Before diving into this discussion, let us just question ourselves for a moment. How many of us go through a daily struggle of combating anxiety and depression? How many of us face different fears in our daily lives?
Well, a simple answer is, almost all of us have been through such difficult times somewhere in our lives. So, I expect you to understand how it feels to be anxious or stressed.
Researches prove that pets can reduce stress and anxiety. Hence, People who have survived depression or fight anxiety are more likely to keep pets. But wait if you are planning on bringing a dog to your home first check my article regarding 8 Things To Consider Before You Bring a Dog Home.
What if I tell you that even your dog can suffer anxiety? Your little happy partner can have bad times too. Your pup can also be Autophobia (fearing isolation) or Agoraphobia (fearing crowds).
If you are a dog lover, you must know about these things too. If you have an anxious dog you must treat them immediate before its get too late.
Being a true dog lover and a responsible dog parent, you must be concerned about your dog’s physical health as well as mental health.
This article will guide you on the journey to calm down your pet’s anxiety and lead you both towards a happy and more contented life.
How to Know If Your Dog Suffers From Anxiety?
Well, no rocket science needed to know that.
You just need to be well aware of your pup’s nature and personality.
If you are a close observer of your dog’s daily activities, you can easily judge if your dog is anxious or not.
Observing small habits and little daily changes in his activities will quickly lead you to the answer to the query mentioned above.
Dogs show different signs of anxiety, just like us humans. Knowing these signs will help you know the type and nature of your dog’s anxiety.
Dog Anxiety Symptoms
If you see your dog behaving a bit odd than usual, it can be a sign that he is nervous or anxious and requires attention.
The following are some of the symptoms that signal anxiety in your dog. Getting an insight into these will help you figure out and calm down your little friend’s anxiety.
- Lip licking
- Frequent yawning
- Loss of appetite
- Drooling or over salivating
- Dilated pupils
- Hyper-vigilant or hyper-energetic behavior
According to Dr. Susan Konecny, RN, DVM, medical director of Best Friends Animal Society, above are the signs that will let you know that your pet suffers from anxiety.
Does My Dog Need To Go To The Vet?
Of course you do.
Now that you are sure and have noticed the anxious behavior of your dog, it is time you immediately seek professional advice. Visit your veterinarian and talk out to him about whatever behavioral changes you have observed in your pet.
Veterinarians can understand and know the kind of anxiety your pet might have, and then they will provide you solutions accordingly. They can understand if the changes in your pet are of psychological or physical nature. Veterinarians can prescribe anxiety-relieving medications if required; moreover can refer you to a veterinary behaviorist. That will help you to make sure that you get maximum help for your little friend.
What Does a Dog Behaviorist Do?
The role of a veterinary behaviorist is significant in this regard. He can foresee the behavioral changes that may take the first place in your pet.
They are specialized, licensed veterinarians who can track the real medical issue behind a developing behavioral change and then provide your pet with the best possible treatment.
What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
Once you are aware of your dog’s anxiety, next comes the step to know the factors that trigger this anxiety in your pet.
Numerous factors may be involved, and after identifying the possible stressors for your dog with the help of a veterinarian, it is very easy to remove them.
Let’s suppose you observe that your dog gets aggressive when left alone at home.
He breaks things, barks more than usual, get hyperactive, or on the contrary, becomes abnormally quite.
You must note that these signals can vary from dog to dog.
The case mentioned above is a clear indication that your dog is autophobic, and isolation triggers anxiety in him.
Now you can remove this trigger by making sure that your little canine buddy never stays home alone.
Identifying these trigger factors can help you know how to calm down your pet’s anxiety.
Ways to Calm Dogs Anxiety
The trigger factors may not just be enough. If you want to treat your dog’s anxiety, you need to make sure to remove these stressors and monitor your pet even more closely to know the results.
If you have already visited a vet and are well aware of the possible stressors, then treating your dog’s anxiety is no longer a big deal for you.
Incorporating some activities and therapies in your canine buddy’s routine can also be a great help in this regard. Following are some of such activities and therapies that may help you deal with an anxious dog.
We all know that exercise helps soothe our nerves and thus reduce anxiety. The same applies to dogs.
In some cases, the energy level of a dog may rise to some real hyper level when he is anxious. You can use this energy in some valuable exercise. Make busy him with an outdoor game, a swim, or perhaps a run in the nearest park.
Doing this will not only help relieve anxiety but will also boost the physical health of your pooch.
Boosting your relationship with your pet is just another little perk of exercising with your pet.
However, you must know the exact time duration and intensity of the exercise allowed by your vet to ensure the maximum benefit of exercise.
– Improve and Increase Your Physical Contact
Remember, dogs are emotionally very sensitive. They are said to have the ability to hear you and understand your eyes. So, how you treat them will directly affect their health?
Make sure to provide them with affection and love. Understand how they feel happy and treat them that way.
If your dog likes to cuddle, you must take out time to cuddle with them. This itself will maintain a healthy balance of emotions and thus will help fight anxiety. It can be even more beneficial for you to learn how much your furry fellow loves you.
– Remove Anxiety Triggers
As discussed above, once you know what triggers anxiety in your dog, make sure to remove it. This will help treat his anxiety.
These factors can be some specific noise, aroma, stranger, or anything around your dog.
You just need to pinpoint it and remove it.
– Buy Some Comfortable Clothes
Making your dog wear some easy, comfortable clothing and the color of his choice can be very helpful. Unique t-shirts are available in the market these days for dogs. They can be a good friend to your pup.So, just get your hands on a few of them and let your little partner enjoy some comfort in his hard times.
– Try Different Massage Techniques
Massage is an ancient and reliable way to cure anxiety. Not only can this be helpful for you but also for your dog.
You don’t need to make much effort to massage your dog. It is as simple as applying a lotion or oil in long strokes with soft, gentle hands.
You may learn some special techniques on the internet and enjoy your canine partner feel some love via your hands.
– Create a Me-Time Space for Your Pup
This is an essential step. Provide your dog with a comfortable corner far from the hustle and bustle of life. This will help him spend some quality time with himself. You may provide him with his favorite toy in this duration.
A little solitude will help your dog to calm and bring the best inputs to himself, thus eliminating anxiety.
Make sure to reward him by providing little things to make him happy.
– Use Dog Appeasing Pheromones
These pheromones are synthetic stuff that helps to calm down and soothe your dog.
They come in the form of collars, sprays, and diffuses, etc. I didn’t use this method for my dog. So I leave this area for you to observe more. Don’t forget to share your findings on our comment section.
– Use Alternative Therapies
A bunch of therapies can help treat your dog in his bad times. Your veterinarian can help you find a suitable one to continue with. They can have substantial positive impacts on your pet’s mood. A few are mentioned below:
- Behavior Modification Therapy:
This therapy is designed cognitively to train your dog. It will train your dog to respond differently to stressors. Bringing a more optimistic approach towards the stressors your dog will learn to face and fight them.
It will help your pet to overcome his fear of stressors and thus will defeat anxiety.
- Music Therapy or Thunder Cloud:
Put on a piece of music that is soothing and is liked by your dog. We all know how a piece of nighttime music will relax our mind and body. So definitely this will soothe your little buddy too.
- Aroma Therapy:
If your dog enjoys some specific aroma(mine is a big fan of soy aromatherapy candles), you may provide him with that specific scent. It can be a pheromone or a candle.
- Rescue Remedy for Pets:
Rescue remedy for pets is a homeopathic treatment. It is meant to be used for humans, but it is entirely safe for your dog as well. It consists of flower remedies that have a stress reliever effect. You may add a few drops of it in your dog’s water or can purchase it in spray form.
Ask Your Vet About Dog Anxiety Relieving Supplements
The medication also has a significant role in relieving anxiety. You can use a medicine to treat your dog’s anxiety, but don’t forget to consult your veterinarian before that. Your veterinarian may suggest some anti-anxiety supplements.
These supplements will generally contain chamomile, thiamine, melatonin, L-Theanine, or L-tryptophan. All of these will help your pet to relieve anxiety but, don’t forget to ask your vet.
Support Your Pet
The most crucial step of all is to understand that your pet is passing through his tough times.
He requires your full affection and love. So, being there for him will help him gain his happiness back.
Remember, to be with him and let him take his time through this phase of anxiety. Understand what he wants and don’t force him into anything that he doesn’t like to do.
If you follow these steps, your cuddle buddy won’t stay in his tough times for longer and you’ll soon be playing with a forever happy little pup.
I wish you and your canine all the best. Do you have an anxious dog too? Don’t forget to share any steps that I missed to cure the anxiety you used for your pet. Tell us. What kind of problems you faced? Why you choose a specific way? Comment and don’t forget to share the post if you like it.