If you’re dealing with canine anxiety, it can be a bit overwhelming for both your dog and you to get through a day. Like us, dogs have anxieties and fears. Their anxieties may not be or work the same as our own, but they still cause a great deal of stress and physical reactions just the same.
Canine anxiety affects all breeds of dogs and can lead to very serious behavioral problems if left untreated. Fortunately, there are steps that we, as pet owners, can take to help our beloved pets learn to live and better cope with their anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of the common symptoms, treatment options and potential prevention techniques that you can use to work with your pet:
Signs of Anxiety
- Your dog keeps attempting to escape, either passively or actively
- Your dog has excess energy that has the potential to or sometimes does turn to aggression
- Your dog barks or howls beyond what is ordinary
- Your dog is often found to be shaking, hiding, tucking their tail, etc.
- Your dog has a habit of licking or biting at his or herself
What Causes Anxiety?
- Sickness or pain can make your dog more prone to fear and anxiety
- Changes in the central nervous system due to aging or disease
- Past experiences that were negative or caused fear and anxiety
- A lack of socialization in the first few months of life
- Having multiple owners or having been abandoned or neglected
How to Help Your Dog with Anxiety
- Practice separation – If your dog has separation anxiety, let him or her adjust to small periods of you being away. Then, as they start to adjust, increase the time you’re away.
- Occupy your dog – Give your dog something to do while you’re away. Try filling a toy with treats, or give them a chew toy that won’t be unsafe if destroyed.
- Stay calm – Your dog responds to the cues that you give them. Don’t make leaving or coming home a big deal. Be calm and speak in a normal tone of voice.
- Prioritize exercise – Your dog will be less likely to exhibit anxious behaviors if he or she gets regular exercise. Take them for a walk before you leave the house to reduce anxiety.
- Consider doggy daycare – If your dog likes socializing, consider taking him or her to doggie daycare. This way, they will be having fun and using up excess energy while you’re away.
- Ask about medications – Your dog’s anxiety could be due to a hormonal or thyroid imbalance, which may require medication. Ask your veterinarian about this and about anti-anxiety medications.
Don’t let your dog’s anxiety take control of your (or their) life. Talk to your veterinarian to identify the type of anxiety your dog may be suffering from and the possible causes and triggers. With the right treatment strategy, you can help your dog overcome his or her anxiety and prevent dangerous and destructive behaviors from becoming a daily occurrence. If you think your dog is suffering from anxiety, talk to your veterinarian today to come up with a plan of action that best suits your dog and your lifestyle.