If you’ve ever experienced overwhelming anxiety, you know how horrible the feeling can be. It’s probably why you’re asking yourself how do I calm my anxious dog?
Just like people, many dogs suffer from bad anxiety. And there could be several possible reasons behind it.
It could something to do with specific situations, and their reaction to them. Or it could be more related to their personality – after all, each dog is an individual, and different from others.
In any case, if your dog’s anxiety tends to be disproportionate to what you think is happening, as a reaction, something should be done. If left unchecked, such anxiety could develop into more serious conditions – such as behavioral disorders.
Those can be harder to deal with.
What Could Be Causing My Dog’s Anxiety?
Before I look for tips to calm my anxious dog, I should really spend some time understanding why it is that my dog is feeling anxious in the first place.
Dog anxiety can have broadly three underlying causes:
- Separation from the owner, or more commonly known as separation anxiety
- Anxiety due to fear or paranoia – like fear of other dogs, people or even things like loud noises
- Anxiety brought on by cognitive impairment due to sickness or age
Each category of anxiety is naturally different, and thus needs separate treatment. The last one in particular, might well need medication.
In such situations, your vet’s involvement is paramount. Don’t neglect making an appointment!
Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
Although not a set of standardised symptoms, an anxious dog may exhibit one or more of the following signs…
- Excessive barking
- Pacing and/or restlessness
- Destructive behavior
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
- Urinating or defecating in the house
Tips to Calm My Anxious Dog
There are a whole bunch of things you can do to calm down an anxious dog. We’re going to get into just a few, effective methods you can do so.
In any case, don’t forget to get your puppy checked up at the vet, regardless of whether you follow any of these pointers, but especially if you intend on using things like essential oils, aroma therapy or even basic medication.
1. Be Aware of Your Own Energy
If you get anxious or worked up in response to your dog’s anxiety, it will make things worse. Dogs feed on your energy a lot.
It becomes a vicious cycle.
So the first step to calm my anxious dog would be to calm myself, and present a cool, collected front to my dog.
Your dog will look to you as an example, being the pack leader. So if you project calmness, your dog will naturally try to emulate that energy.
2. Using Medication or Treats
Like we said earlier, if you plan to use calming medication or other products, make sure you check with your vet!
Even for non-prescirption meds, or therapeutic products, it’s best to check with your vet in case your dog shows any allergic reactions, or worse, you get the dosage wrong.
That said, having some natural calming dog treats handy is not a bad idea. You can use them to get your dog’s energy levels normal, and then work from there.
3. Distract with Toys or Games
Grab your pup’s favorite toy and let him have a session of playtime. Or better yet, get some of those puzzle toys which hold treats.
You can put some calming treats in the puzzle toy, so it serves both as a distraction as well as a calming tool.
However, don’t just toss him the toys as soon as he starts showing anxiety symptoms. If you do so, he’ll start thinking his anxiety is a good thing, and you’re rewarding him for it.
It’s best if you’re able to anticipate his anxiety and give him his toys ahead of time.
Like the toys, a quick, intense exercise or outdoor play session is great as a distraction. Plus it will also burn up any excess energy that might otherwise go into his anxieties.
Plus, like with us and endorphins when we exercise, dogs too tend to keep much better physical as well as mental health when they exercise regularly.
It’s simple isn’t it?
And it’s a great habit to keep to calm my anxious dog on a regular basis.
5. Wrap Him Up
What do we generally like to do when we’re feeling upset, anxious or depressed?
We like to cuddle with our loved ones. Or if that’s not an option, curl up in our favorite blanket, or comforter or such like.
If your dog has such a favorite stuff toy and/or blanket, wrap him up with it. It’s bound to make a difference, even if it’s not immediately apparent.
Or, if you’re so inclined and if your puppy has serious anxiety attacks, you get him something akin to a thundershirt.
We hope you found these tips on how to calm your axious dog useful! If you have any other tips or suggestions, do let us know in the comments section below…
Featured image by instagram.com//woodyandholly
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