Anxious dog? Here are some things that may be stressing your furry friend

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Credit: 123rf

Nearly three out of four dogs exhibit some kind of serious behavioral problem related to anxiety, according to a survey involving nearly 14,000 pet dogs. Many of these problems varied according to breed, pointing to the need for improved owner awareness and better breeding practices.

Research published [March 5] in Scientific Reports shows that 72.5 percent of dogs display anxiety behaviors, such as sensitivity to noise and a fear of strangers. Dogs, this research suggests, are more stressed than we likely realize.

Finnish dog owners, through an online questionnaire, were asked to assess their pets according to seven anxiety-related traits.

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Breaking down the numbers, 32 percent of all dogs were fearful of a specific noise, with one in four dogs having serious issues with fireworks. Nearly 30 percent of dogs had some sort of fear, whether it be fear of other dogs (17 percent), fear of strangers (15 percent), or fear of new situations (11 percent). Aggression was documented in 14 percent of all dogs and separation anxiety in 5 percent.

Related article:  Chocolate labs plagued by consumer-driven 'genetic bottleneck'

[Researcher Milla] Salonen said it’s possible that providing dogs with more exercise and allowing them to participate in activities such as obedience and agility training might help to alleviate these undesirable behaviors.

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