How To Calm An Anxious Labrador

Have you ever noticed how your Labrador seems to be perfectly relaxed when there are other people around, but as soon as you try to leave the room it becomes distressed and starts to panic? It’s a prevalent behavior seen in many Labradors, who begin to whine and pace as soon as we put on our coats. So what are the possible reasons why is your Labrador anxious? Let’s find out!

Are Labradors Prone To Anxiety?

anxious labrador
Photo credits: Vic Montesinos

Labrador retrievers are known for their happy, playful demeanor, but what’s less known is that many Labs can suffer from anxiety.

Anxiety is an emotion that can be triggered by a variety of different things, including stress and boredom. Anxiety can cause a dog to be fearful or worried about certain situations and their general environment. This can result in destructive behavior like chewing on furniture or destroying items in your home.

If you think your Lab might suffer from anxiety, there are some things you can do to help them feel more comfortable in their environment. But before that, you have to determine the signs to ensure that your Lab is really anxious.

Signs That Your Labrador Is Anxious

If you own a Labrador, it can be a bundle of energy that’s always ready to play. But if your dog is constantly anxious, it could mean something is wrong. Labradors aren’t known for having anxiety issues. But, their breed can be susceptible to certain conditions that may lead to stress or anxiety. We’ll cover some ways your dog might show signs of being stressed or anxious so you’ll know when it’s time to take them in for an exam with the vet!

🟩 Panting

Panting is a common sign of anxiety in dogs. It’s also a sign of pain, fear, and excitement. If you notice your Labrador panting regularly and it’s not hot or humid outside, it could be an indicator that there’s something on their mind that they’re anxious about or even just an off-the-leash walk in the park.

🟩 Lip-licking

One of the most common signs that your Labrador may be anxious is lip-licking. This is because it can also be caused by stress, hunger, thirst, and pain.

If you see your Lab licking his lips frequently or excessively, and he doesn’t appear to be doing so in response to thirst or hunger. it’s best to take him to the vet for an exam. The vet will want to rule out any medical issues as the cause of this behavior and check for any potential problems with his teeth or gums.

🟩 Pacing

Pacing is one of the most common signs that your lab is anxious. It’s a natural behavior for them to feel stressed or worried, but it can also be symptomatic of separation anxiety. If your pup has never been left alone before, they may not know how to handle being left by themselves.

If you suspect that your dog might be experiencing separation anxiety, here are some things you can try:

  • Try leaving the room and coming back in 15 minutes. If they stop pacing when they see you, there’s a good chance this was just habit rather than stress or worry about being alone.
  • Let them smell their favorite toy before putting them down in another room (or stay with them until they lay down). This will help calm them down and make sure that place feels like a shelter for it instead of somewhere scary where things happen without its presence at all times!

🟩 Escaping

One of the most obvious signs that your Labrador is anxious is to have them escape. Escape attempts will vary depending on the severity of their anxiety, but they may include:

  • Bolting out of doors (or running away from you)
  • Digging under fences or jumping over them
  • Jumping through windows and/or screens (this can be dangerous)
  • Scratching at doors and windows, which can lead to injury if done persistently

🟩 Destructiveness

Destructiveness is a sign that your Labrador is anxious, and while it might seem like a good thing (after all, they’re destroying something you don’t want!), destruction of property can be detrimental to their health. If your dog has begun to chew or dig more than usual, especially if it’s an area that would be normally off-limits in the house (like the carpet), it could mean that they’re dealing with some anxiety issues.

You may also see this behavior if your pup has been struggling with separation anxiety. Being left alone in the same room as their owner is stressful for them, so they might try to find ways to relieve themselves from the stress by chewing or digging at things nearby.

Labradors are known for having strong jaws, which means when you have one who likes to chew on things other than his toys (or perhaps just all of his toys), then there may be a problem brewing beneath the surface!

You can also click here to know other reasons for destructiveness.

🟩 Yawning or drooling

If your Labrador is yawning or drooling, it could be a sign that they’re feeling anxious. Labradors have been known to yawn before eating or when they’re happy, but if it happens in other situations and you notice that your dog is panting or has a rapid heart rate, this could be a sign of anxiety.

When a Labrador is anxious, the first thing you should do is try to determine what caused the stressor. Was your Lab exposed to something new? Are there any loud noises nearby? Is someone else in the house causing them concern? You may also want to take note of whether there are other dogs around who are making noises at the same time as yours. If there isn’t anyone else around then perhaps something else might be causing them distress!

🟩 Shaking

You might be wondering what causes a Lab to shake. Shaking alone can be caused by stress, fear, or excitement, but it can also indicate pain or discomfort. If your Labrador is shaking because he’s cold, it may have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Possible Reasons Why Your Labrador Is Anxious

Labrador Retrievers are a breed of dog that loves to swim, play with toys, and chase squirrels. They’re also known for being friendly, loving dogs who like to be with their owners at all times. However, if your Lab is showing signs of anxiety, this could be a sign that something is wrong. If you’re concerned about why your Labrador Retriever is anxious or worried about how to treat it, this section will help you understand what might be causing the anxiety in the first place so you can get them back on track as quickly as possible!

🟩 Fear

There are several things that can cause your dog to be afraid. Even if a dog’s health is generally good and he has enough exercise, if he becomes sick or injured, he may become anxious because of the pain he feels. This may be from a fear of being neglected, or maybe your Labrador is anxious because of a sudden change in environment.

🟩 Lack of exercise

Your Labrador is an energetic dog, and it’s important for them to get daily exercise. Exercise not only helps to keep your Lab’s body healthy, but it also keeps the mind active. When your dog is more relaxed and engaged in physical activity, they are less likely to suffer from anxiety or stress.

There are many ways that you can encourage your Labrador exercise regime. Whether it’s running around on a field or swimming at the beach! If possible, try taking your dog out for a walk every morning and evening so that they have time to naturally explore their surroundings while getting fresh air and exercise.

🟩 Illness

An illness can cause your Labrador to be anxious, or it could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, and kidney disease can cause pain and discomfort for your dog. If you notice that your Labrador is having trouble getting around one day and then feels better the next, this could be due to dehydration caused by an illness. If you notice that your dog is panting heavily with no other symptoms besides being generally unwell (for example, lethargy), this could also indicate a serious health issue at hand.

🟩 Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common problem in Labradors. This can be caused by a lack of exercise, boredom, and a change in routine. If you don’t give your Labrador enough time to play outside or engage with you, they may become anxious when you leave them alone. Labradors are known for being energetic dogs so it is important that they have lots of space and toys to keep them occupied while their owners are gone.

🟩 Pain and injury

If your Labrador is showing signs of anxiety, it may be due to pain. Even though Labradors are known for their stoicism and enduring nature, they can still feel pain.

As mentioned, Labradors are prone to joint problems and arthritis as they age which can cause them to experience pain and discomfort when moving around. This can cause them to become anxious because they don’t want to move around much because it hurts them. Painkillers can help relieve the pain associated with these conditions, as well as physical therapy exercises designed for dogs with arthritis (such as swimming).

List Of Anxiety Triggers In Labradors

When it comes to labradors, they are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They are known for being great family dogs that can be very loyal and friendly. However, what many people don’t know is that there are some things that could cause anxiety in labradors as well. Just like any dog would have anxiety with certain triggers or situations, so do labradors too! Here’s a list of some common causes of anxiety in these intelligent creatures:

🟩 Sounds

When it comes to sounds, your Labrador may be more sensitive than you think. Sounds, particularly loud ones, will scare your Lab and can make it feel anxious. Some Labradors have a greater sensitivity to noise than others, but if your dog is scared by the sound of thunder or fireworks, for example, it could be an indicator that he has an anxiety trigger related to loud noises.

If you notice that your Labrador is afraid of certain sounds (like vacuum cleaners), try using headphones when listening to music or watching TV so that you can protect him from these sounds without having to turn down the volume on every single thing in your home!

>> Thunderstorms

Whether it’s the thunder itself, or the lightning that accompanies it, many dogs can be scared by thunderstorms. If you’re with your Lab while this is happening, they may rely on you to comfort them during this time. This is especially true if they’ve been through a traumatic experience before where there was a loud noise (such as fireworks or gunshots) that frightened them.


If your Lab has never been exposed to fireworks before, it’s likely that he’ll be scared of them when he does come across them in his life, particularly if he’s already a sensitive pooch! The most common reaction from Labs who are afraid of fireworks is hiding under tables or behind chairs until things calm down again; some may also try barking at the noises in an attempt to make them stop sooner rather than later!

🟩 Seeing something unusual.

If you have a Labrador, you may have noticed that they are very curious and like to check out new things. When your dog sees something unusual, he may bark at it or try to get away from it. This is because Labradors want to protect themselves from anything unfamiliar, as they’re naturally wary of anything that’s different than what they’re used to seeing.

🟩 Being alone for too long.

Labs are pack animals and therefore need to be around other dogs. They can get lonely and anxious, even depressed if they’re alone for too long or not having a companion that is familiar to them. If you want to know how your Labrador will react when left alone, try putting on a pair of headphones and leaving the room for a few minutes. If he gets up and starts searching around anxiously, it might be time to get him some friends!

🟩 Bad experiences with dogs in the past.

Dogs who have had a bad experience with another dog in the past will be anxious around other dogs. This can include being at the vet and having an aggressive dog come in. Or even just being around a new puppy that’s not well-trained and behaves aggressively towards them, especially if they are on a leash.

You can help your Lab overcome these fears by giving them lots of positive experiences with other dogs. If possible, take them to places where there are lots of people and dogs around so they get used to their environment as quickly as possible.

If you need to take your Lab somewhere where there will be more than one person or dog present, try using doggy treats as rewards when they interact calmly and politely with others (this is called desensitization).

🟩 Vets, kennels, car rides, and other things associated with negative memories.

Labs can be afraid of vets, kennels, car rides, and other things that are associated with negative experiences.

If you have a Labrador who is anxious when visiting the vet, it’s important to find another veterinarian that your dog likes better. If this is not possible, then make sure you start working on desensitizing your dog to the vet early in training so they don’t become too fearful or reactive when they need to go there.

Finally, if you’ve been taking your Labrador for car rides with their favorite blanket in the back seat and then one day something bad happens on one of these trips (like getting stuck in traffic), then they may associate riding in cars with being afraid or overwhelmed by stressful situations instead of enjoying themselves.

How To Calm An Anxious Labrador

Labradors are some of the most popular dogs in the world, but they aren’t without their share of anxiety issues. Anxiety is more common in Labs than any other breed, but with a little help from you and your vet, it can be managed well. Here are some tips on how to calm an anxious Labrador:

🟩 Remove the cause of the stress or anxiety.

The next step is to remove the cause of stress or anxiety. If it’s still present, you should remove it. For example, if your Labrador is afraid of loud noises and you leave him alone in a room with an air-raid siren going off, then he’s going to be stressed out. You should turn off that alarm before leaving him alone elsewhere in the house.

If there’s nothing left for your Labrador to worry about (like he has already been left alone at home with no loud noises), then you can still try removing what caused his anxiety in the first place: being left by himself in another room at home.

🟩 Talk to your lab in soothing tones.

Talk to your lab in calming and soothing tones. It’s important to recognize that a Labrador isn’t going to respond well to being shouted at. Nor will they respond well if you talk in a whispery voice, with a monotone, or in an overly formal tone. The key is finding a happy medium between these extreme ends of the spectrum. Don’t be too loud, don’t be too soft, and make sure you’re using language that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from someone else entirely. Just think about the baby talk without the “baby” part.

🟩 Hold your lab, but don’t hug them.

When your dog is anxious or stressed, it may act out in ways that you may not have seen before, like peeing on the carpet and stealing food from the trashcan. When this happens, it can be hard to know how to calm them down and hold back from exploding at your dog. One way you can help is by holding them firmly without being too rough. But there are also some other options you should try first!

If your Labrador is acting anxious and stressed out about something, give them a gentle squeeze with one hand in the area between their neck and shoulders before slowly letting go after 30 seconds or so. This will let them know that everything is okay while helping keep any aggression at bay by showing your Labrador that nothing has changed since the last time they were around other dogs at playgroup.

However, if things do start getting too heated up again then make sure not only to provide plenty of reassurance through words but also touch as well! If someone else comes over unexpectedly then try distracting both parties instead.

🟩 Move away from your Lab & let them know it’s okay.

While it’s not always possible to remove your Labrador from the situation, you can move away with them. If your dog is an anxious one, this will help relieve their anxiety and show them that there is no reason to be afraid.

If you don’t have a choice in where you’re standing or if they won’t let you move away (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), then reassure them verbally. It may seem silly at first but saying things like “it’s okay” or “there’s nothing to worry about” can go a long way towards calming down even the most nervous Labrador.

🟩 Encourage alternate behavior.

When you notice your Labrador is showing signs of anxiety, it is important to try to get them to do something different. They need encouragement for an alternate behavior.

Try walking him or playing with a toy. Make sure they have plenty of exercise during the day so they can burn off extra energy and calm their nerves at night before bedtime.

If they are not trained properly, they may behave more aggressively when they sense fear in their human family members. If this happens, consider working with an experienced trainer so that he or she can learn better social skills in order to deal with similar situations in the future without resorting to aggression or excessive barking.

🟩 Use a calming tool if necessary.

If your Labrador is still anxious, you can try to use a calming tool. Calming tools are designed to help your lab relax and feel safe. You may want to use a calming tool in addition to the other techniques we discussed above, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Here are some of the most common types of calming tools and how they work:

  • A harness with handles on it that allows you to hold onto and guide your dog when walking outside, especially if he’s afraid of loud noises or people.
  • An anti-anxiety spray (typically containing pheromones) helps keep him calm when stressful situations arise.

Final Words

It’s important to remember that Labradors can have anxiety, just like any other dog would. And just like any other pet owner, we want to help our beloved Labrador feel safe and secure, which is why we included these lists of common triggers and causes in this article. We hope they help you determine what might be causing your dog’s anxiety, so you can work on finding solutions or even preventative measures that will keep them feeling happy as possible!

Remember that it’s important to keep an eye on any changes in behavior, and to seek out help from a vet or trainer if you suspect something is wrong. If you notice anything unusual with your dog, report it immediately so that they can get the care they need!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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