In the real sense, a dog should never have anything to worry about. With humans who are dedicated to feed and take care of them, anxiety should be the last thing they should experience. We always believe anxiety is only experienced by humans where they have to worry about relationships, careers, and daily stress.
Believe it or not, dogs too become anxious. Even though they do not have to worry about paying bills or achieving specific goals in life, they can also experience some nervousness that greatly affects their behaviour.
It is, therefore, important for dog owners to understand how anxiety affects their dogs because it can cause several problems for them and their dogs. A dog that is suffering from anxiety may have feeding problems, damaging the house when left home alone or even pick a fight with other dogs.
I am so certain no dog owner would want to deal with such behavioural issues. Therefore, it is essential to know the cause and how to prevent it exactly.
What causes dog anxiety?
Any behavioural change in your pet may be due to anxiety. Fear or old age-related conditions may cause it. For example, a dog can be anxious due to fear of unpleasant and unfamiliar location like a new home.
Separation anxiety is another major trigger of anxiety in dogs. Most dogs do not know how to cope with being left alone for an extended time.
Anxiety also occurs to older dogs that have congestive disorders leaving them confused and forgetful.
How do you know if your dog has anxiety?
Any sudden change in your dog’s behaviour may be a result of anxiety. However, some signs will clearly show you that your dog needs some help.
Some signs may be obvious will others might not be noticeable right away. Below are some behavioural changes that show if your dog is suffering from anxiety.
An anxious dog may feel uncomfortable, especially if left alone at home. In the process, it may chew through a door trying to escape or even destroy the furniture.
House Breaking issues
Housebreaking issues are commonly brought by separation anxiety. Your dog may urinate almost in every corner of the house or defecate inside the house when anxious.
When you notice your dog pacing around the house or doing any repetitive behaviour is a sign of dog anxiety. Your dog may also over groom the same body part as a result of anxiety.
You may find your dog snarling or snapping on other dogs or people when anxious. Growling and barking, with no apparent reason, is a sign of aggressive behaviour.
What Natural Remedy can I Give my dog for anxiety?
When you have an anxious dog, it is possible to calm them down naturally without the use of medication or any other artificial ways. Naturally, dogs are happy when they are treated well, fed frequently, kept in a stress-free environment, and taken for walks regularly. Here are some natural remedies you could use to calm your dog.
Create a safe environment for your dog
Always make sure your dog has a safe and quiet environment to retreat to. This could be a covered kennel, a closet, or a quiet bedroom. Place soft blankets or toys for them to chew to calm themselves down.
Make sure to check on your dog periodically to get to know how they are doing. The safe space will let your dog retreat and calm down whenever they are stressed.
Take your dog for walks
When your dog will not settle down, and they are too anxious without a good reason, it could be a sign that your dog isn’t taken outside frequently or they are not receiving enough exercise. Puppies should at least be allowed to run about 3-4 times a day.
When you notice your dog is panting loudly or will not stop bothering you, they might be sick or need to go out. Until you get to know your dog’s behaviour, any excitement behaviour may indicate that your dog needs to go out or want to go to the bathroom. Unless you do not mind the messy floor, take your dog outside promptly.
Socialize your dog regularly
It is normal for a dog to get excited when they meet new friends or new dogs. But, if your dog does not calm down around new faces, it means you need to increase your dog’s socialization. Let your dog meet new people and dogs most frequently.
To successfully do this, take your dog for walks, ask permission for your dog to great other dogs they meet. When your dog behaves well, make sure to reward them with treats. Always use a clear verbal command to keep them in control.
Pet and Message your dog
Petting and messaging your dog helps reduce stress and anxiety. This is a simple way of being affectionate to your dog. Message your dog gently and concentrate on pressure points like the feet, ears, and the top of the head. The messages will help soothe and calm your dog just as people do when messaged.
You need to know that dogs are social and always want contact and affection. Spend at least 30 minutes daily while petting or messaging them.
Another way you can help your dog reduce anxiety is to be calm when you around them. Make sure to speak in a soft, smooth, and calming voice as you pet them calmly and smoothly.
Change your Dog’s Diet
Just like humans, dogs too need a balanced diet, and their moods can be affected by poor nutrition. Commercial dog treats have addictive ingredients, and most of the time overstimulates the dog’s system. You can choose to buy natural treats or make your own.
How do you calm a stressed dog?
Just like human beings, dogs too react to stress. Being clingy, acting up, or withdrawing are some of dog anxiety signs. Unlike us, dogs cannot express their anxiety verbally. Therefore, it is the responsibility of any pet owners to pay attention to their pet’s behaviour and respond accordingly when they see any difference. Here are ways you can use to calm your anxious dog.
Just like humans, pets too respond positively to touch. Cuddling is one way you can use to relieve stress, anxiety, and fear from your dog. When a dog feels like they are cut off from their human, their anxious level tends to increase. Petting and cuddling your dog may help take away some of the anxiety.
When a dog is anxious, it usually has a lot of energy that cannot be controlled. Humans are also advised to do exercises to help relieve stress. This also applies to dogs. When dogs take walks, run, or play in the park, they burn off some tension. Exercise makes the dog tired, and by the time they return home, they are calm.
Unless advised otherwise by a vet, exercise is good for you and your pet. Your dog will enjoy and appreciate the time you spend together.
Dogs always sense your emotions and feelings. If you are reacting towards their anxiety and bad behaviour they show when stressed, they are going to absorb your behaviour and make the situation even worse.
Take some few breaths before handling the acting out of your dog in a calm demeanour to help break the anxiety cycle between you and your dog. Just like a baby, your dog will act to the way you are behaving. Always take the lead and help them calm down slowly and patiently.
Check with your Vet
When the dog’s anxiety level seems abnormal, it is essential to consult your vet. By ‘abnormal’ we mean if your dog cannot relax or calm down. Explain to the vet all the activities that showed that your dog was anxious. It does not matter if your dog does not have physical injury or illness; your vet might something that you cannot.
Anxious dog training is easy, especially when you show them where to direct their negative energy. Toys are the best items to channel energy. A good chew toy can keep your dog busy other than destroying your household and belongings.
We all know that anxiety alters the behaviour of your dog. You are the best person to help your anxious dog to cope with something that is out of the norm. Your dog loves and trusts you, therefore, will want you to take the lead.
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