Top Tips For Easing Your Dog’s Anxiety
As part of our commitment to pet wellness, we’re talking about Dog Anxiety with a complete guide to this common condition. We’re providing owners with lots of essential information, from spotting symptoms of anxiety, to sharing some of the most effective ways to relieve unsettled pooches. Read on to understand the importance of identifying anxiety in dogs, and if you think you may have an anxious canine at home, find a way to put your companion at ease with our top tips.
Understanding dog anxiety
Dog anxiety is an increasingly common condition, but the way it manifests and its effects can often differ between dogs. Anxiety might be caused by certain experiences that a dog has had, too — for example, dogs experiencing separation anxiety after owners returned to work after UK lockdown restrictions eased. However, it can be entirely situational, too, for example, when they’re exposed to loud noises, changes in residence, or introduction of a new pet or family member. It might also be associated with fear, from experiencing trauma or abuse to being wary of other animals or people.
Anxiety might also be triggered as a dog gets older. Senior pooches can develop cognitive dysfunction syndrome, impairing memory, recognition, and learning, resulting in signs of anxiety.
Most common dog anxiety symptoms to look out for
While anxiety in dogs typically manifests over time, certain behaviours may become more frequent or appear in a way that is out of character for your dog. These aren’t limited to but may include:
- Aggression – random outbursts, or perhaps as a result of becoming possessive over things they wouldn’t usually be – water bowls, food, or toys may all be examples of this.
- Urinating or defecating in the house.
- Excessive drooling.
- Depression – an obvious change in temperament, becoming muted in clear ways such as not greeting you after periods of absence.
- Excessive barking.
- Excessive pacing or restlessness.
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviours.
- Panting – noticeably more than what’d be usual for your pet.
- Destructive behaviour – chewing furniture or belongings/toys excessively.
How to calm dog anxiety
Easing your dog’s anxiety will require an approach that is as unique as your pet, but we’ve rounded up some of our top tips to try.
Behavioural based approaches
Tackling your dog’s response to the source of their anxiety may require a kind of training called counterconditioning. This technique works with the cause of the anxiety your pet is experiencing, and its purpose is to alter the association they have with it. You’ll work to divert attention from the stimuli by encouraging a different behaviour, and this could be asking your dog to sit, and rewarding them with a treat for doing so.
Alternatively, a desensitisation tactic may be another avenue to pursue. This approach works by building your dog’s exposure up to the source of their anxiety in small doses, and when repeated over time, it can be extremely effective. If you want expert guidance on either of these techniques, we’d recommend consulting a professional dog trainer.
Medication & natural remedies
Taking your dog to the vet for anxiety is entirely valid, and it can allow you to access medication that’s targeted to remedying the symptoms that your companion is experiencing. Certain antidepressants can be prescribed for dogs, but there are also some natural therapies that may be considered, too. Supplements and products such as CBD oil have also become more mainstream in the treatment of dog anxiety. If you’re curious about these approaches, your vet will be able to provide information about dosage and potential side effects.
Alternative ways to manage dog anxiety
Along with the above, we’ve rounded up some simple tips on remedying dog anxiety symptoms, which you can put into practice straight away.
- Make sure your dog has a consistent routine
Simply keeping things like walks and meals to the same time each day can be a good first step to take to help make your dog feel at ease, giving them a clear sense of routine every day.
- Try music therapy
Soothing music is a popular option for humans when they feel overwhelmed, but did you know your pet could also benefit from this? You’ll find relaxing playlists that you can leave on while you’re not in the house, or if you know the source of their anxiety will be present, for example, playing the music when fireworks are going off in a cosy part of the house.
- Invest in a thundershirt
While these products are designed to ease anxiety, they’re also super snuggly and your pet will simply enjoy being cuddled up wrapped in it. They’re specially designed compresses, weighted to give your pet a sense of security and comfort.
Putting your dog’s wellness at the forefront of their care will benefit them for years to come, and when you bring your dog to one of our salons, we’ll always endeavour to get an understanding of their wellbeing. Find out more about our expert dog grooming services, and check out your nearest location today.