What Do I Do If My Dog Is Anxious?
If you’re a dog owner, you know that each dog has its own personality. Some dogs are incredibly easy-going, others are super curious. And then there are dogs that are anxious. Just like people, dogs can have a range of personalities. But what do you do if you have an anxious dog? A dog’s anxiety can be debilitating and depending on their size dangerous for others.
Thankfully, there are safe ways to relieve your dog of their anxiety.
What Do I Do If My Dog is Anxious?
The signs of anxiety may be all over your dog. Do they excessively bark, howl, or whine? Do they become aggressive at times? Here are some other signs of anxiety in dogs:
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Repetitive scratching or digging
- Excessive licking
- Restless behavior
- Unusual chewing
- Trembling or shaking
If your dog shows these behaviors, they may be dealing with anxiety. While a dog’s anxiety can be as harmless as excessive drooling, remember that it can be very serious. When an animal is put into a stressful enough situation, there’s no knowing how they will respond. Even the kindest dog can lash out in unforeseen ways during an anxiety attack.
Keys for Calmness
This is why we’ve put together a list of ways you can help your dog deal with anxiety. It’s important for you to help them get their anxiety under control. Otherwise, the wonderful dog you have known can grow into a dog that may be dangerous to themselves or those around them.
Exercise helps get all that anxious energy out! Take your dog on a few walks a day, or work in some extra playtime. This is especially important for young dogs. They already have a ton of energy, add in some anxiety, and you have a dog with likely untenable behaviors. To curb those bad behaviors, you need to tire them out! And you can start with exercise and other stimulating activities.
Because you spend as much time as you do with your dog, you can probably tell when they are about to have an anxiety attack. If you sense that your dog’s anxiety is on the rise, just give them a gentle touch. Your looks to you as their leader. If you are consistent with your love, they will know they can trust you. Your touch is a great way to remind them that you’ll always be there for them.
Massage is good for calming the nerves of many animals. We humans have a business built around the efficacy of massage to ease mental and physical stress. De-stress your dog with a nice massage! Light a candle, put on some quiet, calming music (or nothing at all), and settle down with your dog. Keep your touch light and gentle. Your pet will likely fall asleep but they are still getting the benefits of your special touch.
Music therapy is something humans can use to calm themselves when they feel the threat of anxiety. Music also works for our dogs too. Some people find that leaving calm music on while they are away from the home can help a dog deal with their anxiety while they’re alone. Music can also be used to cover other noises that might bother your dog. Sounds from the street or from a neighbor can heighten their anxiety. Calm music can help to mask those disturbances.
If you’d like to give it a try, look for calming music that features a harp. This kind of music is often used in hospice care and can be very relaxing.
When your dog is in the middle of an anxiety attack, it may be hard to calm them down. In cases like this, a good option might simply be to give them time alone to calm themselves down. Give your dog a quiet place where they can take the time they need to relax.
You don’t necessarily have to find a quiet room for them either. There are companies that make dog crates that look like furniture. These specialty crates look attractive but still provide dogs a safe space that also helps to filter outside noise. You don’t have to isolate your dog when they have an anxiety attack. You can let them relax in their own space, even when it’s in the middle of the room.
There are coats available for dogs that suffer from anxiety. These coats wrap around your dog and apply mild pressure. This pressure can help your dog feel relief from their anxiety. They are great to use for separation anxiety, stranger anxiety or even noises.
There are many people who swear by alternative therapies to help with their dog’s anxiety. From essential oils, homeopathic solutions or even supplements, there are many different alternatives you might try to help your dog’s anxiety.
Another choice that is growing in popularity lately is CBD oil. With many states legalizing the medical and recreational use of cannabis, many humans and pet friends have been trying CBD products to reduce anxiety. CBD is a completely non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, so rest assured that you’re not going to get your dog ‘high’ by using it. Many people swear by these alternative anxiety therapies, and each person has varying levels of success with them.
Whatever method you choose to try, helping your dog with their anxiety only improves their quality of life. With their anxiety in check, you two can continue to do the things you have always wanted to.