What to Do If Your Pup is Anxious

By Meagan Germaine – March 1, 2022

Most dog owners are completely aware of the joys and benefits that come along with sharing their life with pups. Dogs provide us with affection, ease our loneliness and improve our physical and mental health. 

It is commonly suggested for someone suffering from depression and/or anxiety to invest in getting a pet to alleviate their symptoms. Just providing affection to the dog (i.e. petting, hugging, cuddling) can quickly soothe someone who is stressed or anxious. 

We often focus so much on how our pets can help us, but we need not forget how important it is to help our pets when they are in need. The happiness they bring us should be reciprocated by providing them with a healthy and happy life through caring for their specific needs.

Similar to people, dogs suffer from anxiety. In fact, nearly 70% of dogs live with anxiety. Most of us are unaware of this reality and would not be able to recognize the behavior being displayed as stress and anxiety in our dog. These behaviors that dogs exhibit when experiencing anxiety are often just seen as “bad dog” behavior. In turn, we may scold dog the dog, resulting in a higher anxiety level in them than before. 

Imagine being someone suffering from anxiety and instead of someone helping you, they discipline you for your actions. That’s not going to make anyone feel better much less help them overcome what they are experiencing. This is exactly why it is important to recognize these symptoms of anxiety and treat them the proper way.

The following behaviors are tell-tale signs of anxiety in our four-legged friends: aggression, urinating or defecating in the house, excessive drooling/panting/barking, destructive behavior, depression, and panting. Some of these symptoms may be the result of a one-time event that causes some stress, but all of them can become recurring symptoms and result in more serious issues. Before the symptoms escalate into an anxiety disorder or an unfortunate situation, it is our responsibility as owners to help our furry friends.

First and foremost, the best way to treat anxiety in your pet is to speak with your veterinarian. This is quite similar to a person speaking with their doctor when experiencing stress, anxiety and/or depression. Vets can help identify the type of anxiety or stressor and any possible causes and triggers your dog may have. Identifying the source can help you better understand how to proceed with treatment. 

Woman running with dog.

Here are a number of other strategies and treatments to help treat and/or alleviate your dog’s anxiety:

  1. Exercise your dog. This can be used as a bonding time as well as a time to tire out your pet. Anxiety causes an excess of energy use. If your dog has been worn out from exercising with you, they are less likely to become anxious. Also, similar to humans, exercise produces beneficial endorphins which help relieve stress.
  2. Initiate physical contact. Your touch can be soothing to your dog. Pick them up, cuddle them, pet them. Show them all the love.
  3. Consider time-out as a punishment. As stated above, most times a dog’s anxious behavior is seen as “bad dog” behavior. Instead of punishing your dog for acting out, isolating your pet in a safe space can help calm them. A space with low lighting, quiet music and/or aromatherapy can help with a variety of anxiety symptoms.
  4. Use calming coats. These are similar to swaddling clothes for babies or weighted blankets. The constant pressure eases anxiety and stress, as it would in humans.
  5. Try CBD oil. There has been a much-reported success in using CBD oil to manage dog anxiety. CBD can help them feel more calm and relaxed.

Our dogs are similar to us in the way that many of them will experience anxiety at some point throughout their lives. It’s important to understand the causes, symptoms and possible ways to help treat them when this occurs. Our furry friends are there for us and help us in so many ways, so it’s our duty to do what we can to ensure the happiest and healthy life for them.

 

About the Author

Meagan smiling.

Meagan Germaine is a competitive bikini athlete in the WBFF and NPC. Germaine is passionate about empowering women to be mentally tough, learn how food is life and how to be their own body goals. Germaine currently works as a women’s fitness coach and is a certified elite trainer at her company, Megs Body Shop.

 
 

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