Anxiety is not just a common symptom of concern in human beings but also in animals. Many dogs who are pets suffer from anxiety. This can stem from many factors like separation from the owner (separation anxiety) or shelter environment. Anxiety can be treated. It can be managed. Anxiety can manifest in many ways like barking, shivering, destructive or hostile behavior, social withdrawal.
Causes of Anxiety in Dogs
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The causes of anxiety are fear of being alone, loud noises, strangers, other animals. Anxiety can be caused by loud noises, strange people or animals, visual stimuli like hats, and strange environments. There can be specific situations that can be a cause of anxiety in dogs like vet’s office, wood floors. Car rides can also be a stressor for dogs. Dogs also suffer separation anxiety. It is not possible for the owner to be with their pet for the whole day. There can be age-related anxiety like cognitive dysfunction syndrome. This leads to decline in memory, learning and perception.
Dealing with Anxiety in Dogs
Exercise your pet
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The best thing to ease anxiety in pets is to have a bonding time with them. This can be exercising. Exercising will help reduce anxiety just like it does in human beings. You can take your pet to play ball. You can take him to a long walk. You can provide physical contact and talk to him. Exercise can help produce endorphins. You should give him a healthy diet. Exercise paired with a healthy diet can really help.
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The owner’s touch is the most soothing thing to pets. You can pick them up. You can cuddle with them. You can give them a long petting session. You should touch and comfort them. You can provide massage and snuggles.
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A massage calms down an anxious human. And so does it work with dogs. Anxiety leads to tension in muscles. So, massage therapy can relieve stress. Start at the neck. Then go downwards with slow strokes. Keep one hand on the dog. The other can be used for massage. You would be able to find out where the dog has greater amount of stress. And you can work on that area. Talking to your dog while massaging is also something that can help.
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Music therapy is beneficial for both humans and animals. The music calms down the pets. It makes them relaxed. You can play music and the music will show its effects. Music can also help pets with noise sensitivity. So, your pet would not be scared by noises on the street anymore. You can play calming music. It can combat loneliness too. Music is a soothing mechanism to ease things out. Classical music helps a great deal in anxiety for pets. Music works wonders with pets. The music should be soft. Music helps bring a hormonal equilibrium.
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You can give your pet some time-out by isolating him in a safe and quiet space. It can have some soothing music, low lights and some aromatherapy also. So, this will help reduce your dog’s anxiety.
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Calming coats apply mild pressure on the dog’s body. So, they can comforting. They can reduce separation anxiety and stranger anxiety. They can also reduce anxiety caused by travel or noise. You can buy Thundershirts for them. They can wrap your pet with gentle pressure and this can reduce anxiety.
Learning Dog’s Body Language
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Your dog communicates to you how he is feeling. So, you have to understand it. You should keep an eye on how your dog is feeling. So, if he is irritable, you can make out that maybe he is anxious.
Removing the stressors
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You need to remove the triggers that are leading to anxiety. If your dog is afraid of other dogs, you can skip going to the dog park. If he is afraid of people, you can take him out when there are fewer people outside. You can play games inside the home.
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Mentally stimulating toys can be of help to dogs with anxiety. Toys with sensory textures and sounds can help. Puzzles toys can be entertaining. These will distract them from worries.
Using distraction as a technique
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If your dog is anxious, you can use distraction as a technique. You can introduce a game like fetch, or you can rub the dog on the neck. You can involve the dog in some familiar activities. You can then reward your dog with nice food. You can introduce toys also.
Staying calm yourself
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Dogs are very perceptive. So, if you are anxious and nervous, they quickly pick up that energy. So, when you are with your pet, don’t be anxious. Don’t make anxious gestures. You should not take your dog to a place that can be stressful for him.
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You should reward your pet’s good behavior. Rewarding has shown positive results. You can get your pet some nice food.
Speak to a vet
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A vet is a trained specialized doctor for pets. So, he can better tell how you can deal with anxiety in pets. He can tell you about the type of anxiety. He can come up with strategies to lower down anxiety in your pet. Seeking professional help is always the best. He can put together a plan to change the response of your pet.
Pets are a family member in people’s lives. So, it is a responsibility to take care of them. Their mental health is also as important as their physical health. Both are linked. If you provide proper exercise to your pet, he would be less anxious. There are so many ways to deal with anxiety in dogs. You have to monitor your pet’s body language. Look at their behavioral changes. You can apply techniques like music therapy, massage, positive reinforcement, and time-out. You can talk to a vet also. Anxiety is temporary. You also have to know your pet’s demeanor and his daily routine. You need to re-examine it. It is also essential to provide your pet with healthy food. You also need to remain happy in front of him so that he catches that energy.