Like humans, dogs can experience stress – from constant loud noises, being in an unfamiliar environment, traveling – reasons can vary. Even a routine visit to the veterinarian can cause a lot of stress for your pet. It’s important to know how to deal with canine stress when you become a dog parent.
There are different ways to deal with dog anxiety, but the first thing to know is what exactly makes your pet uncomfortable.
With a little help from specialists from mysweetpuppy.net, we have determined the main reasons for dog anxiety, its symptoms, and ways to relieve it! Let’s dive in to see how you can help your anxious dog relax and find its safe place.
Identifying Dog Anxiety
Every dog, regardless of its age or breed, experiences anxiety in its own way. It’s crucial to be able to identify such episodes and work on them so that they will not evolve into dangerous, destructive behavior. There are three primary reasons for anxiety in dogs: separation, fear, and aging.
Dogs who experience separation anxiety cannot find comfort when left alone or apart from their family members. It may result in undesirable behaviors like damaging furniture pieces or urinating at home. Fear anxiety has numerous ways to occur – from stressed situations to unfamiliar sounds, strange environments, people, and other animals. Age-related anxiety is mostly connected with canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) compared to human Alzheimer’s disease.
Dogs get anxious because in stressful or frightening situations, hormones, such as cortisol or adrenaline, are produced in its body, preparing to fight or flight. Your dog has anxiety if you notice the following – occasional or recurring – symptoms:
- shortness of breath, panting
- loud barking
- excessive drooling
- compulsive or repetitive behaviors
- urinating in the house
It is vital to know common signs of anxiety in dogs and distinguish its causes to help your pet in the safest and most empathetic way possible.
Responding To Your Dog’s Anxiety
Fortunately, there are several different approaches to help dogs conquer anxiety. You can achieve it by reducing its excitability levels with training, alternative treatments, supplements, or unique products designed for anxious dogs – like gear or toys.
Calming Dog Beds
In addition to calming your dog with exercises, Calming dog beds have been gaining popularity for the last couple of years. Such beds are considered the most effective tools to fight separation anxiety. They are initially designed to imitate a dog’s safe feeling of being among its littermates and mother.
To choose an excellent calming bed for your anxious dog, make sure that it is made of cotton and natural fibers instead of synthetic ones and has a soft faux fur and raised sides to replicate the feeling of being in a pile of puppies.
Quite often, various noises and sounds are the main reasons for many dogs to experience anxiety. In such situations, any veterinary behaviorist would recommend installing at home a machine that emits white noise. It is much more useful than radio, a feature film, or classical music in the background, as it creates an invisible barrier that surrounds the animal and gives it a sense of peace. The dog can abstract from external stimuli, quickly calm down and fall asleep.
At this stage, it is crucial to understand that you have to consult giving any supplements to your anxious dog – herbal or dietary – with a veterinarian.
Among the most popular and typical products for a dog’s anxiety relief are melatonin and L-tryptophan supplements, but there is also an increase in using CBD chews or oils. CBD is known for positively affecting people’s anxiety and depression symptoms. The same applies to pets, but bear in mind that dosage is highly individual, so ensure to start giving it in sparring portions for your dog.
Manage Your Stress
It is crucial to behave yourself during anxiety episodes and not to support its anxious behavior. Thus, it will not be a good idea to give your pet a treat or caress for it, as it might encourage your dog to stick to that pattern. In most cases, the best reaction is the lack of reaction itself. Acting as nothing has happened will allow your dog to feel there is no reason to be worried, and the disapproval in your firm but the kind tone will make your dog calm.
Never punish or yell at an anxious dog unless you do want to become another anxiety trigger yourself. It will only worsen the situation and make your pet afraid of you, while your goal is to make it understand you are here to help.
Dog anxiety is quite a shared experience, as 20-40% of dogs happen to have it. It is a normal emotion, just like in humans, that can occur due to fearful events or a separation process. What is not normal is the possibility of this state developing into destructive behavior and leading to severe health and lifespan consequences.
It is vital to notice any possible changes and signs in your dog’s behavior to protect it and relieve its anxiety levels and provide it with sufficient exercise and training to reduce the possibility of unfamiliar situations. You can also use additional tools like calming coats or diffuser with dog-appeasing pheromones, but remember – you are your dog’s calm compass. Behave yourself!