Currently, over 60 million households in America own dogs. That makes dogs some of the most common pets in the country.
One thing many that dog owners don’t know is that dogs are highly sensitive and emotional creatures. Just like you, your dog can experience anxiety. This emotion affects dogs of all breeds.
While all dogs experience anxiety from time to time, disproportionate levels of it can lead to anxiety disorder in your pet. That’s why you need to address the issue promptly. There are many ways to treat anxiety in dogs, including using anti-anxiety medication for dogs.
But how can you tell whether your furry friend has anxiety? More importantly, what can you do to help your dog overcome this anxiety?
In this comprehensive guide, we explain everything about dog anxiety. We’ll inform you about different types of dog anxiety, their causes, symptoms, and how you can treat them. By the time you’re done reading the guide, you should have all the information to help your dog in case it ever suffers from anxiety.
Keep reading to learn more.
Causes of Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs differ significantly in what prompts their anxiety and how they respond to various anxiety triggers. Below are the four common reasons your dog can suffer anxiety:
A. Genetic Disposition
Different dog breeds have different propensities to anxiety. Typically, dog breeds that display high energy and intelligence are more prone to anxiety than their counterparts. These breeds include:
- Siberian Huskies
- Bernese Mountain dogs
- Cocker Spaniels
- German Shepherds
- Basset Hound
- Great Pyrenees
- Standard Poodles
- Terrier breeds
If your dog is one of these breeds, then you need to watch out for signs that they’re anxious.
B. Medical Issues
Sometimes, anxiety in your dog is a symptom of underlying medical issues. If your dog has encephalitis, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetes, thyrotoxicosis, or hearing loss may get anxiety. Changes in your dog’s nervous system as a result of aging could also trigger anxiety.
Regardless of the medical issue causing the anxiety, it’s essential to consult a professional veterinarian for help.
C. Puppy Socialization
Every puppy needs the best environmental and social experiences during their early weeks of life. They need to be close to their mothers for at least eight weeks. Depriving puppies of these key experiences can make them habitually fearful and cause social anxiety in them.
D. Past Trauma
While phobias in dogs can develop at any age, most fears develop when the dogs are 1 to 3 years old. Dogs that have abuse, mistreatment, or abandonment may experience habitual anxiety when they grow older.
Types of Anxiety in Dogs
Over 29% of dogs in America suffer from one or more anxiety or fear issues. Below are three common types of anxiety in dogs:
This type of anxiety is the most prevalent among dogs. Just about every dog wants to spend all the time with their owner. That’s because they associate all things they value with the people around them.
Whether it’s play, company, food, or going for a walk, your dog wants to be with you. The moment you leave your dog alone, all that good stuff fades away.
Unfortunately, it’s not always practical to go everywhere with your dog. That’s why you need to train them to be comfortable with their own company from the time they’re young. This way, they won’t suffer anxiety when you’re away.
Being Afraid Of Loud Noises
Generally, dogs are wary of fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud events. Such noises can quickly trigger anxiety. Some dogs even become anxious the moment they sense a storm may be on the way.
Sudden Changes in the Environment
Some dogs are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Moving to a new house, being in the vet’s office, or having something they value taken away can trigger anxiety in them. A sudden change in normal routine such as their owner traveling can also prompt feelings of anxiety.
Signs That Your Dog May be Anxious
To know if you should start seeking treatment for anxiety in dogs, you must be able to recognize symptoms of the illness in them. Below are some common signs to look out for:
1. Your Dog Barks Constantly
It’s okay for your dog to bark at something or someone they’ve spotted outside. It’s also perfectly normal if they bark as a reaction to a strange or suspicious noise.
However, if your dog seems to bark for no reason, and you’ve tried to soothe him with no success, that may be a sign of anxiety. You may also notice that your dog is jumpier than usual and more sensitive to quick movements and noises.
2. Your Dog Chews on Everything in Sight
You come home to find that your dog has destroyed the couch. The dog also chews on door frames, window sills, toys, and other objects. This behavior may be a sign that your dog is trying to get all the nervous energy out of their system.
3. The Dog Keeps Pacing
Pacing around the house may just be a sign that your dog is bored. But that behavior could also indicate that your dog is anxious, especially when your dog is moving around in circular motions.
4. Your Dog Keeps Escaping From Home
This behavior can be a huge cause of worry for a dog owner. You don’t want your dog constantly bolting for the gate whenever you open it. It’s a sign of anxiety in many dogs, and you need to address it promptly.
5. Your Dog Is Shaking and Trembling
This symptom is one of the easiest to spot. Shaking and trembling often signifies moderate to severe anxiety.
You could also notice visible signs of worry such as wide eyes, expressive ears, and a furrowed brow. Generally, if your pup seems freaked out, they most likely are.
6. Your Pup Hides Themselves from People or Things
An anxious dog will usually try to avoid people, things, and situations that scare them. The dog may leave the room, hide behind the legs of their owner, pull away on the leash, and so on.
How to Help an Anxious Dog Calm Down
Once you notice that your pup is feeling anxious, you need to do something to soothe their nervous system. Below are some proven tips on how to treat an anxious dog and restore them to their calm, happy state.
1. Give Them Enough Exercise
Just like taking a walk daily can help you avert anxiety, regular exercise helps in regulating your dog’s nervous system. A daily walk doesn’t just keep your dog physically fit, but it also boosts their mental health. Combine both indoor and outdoor exercises to keep your dog busy and happy.
2. Create A Comfy, Safe Retreat For Your Dog
When you’re feeling nervous, you often retreat to a soothing space to calm down. Your dog needs the same.
Set apart a small area where your dog can relax when they’re feeling anxious. You can stock this little sanctuary with a nice small bed, your dog’s favorite toys, and other comforting items he likes.
3. Remain Calm
Like all other dog lovers, it’s perfectly understandable to feel concern for your furry friend once you know they’re feeling anxious. But you need to stay as calm as possible. Your dog is a highly sensitive creature and will quickly pick up on the surrounding energy. By remaining calm, you help your dog get back to a calm state.
4. Talk to a Trainer
Professional trainers are masters when it comes to dealing with anxious dogs. They know what techniques to use to help a dog calm down. By working with a seasoned trainer, you can learn these techniques and apply them whenever necessary.
Anti-Anxiety Medication for Dogs
Sometimes, your pet needs anti-anxiety medication to return to their normal, healthy state. This is especially the case when your doctor has moderate to severe anxiety. Generally, dogs need about four weeks of treatment for the effectiveness of the anti-anxiety medication to become fully evident.
Depending on your dog’s condition, they may be weaned off or anti-anxiety drugs after a while or require life-long treatment.
How About CBD Oil?
You may have heard that CBD oil is an effective, all-natural alternative to man-made anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals for pets. But how true is that?
Well, dogs have an endocannabinoid system that can benefit from CBD oil, just like human beings. Active ingredients on CBD can relieve many symptoms in dogs, including anxiety.
You can easily find CBC Wholesale Oil for Sale online. The thing to remember, however, is that CBD, CBC, and similar treatments for dogs is yet to be regulated. That’s why you need to consult a certified vet before giving your dog this treatment.
Always Address Anxiety in Your Dog Promptly
Regardless of the cause, anxiety in your dog strains both its physical and mental health. As a dog owner, you need to know what may be causing anxiety in your pet so you can tackle it appropriately.
Sometimes, all you need is to make a few changes in your dog’s routine to cure their anxiety. Other times, you may need to seek out an effective anti-anxiety medication for dogs to solve the problem.
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