Study: Dogs are surprisingly stressed and anxious

Research published today 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.

That said, the severity of these undesirable behaviors varied from breed to breed. Owners wanting to improve their dogs’ quality of life, therefore, should be aware of these differences and accommodate their pets accordingly, advise the authors of the new research, led by Hannes Lohi from the University of Helsinki. Breeders should also be aware of these breed-specific behavioral issues and adopt better breeding practices, they said.

The new research involved 13,715 dogs from 264 breeds, including 200 mix-breed dogs. The most reported anxiety-related issue had to do with noise sensitivity, but other problems included things like aggression and separation anxiety. The new findings show that Labrador retrievers, for example, are significantly less aggressive toward strangers than miniature schnauzers, who ranked at the top of this category. Noise sensitivity and fearfulness also varied according to breed.