Shih Tzu Anxiety: Symptoms, Triggers & 14 Treatments?
Living with a Shih Tzu can often be an advantageous and enriching experience. However, like any beloved pet, they sometimes face anxiety in their day-to-day lives. As loving pet owners, it’s essential to support and guide your furry family member if they are anxious.
In this article, you’ll learn essential tips and strategies to identify and handle situations that may be causing your Shih Tzu anxiety – so you can help them feel safe and secure.
What are Shih Tzu Anxiety Symptoms?
There are a number of different Shih Tzu anxiety symptoms that owners should be aware of in order to identify the condition early on:
1. Excessive Barking
Shih Tzus are prone to anxiety and stress, and one of the most common symptoms of this condition is excessive barking. There are several things you can do to help ease your Shih Tzu’s anxiety, including providing them with a ‘safe space’ where they can go to feel calm and secure, making sure they get plenty of exercises, and training them to associate positive experiences with situations that make them anxious.
Anxiety in Shih Tzus can manifest itself in many ways, including pacing. If your Shih Tzu is pacing back and forth, it may be a sign that they are feeling restless or uneasy. So if you notice your dog exhibiting this behavior, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any other potential medical causes.
Though it might seem like your Shih Tzu is panting for no reason, there could be an underlying cause for their anxiety. Shih Tzus are known to be anxious dogs, and their Panting can signify their feeling stressed.
If your Shih Tzu is trembling, it may be a sign that they are feeling scared or nervous. Several things can cause anxiety in Shih Tzus, including loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, and changes in their routine. If you think your Shih Tzu is experiencing anxiety, with the proper care and support, your Shih Tzu can live a happy and stress-free life.
Dogs communicate emotions through various cues, including body language, vocalizations, and facial expressions. Whimpering is one of the most commonly used dog vocalizations, and it can indicate a variety of emotions, from excitement to fear. If your Shih Tzu is whimpering, it may be a sign that they are feeling anxious or scared. Shih Tzus are breeds particularly prone to anxiety, so it’s essential to notice if your dog is displaying this behavior.
If your Shih Tzu is hiding, it’s important to take note of their behavior and what may have caused it. It may be a sign that they are feeling anxious or stressed. If you think your Shih Tzu is hiding due to anxiety, create a calm environment and give them plenty of love and attention.
7. Licking lips
When a Shih Tzu licks their lips, they are trying to relieve its anxiety by producing saliva. This action helps moisten the dog’s mouth and lips, which can dry from panting. In addition, licking helps to release endorphins, which can give the dog a sense of calm.
Yawning is a way for dogs to release tension and calm themselves down. If your Shih Tzu is yawning more than usual, it may be a sign that they are feeling stressed or tired. Try to provide them with a calm environment and plenty of opportunities to rest and relax. If the yawning persists, it may be necessary to consult with a veterinarian.
If your Shih Tzu is excessively chewing on objects, it may be a sign that they are feeling anxious. Chewing can help to relieve stress and provide a sense of comfort for dogs. However, it can also lead to the destruction of property and potential choking hazards.
One of the things that makes Shih Tzus so popular is that they don’t shed much. However, if your Shih Tzu is shedding more than usual, it may be a sign that they are feeling stressed or anxious. Several factors, including changes in diet or environment, can cause shedding.
11. Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is one of the most common signs of anxiety in Shih Tzus. If your dog is not eating as much as usual, you should take them to the vet to rule out any physical causes. If the vet does not find any physical causes, your Shih Tzu is likely experiencing anxiety.
What Triggers Anxiety in Shih Tzus?
There are a number of things that can trigger anxiety in Shih Tzus:
1. Genetic Predisposition
A genetic predisposition is one of the most common triggers for anxiety in Shih Tzus. It means some dogs are more prone to anxiety than others due to their genes and cannot help it. If you suspect your dog’s anxiety may be due to a genetic predisposition, there is, unfortunately, not much you can do about it other than manage the symptoms as best as you can.
2. Lack of Socialization
Another trigger for anxiety in Shih Tzus is a lack of socialization. If a dog isn’t exposed to different people, places, and situations during its puppyhood, it may be more likely to experience anxiety as an adult. It’s important to socialize with your Shih Tzu from an early age so that they’re comfortable with a variety of people and situations.
3. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is another common trigger for anxiety in Shih Tzus. It occurs when a dog becomes anxious when separated from its owner. Dogs with separation anxiety may bark excessively, destroy furniture, or have accidents inside the house.
4. Fear of loud noises
Many dogs fear loud noises like thunderstorms, fireworks, and gunshots. This fear can trigger anxiety in Shih Tzus and may cause them to tremble, pant, or hide.
5. Fear of unfamiliar environments
Some dogs also fear unfamiliar environments like car rides, vet offices, or groomers. This fear can also trigger anxiety in Shih Tzus and may cause them to tremble, pant, or hide.
6. Fear of other animals
Another trigger for anxiety in Shih Tzus is fear of other animals. Some dogs are afraid of cats, rabbits, birds, or even other dogs. This fear can cause them to tremble, pant, or hide around these animals.
7. Fear of changes in routine
Another common trigger for anxiety in Shih Tzus is fear of changes in routine. It can be caused by various factors, including changes in the family’s daily routine, the dog’s daily routine, or the home environment.
8. Fear of abandonment
One of the most common triggers for anxiety in Shih Tzus is fear of abandonment. It can be caused by various factors, including being left alone for long periods, being separated from their owner, or being placed in a new environment.
What are Treatments for Shih Tzu anxiety?
1. Understand the Root Cause of the Anxiety
The first step in addressing your Shih Tzu anxiety is understanding what is causing it. There are many potential causes of stress in dogs, including separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, and fear of unfamiliar people or environments. Once you have determined the root cause of your dog’s anxiety, you can begin to work on addressing it.
2. Create a Safe Space for Your Dog
If your Shih Tzu is anxious, creating a safe space for them to relax is essential. It may be a room in your home where they feel comfortable and can retreat when they are anxious. Make sure that the room is quiet and free from any potential sources of stress or anxiety, such as loud noises or unfamiliar people or animals.
3. Provide Comfort Items for Your Dog
Another way to help your Shih Tzu cope with anxiety is to provide comfort items to help them feel safe and secure. It may include a favorite toy or blanket or even a piece of clothing that smells like you. These items give your dog a sense of security and may help calm its nerves.
4. Avoid Punishing Your Dog for Being Anxious
It is important to avoid punishing your Shih Tzu for being anxious, as this will only worsen the problem. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and rewards when your dog is calm and relaxed. It will help them to associate good things with being calm and may help to reduce their overall anxiety levels.
5. Exercise Your Dog Regularly
Exercise is an integral part of keeping your Shih Tzu physically and mentally healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety levels and provide your dog with much-needed mental stimulation. A tired dog is often happy, so give your Shih Tzu plenty of opportunities to run and play.
6. Talk to Your Vet About Anti-Anxiety Medications
In some cases, anti-anxiety medications may be necessary to help your Shih Tzu cope with their anxiety. These medications can be prescribed by your veterinarian and may be used on an as-needed basis or a regular basis, depending on the severity of your dog’s anxiety.
7. Behavior Modification and Training for Shih Tzu Anxiety
Behavior modification and training are among the most effective treatments for anxiety in Shih Tzus. This treatment involves teaching your dog how to cope with situations that trigger their anxiety. For example, if your dog has separation anxiety, you can begin by leaving them alone for short periods and gradually increasing the time they are left alone. If your dog fears loud noises, you can desensitize them to loud sounds by playing recordings of loud noises at a low volume and gradually increasing the volume over time.
8. Natural Remedies for Shih Tzu Anxiety
In addition to traditional medical treatments, a number of natural remedies can be used to treat anxiety in Shih Tzus. One popular natural remedy is CBD oil derived from the cannabis plant. CBD oil is effective in reducing stress in humans and animals, and it is also non-addictive and has no psychoactive effects.
What your Shih Tzu eats can also affect their anxiety levels. Be sure to feed them a high-quality diet rich in nutrients and free from fillers and artificial ingredients. You may also want to consider adding supplements to their diet, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit dogs with anxiety.
Massage can also help treat Shih Tzu anxiety. Massaging your dog’s back, neck, and legs can help to relax its muscles and reduce stress levels. If you are uncomfortable giving your dog a massage, you can always take them to a professionally trained canine massage therapist.
Aromatherapy is another option that you may want to consider for treating Shih Tzu anxiety. It involves using essential oils to promote relaxation and calmness. Several essential oils can be used for this purpose, so consult a professional before using any on your dog.
12. Music Therapy
Music therapy is another option that you may want to consider for treating Shih Tzu anxiety. Calming music for your dog can help reduce their stress levels and promote relaxation. Several types of music can be used for this purpose, so be sure to experiment until you find one that works well for your dog.
Pheromones are chemicals released by animals and humans that can affect the behavior of other animals. There are commercial pheromone products available that can help to reduce anxiety in dogs, such as collars and sprays.
14. Herbal Remedies
Several herbal remedies can help to reduce anxiety in Shih Tzus. Chamomile, lavender, and valerian root are all commonly used herbs with calming properties. You can give your dog these herbs in pill form or add them to their food or water bowl.
If your Shih Tzu is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, seeking professional help is vital. If left untreated, anxiety can be debilitating for both you and your dog. While there are many possible triggers for anxiety in Shih Tzus, identifying the root cause of your dog’s concern is the first step in finding an effective treatment plan. If you have any questions or want to share your story, please comment below. Thank you for reading!