Like humans, sometimes dogs get anxiety. It can be extremely distressing for both dog owners and their pets if it seems like their pooch is struggling with stress and unease. Luckily, if your fur baby has anxiety, there are several things you can do to ease his or her frayed nerves.
What causes anxiety in dogs?
The root causes of anxiety in dogs are varied. They can be related to the history of the pup (especially if you have a rescue dog that has had a difficult upbringing), a general case of fearfulness, separation related worry or just plain old age.
With older dogs, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) can have a huge impact on their frame of mind. They may have problems with memory, perception and learning, culminating in a general decline in awareness. Think of it like the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia in humans. It can be a very confusing and difficult time and heartbreaking for dog owners to witness.
What are the signs my dog has anxiety?
In general, any unusual behaviour in your furry pal should always be looked into. There are several things to look out for that may indicate your dog is feeling anxious:
Being off his/her food
Shaking and trembling
Appearing more tired than usual
Being extra vigilant and wary of others
Increased panting and a faster heart rate than usual
Skin lesions from over-grooming
Drooling more than usual
Here at Webbox, we have a long history of caring for animals and dogs will always have a special place in our hearts. We’ve come together to give you the top 10 tips to reduce anxiety in dogs.
There’s nothing like a good run-around in the park to brush off the cobwebs. Frequent exercise does wonders for reducing anxiety so make sure you’re getting out for a daily game of fetch with your best pal. The quality time spent together will also help your dog feel loved and cared for.
2) Physical contact
Reassurance in the form of love and affection is just what an anxious dog needs. Make sure you’re offering frequent cuddles so your dog knows he or she can rely on you to feel safe but make sure you’re also respecting your dog’s personal space. Not all dogs want to be hugged within an inch of their life (as much as that can be hard to hear for some of us), so follow their lead and respond to their cues for affection.
In order for your dog to have a healthy mind, they need a healthy diet. Good nutrition has been proven to improve mental well-being in both humans and dogs so it is worth considering your pet’s eating habits and the quality of the food they’re being given. Shop the Webbox dog food range for food that’s both healthy and tail waggingly delicious.
News just in; you aren’t the only one that enjoys a nice long massage to unwind. Dogs love close physical contact and a nice massage will leave them feeling zen. Not only will your pooch lap up all the attention, it will also help them feel safe and secure. Scented candles optional.
5) Music therapy
Relaxing music has been proven to soothe anxious dogs and help them feel more at ease. They love classical tunes and sometimes even a bit of motown! Most dogs aren’t into moshing though, so stay clear of heavy metal if that’s your vibe.
Anxiety in dogs isn’t necessarily linked to bad behaviour but a bit of positive reinforcement and some gentle training techniques can help with a nervous disposition. Youtube has a great range of training videos available when it comes to dealing with all different kinds of anxiety.
7) Time out
Now, we’re not saying you should put your dog on the naughty step but occasionally, a time out is necessary. When your dog is in a situation they find stressful and over-stimulating, your best course of action is to take them to a quiet room where they can relax without external pressure. Make sure the room is cosy and familiar and stay with them if you think it will help.
8) Comfort coats
Dogs enjoy the feeling of light pressure so it comes as no surprise that comfort coats & anxiety vests work wonders when it comes to calming your dog down. They come in a variety of colours and patterns to show off your pup’s personality too! If you’re feeling brave, opt for bright fuchsia pinks and channel your inner Elle Woods.
9) Seek professional help
If you feel a bit out of your depth when it comes to reducing your dog’s anxiety, there is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help. Dog experts can help create a tailored plan that addresses their issues as an individual. Like humans, every dog is different and might need slightly different care depending on the situations that are causing them anxiety.
10) Try medication
Many dog owners wouldn’t dream of medicating their animals but pill popping doesn’t necessarily deserve such a bad rep. Severe anxiety is an illness and mental illness should be treated with just as much care and attention as physical illness. Ultimately, if your dog is suffering and other strategies to ease their anxiety haven’t worked, medication may be worth considering. Speak to your local vet to discuss your options.