By Kennedy Murray
Understanding the Anxiety
Is your dog pacing, non-stop panting, trembling, avoiding contact, or experiencing spontaneous bowl movements? They also may experience destructive behaviors in the home and aggressive behaviors around people.
Dogs experiences anxiety just like humans do. It’s not always apparent to why a dog is acting anxious or nervous, but by watching them and ruling out issues you may suspect, it can become a bit easier to determine.
While it can be complicated to deal with, and there isn’t always a reason why it happens; there are some steps that can be put in place to try and help a dog dealing with anxiety. First it is important to understand what type of anxiety your dog might be experiencing and have a conversation with your veterinarian.
Dogs suffering from Social Anxiety or Fear-Related Anxiety are typically more anxious when there are strange people around, loud noises, new surroundings (environment) or specific situations such as being around water, going for a car ride or going to the vets. This social anxiety stems from a dog not receiving early socialization.
Dogs suffering from Separation Anxiety this is the “destructive” behaviour, dogs that suffer from separation anxiety typically can’t find themselves getting comfortable once everyone has left the house. These dogs may destroy furniture, bark/howl and use the house as a bathroom.
Some dogs suffer from Former Shelter Anxiety. They are the dogs who have spent a long time in shelters, with the memory of being left there, or have experienced something traumatic before they were brought there. This anxiety typically turns into separation anxiety at the fear of being abandoned again.
Now, How to Help your Anxious Dog.
Exercise is vital to a dog’s life, for the dog’s development, health, and physical needs. Getting out that pent-up energy by going for a walk or long game of fetch. Taking care of their needs can prevent problem behaviours.
Training helps to keep a dog’s mind relaxed and the body busy. It helps establish trust, plus a well-trained dog is easier to get to socialize.
Swaddling can help calm an anxious dog during thunderstorms or fireworks, the swaddle places pressure on the dog’s torso that creates a calming effect.
Homeopathy is the use of herbal and nutritional supplements. Consult a holistic veterinarian for dosage and product recommendations for what your dog should be taking. Many people now use CBD oil when treating a dog with anxiety, there claims from owners that it does wonders. Always consult a veterinarian before giving your dog anything that is not prescribed from them.
Veterinarian treatment plan is the most important when dealing with a dog with anxiety, they can help you determine the type of anxiety a dog is experiencing as well as the possible triggers. In some cases’ medications, preventive strategies and training are the best ways to treat the anxiety due to there being a variety of potential causes.
In my experience of working with dogs at a shelter, I have learned a lot regarding the time and patience you must have to do training with the dogs that benefits them and their needs. Aside from having worked in a dog shelter as well I own a 6-year-old German Sheppard with separation anxiety; it has been a long process to get him where he is today. In the past he would eat anything in sight from carpets to couches to shoes as well as use the house as his bathroom, since the appropriate training and daily exercise routine, he has improved wonderfully. We still get bad days sometimes, but not the amount of damage he used to do.