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Signs and Symptoms of Fear in Dogs

Know When Your Dog is Afraid


fearful dog hiding
Photo © Few_get on flickr

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a fearful dog can help you address his fears and phobias before they escalate. Keep the following signs of fear in mind so you can easily catch on to even the slightest hint that your dog is anxious and stressed about something in his environment.

Body Language

Dogs communicate using their bodies. Body language such as bared teeth or a wagging tail are some of the more obvious ways dogs communicate through body language. However, some of a dog's body language is more subtle. The following is a list of signs to look out for to determine when your dog is feeling fear:

  • Flattened ears
  • Tail tucked between the hind legs
  • Cowering
  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Raised hair on the back of the neck

Behaviors of a Fearful Dog

In addition to showing fear through body language, some dogs exhibit specific behaviors when they are afraid. The following behaviors are symptoms that a dog is feeling fearful and anxious:

Physical Symptoms

When a dog is fearful, he may also exhibit some physical signs that he is unable to control. The following are some of the physiological symptoms a fearful dog may exhibit:

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Dilated pupils or seeing the whites of a dog's eyes
  • Loss of control over bowels or bladder
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