An anxious dog can cause worry to dog parents because the discomfort visibly manifests in their dogs. Because it’s pretty common for dogs to have anxiety for several reasons, the search for dog anxiety remedies is something dog parents usually do.
There are quite a lot of remedies for dog anxiety, and today we’re going to look at seven of them. While there are products on the market that can assist you in calming your anxious dog, it’s good to know that some remedies are accessible from your own home.
Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
If you suspect that your dog is showing signs of being anxious and you need to confirm it, here are common symptoms of anxiety in dogs:
- Looking or acting fearful: trembling, tucked tail, hiding
- Escaping behaviors, either active or passive
- Usual symptoms of stress like diarrhea
- Chewing or licking themselves
- Other destructive behaviors
- Noise-making by barking and/or whining
Common Causes for Dog Anxiety
1. Trauma from past experiences
Before we look at dog anxiety remedies, we need to understand what causes our dogs to be anxious. As mentioned above, there are different kinds of anxiety in dogs. One of the most common ones is separation anxiety. Your dog will have separation anxiety when they are not used to being apart from you.
Whether it’s because you have to leave the house for the majority of the day or just had to step out of their sight for a moment, dogs with separation anxiety will react negatively to the loss of your presence. Dogs who have separation anxiety don’t like being left alone and can exhibit symptoms with just an impending departure from you. One thing you have to realize is that separation anxiety possibly comes from past experience(s) of being abandoned or neglected, especially if your dog is a rescue that has been rehomed.
With this in mind, you should also note that phobias and trauma can cause anxiety in dogs. Much like with humans, the memory of a bad experience in the past can cause dog anxiety.
2. External causes
Another possible cause for anxiety are environmental stressors. If your dog is in an unfamiliar event or situation, it may cause them to be fearful and anxious. Dogs who are not used to traveling long distances can get anxious while in transit, whether it’s in a car or even flying in a plane. A change in scenery can also cause anxiety, so watch out for symptoms if your dog is new in your home or you’ve moved houses recently.
Stressors can also include the presence of unfamiliar people or things in your dog’s environment. If you have visitors in your home, your dog might express their anxiety by barking at the newcomers. Even a new item in your home can cause your dog to start barking like crazy.
3. Internal causes
Finally, physical factors can also cause your dog’s anxiety. Aging and physical discomfort can cause dogs to become anxious because they tend to make your dog develop a fear, phobia, or even general anxiety. With aging comes changes in your dog’s body, not just in the physical sense but also mentally.
To relieve your dog’s anxiety, you’ll need some dog anxiety remedies to make them feel better and more relaxed.
7 Dog Anxiety Remedies
To keep your dog from having any more anxious episodes, it’s good to utilize dog anxiety remedies. There are several ways you could do this, and you might have to do a trial and error run before you determine the best approach for your dog.
Socialization is something that any dog has to be taught from the get-go. If you’re not convinced, then maybe knowing that it can help reduce your dog’s anxiety will do the trick. Not only does this equip your dog to deal with other pets and strangers properly and with ease, but it also helps with behavioral problems.
2. Obedience Training
In the same manner, training your dog will also help divert their energies into something more productive. Instead of being on edge all the time, you can teach your dog to respond to basic commands like “Quiet”. Training also develops a relationship between you and your dog, allowing them to put more trust in you in all kinds of situations.
Exercising your dog also helps them redirect their energy. It gives you time to bond, and can help get rid of your dog’s nervous energy. Choose a breed-appropriate exercise, as some breeds need more while others (smaller ones, usually) only require little amounts. Running, walking, jogging, hiking, playing catch/ fetch, and training games are all possible exercises. Your dog will be both fit and calm.
4. Herbs / Teas
If you have a herb garden and/or have herbal teas around the house, giving your dog’s food a few herbal additions can help calm them down. Some of the herbs that can reduce your dog’s anxiety are Lemon Balm, Chamomile, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, or Jasmine. Green Tea can also help them relax and reduce their nerves to avoid anxiety.
If you don’t have these herbs handy in your home, you can also opt to buy supplements that have calming ingredients. The advantage of that is that these are specially made for calming down anxious dogs and often have doses depending on your dog’s size.
Calming supplements may have any of these common ingredients, as well as some of the herbs mentioned above:
6. Put On Calming Sounds
Humans and plants aren’t the only ones who are affected by music. Animals also respond to the music they hear. Dogs in particular, are responsive to classical music the same way we are: it helps calm them down.
If you want something more au naturale, record the sounds of your home when you’re around to play it when you’re away. You can record yourself reading in a calm manner to assure your dog with your tone of voice and play the recording when you’re not (or even when you are) home.
If the natural remedies and supplements don’t work, then it may be time to head over to the vet for anti-anxiety medications. Apart from being able to help you realize why the other remedies aren’t working, your vet can also give you better insight on your dog’s anxiety. You’ll be better equipped to deal with any future attacks with prescripted medication for your dog and a better understanding of their anxiety.
Here is a list of the possible anti-anxiety or calming medications that your vet may prescribe:
While you may recognize some of these as anti-anxiety medications that humans also use, don’t attempt to medicate your dog without proper dosage instructions from your vet.
One of the most important things that you must keep in mind while using these dog anxiety remedies is that your dog’s mood is largely reliant on your own. Even if you’re worried about your anxious dog, don’t allow them to sense that you’re on edge. Be as calm as you can be as your own mood will influence theirs.
Identify the cause of your dog’s anxiety before choosing a course of action. If it’s something more pressing like anxiety from a physical injury, then skip the remedies and head for the vet. If it’s an environmental stress, then try to reduce the exposure to the stressor allow your dog to feel safe with you.
Don’t validate your dog’s aggressive, destructive, or clingy anxious behaviors. Instead, act as if everything’s normal, but use your body language to tell your dog that they are safe in your presence.
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