Black Chihuahua puppy against yellow background

Why Chihuahua Puppies Experience Stress and Anxiety?

Why Chihuahua Puppies Experience Stress and Anxiety?

Do you have a Chihuahua puppy whose tail is always tucked between its legs or who refuses to settle? Or maybe he avoids eye contact when you attempt to look at him and often goes to another room or into a hiding place? If this is the case, your dog likely has an anxiety issue.

Many factors might cause dogs to feel stressed or anxious. Sometimes the cause of a dog's response is evident, but other times it is not. In such a situation, you may usually figure out what is causing their aberrant behavior by trial and error or by paying close attention when their body language indicates they are worried.

Dog anxiety may affect all breeds. However, it can vary from dog to dog. Although all dogs feel stress from time to time, a dog might develop an anxiety disorder if excessive amounts of anxiety are not addressed. Dog anxiety, if left untreated, may evolve into behavioral or medical problems.

About Chihuahua Puppies

 

Chihuahuas are little canines that are amusing, interesting, expressive, and devoted. They crawl under blankets, dance on their hind legs, wave their paws in the air, and lick anything they come across. Chihuahuas, except for that generality, are quite varied. Some dogs are enthusiastic, while others are calm. Whether brave or timid, the hereditary disposition of a Chihuahua's parents and grandparents greatly influences their development. To put it another way, whole lineages of Chihuahuas are either social or antisocial. 

However, socializing and training are still crucial! As long as your Chihuahua receives appropriate temperament traits, how you raise him will influence how he turns out. Chihuahuas sometimes do not have a very positive public perception, and people may fear them or their enthusiasm. These small dogs make great companions. They will bond strongly with their pet parents and can be easily trained if you start early. This is one reason why Chihuahua puppies might go through separation anxiety, they are extremely attached to their owner, and their absence might negatively impact them. This breed is quick-witted but can be prickly in front of new people as they usually want their owner's attention all for themselves. 

While Chihuahuas are devoted to their owners, they might get aggressive at times, particularly when they are anxious. If you return home to destruction in the form of destroyed furniture, know that this destructive behavior may be a result of any form of anxiety in your Chihuahua.

photo of cute chihuahua puppies

Reasons for Chihuahua Puppy Anxiety

 

Dogs might feel anxious for a variety of reasons. Separation anxiety, former rescue (or shelter) dog anxiety, and illness-induced anxiety are three forms of anxiety. Moreover, a dog may also experience general anxiousness. Some of the most common reasons for dog anxiety include fear of being alone at home, abandonment, loud noises, being around strange people, children, or other pets, and traveling. Here are some common forms of anxiety in Chihuahuas.

 Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a prevalent behavioral issue in Chihuahuas. You get home after a busy day at work to find that your darling Chihuahua has trashed the house. Perhaps pillow or bed stuffing is on the floor, rubbish retrieved from the trashcan or even a clump of dung in the center of your living room. They don't act like this while you or other family members are around, so why do they do this when they're alone?

When left alone, Chihuahuas suffering from separation anxiety may act out. Whether you're going to work for the day or simply going out to run a short errand, leaving them alone may cause unwanted behavior. Your Chihuahua may be the ideal angel while sitting in your lap. Still, the moment you leave their side, all etiquette and training are lost.

Separation anxiety in Chihuahuas is caused by various factors, including changes in their household. A change in the family is one of the most potent elements that might lead to a Chihuahua's separation anxiety.  Chihuahuas, like all dogs, are friendly creatures that are very devoted to their owners. Taking them out of their surroundings and placing them in a home with a new family is sure to cause emotional anguish, including separation anxiety. This usually goes away as the Chihuahua calms down and gets to know its new family. Additionally, if they were physically or psychologically mistreated in their prior home, they are more likely to develop behavioral problems.

nervous chihuahua dog

Symptoms of separation anxiety may include constant jumping, whining, and wanting to be picked up or held. Your Chihuahua puppy, when left alone, defecates or urinates within the home and frequently barks or howls when you are away. He might also follow you around the house. It is crucial to remember that punishing or penalizing your Chihuahua for this behavior will only aggravate the situation. This conduct is caused by a psychological factor over which they have no control. Yelling, scolding, or putting your Chihuahua in 'time out' will just make them more anxious. Confining your Chihuahua to a kennel is also ineffective. They'll scratch, howl, and perhaps litter their cage if you leave them alone. This may help keep your home tidy while you're gone, but it doesn't alleviate their fear, which is the primary problem.

Take your dog for a walk before you go, give them a plush treat toy to keep them occupied, and don't make a big fuss about coming and departing. You may also want to try one of these products to soothe a dog with anxiety, like calming zen chews  or a calming cuddle bed. 

Shelter Anxiety

Pets that have spent time in a shelter typically have memories of being neglected and left there. They may have also been through a traumatic experience before or during their stay at the shelter. These dogs may just be uneasy when dealing with an unexpected routine or surroundings. Because they are afraid of being abandoned again, their normal anxiety might transform into separation anxiety.

The best method to make these dogs feel comfortable at home is to create a constant, predictable routine and surroundings. A dog trainer may also help determine their trigger and recommend methods to calm their anxiety.

chihuahua dogs behind a fence

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is a distressing illness that affects both dogs and their owners. Some canines get uneasy or fearful in circumstances involving other dogs or humans. For example, it might happen when you take your dog to the dog park, a busy event, or the clinic. Anxiety manifests itself as shyness or trembling; aggressiveness may sometimes arise. Although this issue is simpler to handle in puppies, there are measures you may employ to assist an older dog deal with social pressures.

Dogs with social anxiety may fear humans or other animals. They have an elevated stress reaction to sights and noises, especially in new surroundings. The nervousness in a social environment might vary depending on the dog. However, it may drive a dog to act in ways that would not be expected in a familiar situation.

Pets suffering from social anxiety may be peaceful and happy with their family members but become worried around strangers or unknown dogs. They may also be more prone to panic and anxiety when leaving home. This disorder's symptoms vary from slightly bothersome to severe and even hazardous. Dogs suffering from social anxiety often attempt to hide behind their owners and may quiver or whimper in fear. These unfortunate puppies may grow so frightened that they urinate or defecate, pant excessively, or drool. While some dogs react to anxiety by becoming very cautious, others may feel imprisoned and cornered, which typically leads to aggressiveness and may be hazardous to humans or other dogs.

All canines need proper socializing. Failure to socialize a dog at a young age may lead to severe anxiety, fear, and hostility. Some dogs are more prone to social anxiety than others, but it may affect practically any dog under specific conditions. For example, Chihuahua puppies that are not exposed to new people, pets, locations, and experiences may get overwhelmed when removed from their accustomed settings or compelled to interact. Socialization at a young age may assist dogs in learning to adjust to various conditions later in life.

It is recommended to begin by introducing your dog to one person, preferably in your own house or backyard. Allow your dog to make contact and provide a safe haven where it may go if it becomes overwhelmed. Reward calm behavior and attempts to "meet" the new individual rather than forcing communication (approaching, sniffing). Additionally, you can use calming inserts to help your dog relax and stay stress-free while in social gatherings. 

owner feeding chihuahua dog a calming treat

Illness Anxiety

Illness or sickness may create anxiety and fearful emotions in dogs. This sort of anxiousness generally strikes a dog that is not normally anxious. If you think your Chihuahua puppy is ill and is anxious due to his illness, you can engage them in different activities that are not so strenuous and offer them food that may heal them quickly. 

Common causes of this type of anxiety include hypothyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, encephalitis, pre-diabetes, and hearing or vision loss.

Hypothyroidism

The explanation might be an underactive thyroid gland when fear reactions and anxiety symptoms are combined with weight gain, hair loss, or fatigue.

Thyrotoxicosis

Panting, anxiety, hyperactivity, a quick pulse, increased drinking and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss despite an increased appetite are all symptoms of thyrotoxicosis. 

Encephalitis

Encephalitis can be infectious or non-infectious, depending on the cause. Infection by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, rickettsia, or parasites may cause meningitis, encephalitis, and meningoencephalitis. It can also be caused by non-infectious diseases such as immune-mediated disease. This inflammation of the brain can lead to depression, fever, irregular respiration, etc.

Pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes may be present when new generalized anxiety is accompanied by weight increase, excessive thirst, or the formation of cataracts.

Hearing or Vision Loss

Hearing loss in dogs is caused by damage and death of the inner ear hair cells. These cells detect sound vibrations and create a nerve impulse, which is then sent to the brain for interpretation. Loud sounds may occasionally be blamed for cell death in humans. In dogs, it is attributed to heredity or considered a result of aging. The deterioration is gradual, occurring over many years.

If your dog develops a sudden or drastic behavioral change, take them to the doctor so that any underlying medical concerns may be ruled out. For example, they may experience anxiety for one of the other reasons stated in this article if they are otherwise healthy.

Generalized Anxiety

Unfortunately, determining the source of anxiety is not always possible. For example, it is possible that the triggering incident occurred in the past and was ignored or that it occurred before your pet became a part of your family. It's also conceivable that your dog is just anxious and reacts negatively to changes in its habit or surroundings.

Generalized anxiety is quite prevalent and often goes undiagnosed. Sometimes this is because the symptoms are modest and do not seem odd. General anxiousness is often dismissed as a breed trait when it is not always a "natural behavior."

Ways To Calm Your Anxious Chihuahua

Like other unhealthy behaviors such as biting, barking, and chewing on objects, anxiety may be treated. Anxiety can also be controlled in particular situations and may even be eliminated.

Here are some tried-and-true strategies to calm your stressed and anxious Chihuahua puppy.

Exercise

If your dog suffers from canine separation anxiety, the apparent solution is to never leave them alone. Unfortunately, that is not possible for most dog owners, so utilizing exercise as both a bonding experience and a way to tire out your furry friend is often a simple solution. Because excess energy may generate anxiety, taking your dog for a long walk or a game of fetch before you leave might be beneficial. It is also good to make plenty of physical contact with them and communicate with them during this period. If you're taking your dog outdoors for exercise, you can use the calming dog carrier and travel with style. 

chihuahua playing with a rope toy

Counterconditioning

Counterconditioning teaches your dog to respond differently to anxiety or fear stimuli. Positive behavior reinforcement may be used to replace anxious or violent behavior with more desired conduct. Teach your dog to sit or stay, for example, and reward them with a treat when they do so. When your dog becomes scared or worried, you may divert their attention to you by asking them to execute one of the learned instructions.

You may wish to hire a dog trainer for both types of training. However, training a nervous dog takes time and isn't always simple. 

Environmental Changes

In addition to the approaches listed above, it is recommended to think about how you may improve your dog's surroundings to help them feel more at ease. For example, almost all pets will benefit from having a designated "safe area" where they may go when they are stressed. This might be a kennel or crate with a comfortable bed, or in the event of fireworks phobia, it is recommended to arrange a space for them (with a soft bed and favorite toy). This keeps your pet as far away from the fireworks' noise and vibrations as possible. You might also try playing peaceful, classical music in the background, scientifically proven to relax dogs.

Essential Oils

You can also use essential oils for your Chihuahua's anxiety. Lavender oil is one of the most well-known natural pet stress relievers. According to a 2006 research published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), it may be useful for dogs with a history of travel anxiety before a prolonged car journey.

To avoid extra psychological stress, owners should work gently to cure their Chihuahua's separation anxiety. Begin by leaving home for just 10 minutes daily, gradually increasing the period. For example, after a week of being away from your Chihuahua for 10 minutes per day, you could increase it to 20-30 minutes per day. Slowing down enables your Chihuahua to adjust to these new circumstances, reducing separation anxiety.

 

chihuahua sitting with essential oils around it

Final Thoughts

Anxiety and stress are typical reactions to specific stimuli, but they may be devastating for some dogs. Make sure you understand anxiety symptoms and attempt to identify your dog's triggers; this will allow you to cooperate with the doctor (and, if required, a trainer) to keep your dog calm and happy.

In addition to training and the use of specific items, you must shower your dog with love and attention. Another crucial component is exercise; frequent walks and playtime will help keep your dog calm and happy. If your dog has separation anxiety, make sure they are never left alone for lengthy periods, especially during training. Furthermore, you can consider hiring a dog walker, inviting a friend or family member to visit your dog, or enrolling them in a doggy daycare where they will get lots of attention.