separation from human family members)
- Noise phobia (caused by loud noises, such as thunderstorms and fireworks)
Other situational anxiety triggers include traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one or getting attacked by another dog. Also, your pooch could develop anxiety if you bring home another puppy or relocate to a different house.
Similarly, unpleasant experiences at a vet’s clinic could make golden retrievers anxious during future visits. Any disruptions to your dog’s routine could also lead them to develop anxiety.
How to Spot Anxiety in Golden Retrievers?
Irrespective of the type of anxiety disorder, most golden retrievers exhibit the following symptoms:
- Excessive barking, whining or howling
- Panting and drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Urination or defecation around the house
Additionally, some dogs attempt to escape from their crates or homes to avoid anxiety triggers. Also, they might hide under your furniture or behind your legs.
Treating Anxiety in Golden Retrievers
It’s essential to understand that many symptoms of canine anxiety overlap with those of other medical conditions. It’s a good idea to avoid diagnosing and treating your dog at home.
Instead, you should take them to a licensed vet for a thorough examination to determine the root cause of their anxiety. Your vet will also help develop a proper treatment plan to alleviate your dog’s anxiety.
The most common treatment options for canine anxiety include medications, such as fluoxetine and alprazolam, that help relax your dog’s nervous system. Make sure you consult your vet for the proper dosage before administering any drugs to your pooch.
Additionally, you could work with a canine behavioral therapist to modify your golden’s response to anxiety triggers. These professionals use various techniques, such as desensitization, positive reinforcement, and counter-conditioning to help manage canine anxiety.
Also, it’s crucial to ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise throughout the day. It’ll help channel their pent-up energy and enhance their overall mood.
Lastly, make sure you provide your golden with a healthy and balanced diet. Talk to your vet or a reliable canine nutritionist to identify foods that’ll help your pooch relax. Also, you could try alternative treatment options, such as music therapy and aromatherapy, to help them calm down.
As a dog parent, it’s your responsibility to understand the difference between general discomfort and full-fledged anxiety in golden retrievers. Keep an eye on their body language, appetite, behavior, and overall health to identify early signs of anxiety. Work with a vet and behavioral therapist to help your furry friend cope with everyday anxiety triggers.