5 Tips on How to Deal With Dog Anxiety - Healthy Dog World

5 Tips on How to Deal With Dog Anxiety


Did you know that dogs also experience anxiety? As pet owners, it could be heartbreaking to witness our furry friends dealing with symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis. However, while it seems alarming, anxiety is actually a pretty normal condition that dogs have. The problem is that anxiety in dogs can manifest in several ways. Some of the most common signs of anxiety are excessive barking or howling, unusual panting or drooling, restlessness, trembling, and shaking. 

In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of dog anxiety and suggest multiple ways on how we can responsibly deal with it. Read on to find out more!

What is causing my dog’s anxiety?

As pet owners, the first thing to do is to determine what is causing anxiety in our pups and then find the best way to treat our canine companion. There are several scenarios that can trigger anxiety in dogs. Check out some of the most common ones below:

  • Separation Anxiety - Dogs are social creatures. There are probably only a handful of dog breeds that actually enjoy being left alone. If you notice excessive whining and barking or destructive behavior whenever you leave the house, chances are your dog has separation anxiety. Here’s a great description by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “When a dog’s problems are accompanied by other distress behaviors, such as drooling and showing anxiety when his pet parents prepare to leave the house, they aren’t evidence that the dog isn’t house trained or doesn’t know which toys are his to chew. Instead, they are indications that the dog has separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to.”

  • Trauma and Stress - Trauma and stress can contribute to dog anxiety. You typically see this in shelter dogs or rescues that have been abandoned by their previous family or have experienced physical trauma from their previous owners. This type of anxiety can also be evident during social situations where dogs are hesitant to interact with other people or scenarios that cause them to be aggressive around other dogs.

  • Generalized Anxiety - While symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder vary in dogs, some of the most common signs to look for are nervousness, shaking, and hyper-reactivity. At times, generalized anxiety doesn’t even have to have a “trigger” and could manifest without warning. 

The best way to deal with your dog’s anxiety is to talk with your veterinarian. Your vet should be able to help you determine your dog’s anxiety triggers and suggest treatment methods to help them overcome these stressful situations. If you think your pet is displaying symptoms of anxiety, here are some ways that you can help.

Provide plenty of physical activity

Providing plenty of exercise for your anxious dog helps ease their mind and enables them to spend more time with you. As a responsible dog owner, make sure to put in the time and effort to establish a great relationship with your dog especially if they are experiencing anxiety symptoms. Taking your dog out for a walk and playing with them burn off excess energy that can be brought about by feelings of anxiousness.

Stimulate their minds

There are some dogs that develop anxiety because they need mental stimulation. Sometimes, keeping your dog mentally stimulated is all you have to do to help them overcome symptoms of anxiety. According to the American Kennel Club, there are several training strategies that pet parents can use to help their anxious dog. One of the best training strategies to treat dog anxiety is counterconditioning. Counterconditioning refers to changing your dog’s response to anxiety triggers by replacing unwanted behavior with more desirable behavior. For instance, if your dog excessively barks and whines whenever they feel anxious, train them to focus on you and give commands that they can redirect their attention to.

Check out desensitization strategies

Like mental stimulation, desensitization strategies also help your dog gradually overcome their anxiety triggers. The way it works is that owners introduce triggers in extremely low levels to urge pets to be less reactive. Through continued and increased exposure, pets will eventually become desensitized whenever they encounter their most common anxiety triggers. 

Seek the help of a professional

Again, the best thing to do is to consult your veterinarian. Remember, your vet is the second most important person in your pet’s life. Not only are they in charge of their physical well-being, but they are also responsible for making sure that your pet’s mind is healthy. If you think your furry pal is experiencing some anxiety symptoms, don’t wait for it to get worse. Talk to your vet immediately!

Opt for calming treats

Calming treats are non-medicinal remedies specifically formulated to soothe your dog during episodes of anxiety. From separation anxiety to visiting the veterinarian, calming treats should be able to help your dog manage stressful situations. While the above-mentioned tips definitely work, it also helps to have a multimodal approach in dealing with your pup’s anxiety issues. Opting for calming treats is a great way to supplement your other efforts.

Do you have other suggestions on dealing with pet anxiety? Let us know in the comments below!

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