Anxiety is generally categorized as a feeling of uneasiness and worry, which in turn triggers nervous behaviors. As much as we’d like to believe our beloved pets are strong and happy-go-lucky, dog anxiety is a common reality. Some owners might complain about their pet urinating around the house, barking loudly, constantly chewing, and demonstrating other types of atypical behavior when left alone. What most of us don’t immediately realize is that dog anxiety is the root cause of this behavior.
"You think I urinated the house coz I feel like doing that??? I just want to show that I am feeling uncomfortable and stressed!" Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell us immediately when something is wrong. They will, however, be able to clearly show you that they’re feeling worried or stressed about something. One thing is clear here: if your doggie is acting in a way that’s unusual for him, you may need to pay more attention to his needs and fears to reduce further risks and inconveniences caused by dog anxiety. First, let’s talk about the causes of this behavior:
"Pay more attention to me, please…"
Causes of Dog Anxiety
Illnesses or Injuries
An illness or painful injury might cause fear or anxiety in dogs. Infectious viruses and toxic conditions can lead to rapid changes in your dog’s behavior, and trouble adjusting.
"I feel unwell :("
Aging is an inevitable process for any living creature, and both owners and their pets will need to adjust to the physical and psychological changes they undergo with time. Dogs may experience aging in different ways and have difficulty handling these changes.
"I am just getting old…"
Forced Confinement and Inability to Escape
Being forced into something is not the best feeling in the world for anyone. But for our sensitive canine friends, it is more likely to develop into a serious dog anxiety or phobia. Terrible experiences, like being forced into crates or feeling like one cannot escape, are very common causes of anxiety.
Terrible experiences, like being forced into crates or feeling like one cannot escape, are very common causes of anxiety.
Fear of Loud Noises
Disliking or even fearing loud noises isn't uncommon. If you notice worried and nervous behavior during a thunderstorm or see him anxiously trying to hide from fireworks, he most likely has a noise sensitivity.
"I hate those loud fireworks!!!"
This is very commonly seen in dogs when they haven’t been socially acclimatized within the first 14 weeks of their life. This can create difficulty getting along with others when they meet them for the first time. They may feel nervous and uneasy among people and other pets later in life.
"I am very social, you should remember that!"
This is the most common type of dog anxiety. Your pet may develop separation anxiety from previous experiences, for example, if they were re-homed more than once, taken from one shelter to another, or left home alone by a previous owner. In cases where a dog has a strong emotional attachment to their owner, separation can also be particularly hard. Dogs might act strange, urinate or continue barking when left alone. Such behavior when you aren’t around simply means that your dog is depressed and anxious.
"Please, don’t leave me alone....please."
Solutions to Help Manage Dog Anxiety
What can you actually do to help fight dog anxiety? Your vet can examine your dog and his behavior and give advice accordingly. In a lot of cases, for example, dog anxiety wrap is being used to calm the pet and lessen the active or aggressive movements, while helping to reduce the anxiety. In a lot of cases, anti-anxiety medications are the way to go, since they do work relatively fast. However, just like in almost every case, if you can go the natural homemade way, go for it! Keep the following natural anti-anxiety formulas in mind to help your friend.
"Yes, I prefer natural!"
Cup o' Tea: Chamomile
Not just for restless humans! This herb is one of the most effective calming solutions. Chamomile tea can be a great soother for a canine friend experiencing dog anxiety.
Good Old-Fashioned Oats
Besides being a great start to your day, oats are also quite beneficial for the physical and mental health of your pet. Add cooked oats to one of their daily meals to help calm their nerves.
A Little Bit of Soul: Calming Music
Is there a better to calm the nerves than listening to pleasant and soothing music? Our dogs love it too, as it helps reduce anxiety attacks and makes them feel more relaxed. In additions to these remedies, there are several key components within your control which can help maintain your dog’s overall well-being.
"Love me as much as you can and everything will be OK!" A calm and stress-free daily environment will lessen a dog’s anxiety. Having frequent social exposure to other pets and people will help ensure that external factors don’t lead to anxiety. Don’t punish your canine pet for an aggressive behavior which is likely anxiety-induced. Love them, and take care of them. Make sure to reward your pet when they exhibit good behavior. Your pet will reflect attention and kindness right back to you!