The Dog Breeds Most Prone to Anxiety – and How You Can Help

by | Sep 11 2021

As pet owners, we love our dogs more than we can express. They are a firm part of the family unit and we will do everything in our power to make sure they are safe, content and happy in the home. So when our prized pooches start to show signs of anxiety or stress, we are desperate to find both the reason and solution.

The vast majority of dogs will display anxious behaviour in relation to specific situations or following certain events. A recent scientific study spearheaded in Finland found that 72.5 percent of dogs involved displayed at least one anxiety-led behaviour. However, while anxiety in its many forms is commonplace with dogs, there are certain breeds that are prone to anxiety as a result of their genetic makeup.

Which dog breeds are most prone to anxiety?

Every dog is individual in terms of their personality and experiences, so the list is vast and varied. That said, there have been certain breeds regularly identified as being susceptible to anxious behaviour, such as:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bichon Frise
  • Border Collie
  • Chihuahua
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Havanese
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Toy Poodle
  • Vizsla

While genetics have much to do with the anxious tendencies of these breeds, there are also other factors that should be considered if any dog is showing signs of anxiety.

Rescue dogs, for example, often have a hard time dealing with any number of stress-inducing situations. From loud noises and busy social situations to their owners leaving the room for five minutes, there are many triggers that can send your usually calm and happy dog into the realm of panic. This may have a lot to do with the reasons they were sheltered in the first place. Perhaps they were abandoned by their previous owners or possibly exposed to an abusive home.

Whatever the reason, trauma plays a huge part in stirring up anxious behaviours in our canine companions, and it needs to be addressed delicately and with patience to ensure a successful outcome. The best place to start? Identify the tell-tale signs.


What are the signs of anxiety in dogs?

Your dog can’t tell you they feel stressed out, so it is your job to pick up on their cues by noticing strange, out-of-character behaviour. This can include:

  • Excessive barking or whining
  • Destructive behaviour, such as pawing at or gnawing on furniture, clothing or other household items
  • Panting, drooling and shivering
  • Cowering
  • Excessive shedding
  • Digging
  • Trying to escape
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Defecating or urinating in the house

What are the causes of dog anxiety?

Dogs, much like humans, can feel anxious for any number of reasons. It could be a lack of familiar surroundings, noisy environments or even something as simple as a brief routine change. However, there are certain situations in particular that can tend to give rise to anxiety and stressful behaviour in dogs.

Commonplace anxiety triggers include environmental changes such as loud noises caused by fireworks or inclement weather that leads to thunderstorms. Environmental anxiety can also be caused by spending time at an unfamiliar location, perhaps during a holiday, where a dog’s usual routine may be thrown by the wayside.

Exposure to busy social scenarios, such as those found at a party or gathering, can also greatly upset and frighten dogs, who may be disturbed by the volume of unfamiliar people and voices present.


Dogs and Fireworks: Anxiety Medication

Vet IQ Serene-UM
Recommended by vets, Vet IQ Serene-UM is a natural supplement that helps your dog or cat with anxiety, reducing stress without sedating your pet. Available in calming dropscalming tablets, or Xtra calming tablets.


Travel anxiety can pose a big threat for certain dogs, with many associating a trip in the car with a visit to the vet or a potential separation from their owner, which leads to what is arguably the biggest culprit: separation anxiety. Whether it’s a pet parent heading out for a night on the tiles or popping in for a five-minute shower, dogs can get extremely anxious at the mere sight of their owner walking through the door and closing it behind them.

This particular issue is about to get a lot worse now that societies around the globe are beginning to emerge from lockdowns and return to work after almost two years. Pets have become used to having their owners around for regular play, walks and face-to-face interaction, so a sudden exodus of familiar faces from the home for hours on end each day is likely to cause big problems for both dogs and their parents.

Furthermore, with research suggesting that one in eight Irish people welcomed a new pet into their homes during the pandemic, life post-lockdown, both in terms of a new routine and spending time alone, could be really difficult for them to adjust to and it would seem that separation anxiety is set to soar among the dog population in the months to come.

The Dog Breeds Most Prone to Anxiety 2 - Mark + Chappell

How can I help my dog with anxiety?

Paying attention to your dog and taking time to note the signs and frequency of anxious behaviour is the first step towards helping your pet to overcome their feelings of stress and anxiety.

You can also help by setting aside plenty of time to bond with your dog. Playtime in the garden is a great way to expend energy and have fun with your pet, as is going for a long walk along one of their favourite regular routes. This will not only allow them to feel closer to you, but it will also naturally relieve stress through release of endorphins – not to mention tiring them out!

While spending time with your pet is hugely beneficial, it may also be advisable in some situations to place them alone in a safe, familiar environment where they can take the time to calm down and ‘reboot’. Placing their favourite chew toy or treats in the area with them can act as a calming distraction.

Using natural dietary supplements, such as Serene-UM Calming Tablets, particularly during short-lived periods of anxiety caused by fireworks, car journeys or even walks, can also help to control your pet’s stress levels for long enough that you can resolve the situation through calm reassurance and training.

If training methods and a lot of TLC don’t alleviate your dog’s anxious behaviour, it is advisable to contact a vet to voice your concerns and possibly seek further treatment in order to get your pooch back to their playful best.



Dogs and Fireworks: Anxiety Medication

Vet IQ Serene-UM
Recommended by vets, Vet IQ Serene-UM is a natural supplement that helps your dog or cat with anxiety, reducing stress without sedating your pet. Available in calming dropscalming tablets, or Xtra calming tablets.




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