how do you help an anxious dog

How do you help an anxious dog? Simple tips to follow to help your dog.

Dogs, like many animals, can become anxious at some point in their lives. Anxiety in dogs is usually caused by some change in the dog’s routine or something unusual appearing or happening in your dog’s environment.

The best way to deal with dog anxiety is to identify the cause of the stress and then dealing with that and putting things right. When dealing with your dog be patient and quiet, look at things from your dog’s point of view and provide a safe place for him to escape to. Try not to disrupt your dog’s routine and keep things familiar, such as playtime, walks and feeding. You can provide him with treats and toys to help to distract him when he seems anxious.

Your dog cannot tell you how he is feeling but, if you watch him and are familiar with how he normally behaves, then you should be able to recognise changes in his behaviour and identify any symptoms of stress and anxiety.

There are several general symptoms that could be signs that your dog is feeling anxious:

  • Quivering and crouching down
  • Excessive panting, drooling or licking of lips
  • Large levels of howling, barking or whining
  • Lack of appetite
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea
  • Unsettled behaviour
  • Destructive behaviour

If your dog displays some of the above then it is possible that he may be stressed or anxious and there can be a number of reasons for this anxious behaviour.

It is important to try and look at things from your dog’s perspective to try and identify and understand what could be upsetting him, and to remember that things that seem harmless to you could be a big issue for your dog.

What things can make a dog anxious?

Fireworks and thunder

There are some dogs that become really frightened during thunderstorms or when they hear fireworks.

There are some ‘dog experts’ that suggest that you ‘acclimatise’ your dog to these types of noises as a form of ‘cure’. For a dog that is already anxious at these noises, this type of ‘treatment’ could make things much, much worse and send him over the edge.

Far better for you to simply make life easier for your dog. Create a safe, quiet environment in the home. Shut the doors, close the curtains and settle down with your dog, keeping him calm and helping him to feel safe and secure.

For dogs that are really anxious you can try plug in pheromone diffusers and sprays which release natural hormones to keep your dog calm and relaxed.

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How do you help an anxious dog_

Parties and noisy celebrations

If you have parties or events where there are lots of people then these can be stressful for some dogs who simply struggle to cope with the levels of attention and noise.

Dogs can get over excited when meeting lots of new people and, like toddlers, can get carried away, doing things that they wouldn’t normally do.

Some dogs can get very wary of strangers entering their home, with their strange smells and looks and, if they are noisy, then your dog could feel threatened by these unfamiliar people, even thinking that they are a threat and a source of danger.

If you are able to then provide your dog with a safe place where he can settle down and goto sleep, a room perhaps, where he won’t be disturbed. Provide him with a comfortable place to lie down, keep him warm and consider using one of the many plugin diffusers if he is particularly sensitive.

 If you are looking for a comfortable bed for your dog then take a look at Etsy. We found some unique and great dog beds that you won’t see anywhere else. You can see them here.

Loud noises

We often forget how sensitive our dog’s hearing can be. Sounds that are familiar and harmless to us can be totally different to your dog, in terms of volume, pitch and his understanding.

Seemingly innocent sounds such as the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, mobile phones and other things that make noises can cause stress for your dog.

The best way to deal with this type of anxiety cause is to remove them from your dog’s life. If you a vacuuming, for example, then try to do it when the dog is in another room, or, better still, get another family member to take him out for a walk while you do it.

A little bit of thinking gets you there.

Moving home

Moving house is one of the most stressful things that a human being can do – and generally they understand why is is happening and what is going on.

Now, imagine that you are a dog. Making changes to your dog’s environment is extremely stressful for even the most laid back of dogs and most dogs will be confused, worried and stressed.

In this type of situation it is best to provide your dog with somewhere that he is familiar with where he can feel and be safe and secure, making sure that he has bedding, food and water and that he is as comfortable as possible.

If you move into a new place then you should plan to spend a few days with your dog after the move. Don’t abandon him and go off to work, take some time off and help him to settle in. Keep his old bedding with his old, familiar smells on them to help him to feel comfortable and safe.

Remember that a new house will not smell anything like th old one and that this will be a big concern for your dog for a while until his smell and that of you and your family and your belongings, spread around the new property.

He will settle in eventually and some dogs are more adaptable than others. You should be prepared, however, for a few days of unsettled behaviour while your dog adjusts to his new home.

Lack of dog privacy

Sometimes your dog just wants to get away from it all and rest in a safe and comfortable place that he can call his own.

Dogs like to have a peaceful den and there are a wide range of indoor dog kennels available, many of which serve a dual purpose of household furniture, that are great for creating the doggy den that your pooch needs to feel safe and secure.

One of the best indoor dog kennels that I’ve seen recently is the Fido Nook Luxury Dog Bed which is available on Omlet. This great dog bed looks just like a piece of furniture and is suitable for all sizes of dogs. You can see the kennel here on Omlet.

Other pets

Your dog can be sensitive to other pets around the house. Dogs like to live in harmony with the rest of the family and, as far as your dog is concerned, a cat or another dog, is just another family member. 

If your dog is being bullied by another animal or intimidated then this can be a source of anxiety. It could be over food, toys, sleeping areas and other things.

As a dog owner you will need to be concious of the effect that other pets have on your dog and do your best to ensure that competition between your pets is minimised as much as possible.

Make sure that your dog has his own bed, his own bowls, leads, coat, toys and do your best to encourage the animals to get along with each other. through play, shared walks and family adventures.

Children

Children can be noisy, rapid and excitable. You should never leave a young child alone with a dog, regardless of how much you trust the dog or how gentle you think the dog is.

Older dogs can become stressed at the noise levels of children and frequently children can miss the warning signs that a dog will often display when he is trying to tell the children to go away and leave him alone.

Often a dog will bite out of anxiety or stress because adults have failed to supervise children who have gone onto stress the dog, which then bites.

Always introduce children carefully to a dog, show them the right way to approach the dog, slowly and quietly and always supervise them. Tell children that the dog is not a toy and that he needs to be allowed to sleep andbe left alone when he is tired.

Conclusion

It is a fact that dogs can and do become anxious and stressed. The key to dealing with dog anxiety is to consider the cause and to do your best to remove it and to help your dog to deal with the effects.

If you try to see things through the eyes of your dog and look at how he might perceive certain items and situations then you will be a step nearer to helping prevent anxiety and to helping him to cope.

There are lots of useful books that can help you to see life through the eyes of a dog and one of the best has to be ‘Inside of a Dog’ by Alexander Horowitz – it’s a great book and you will find it on Amazon here.

Sale
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
  • Horowitz, Alexandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 415 Pages - 02/01/2012 (Publication Date) - Scribner Book Company (Publisher)

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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