Knowing how to help a dog with anxiety is crucial when it comes to giving your canine family member the quality of life he truly deserves. If neglected or left unchecked, dog anxiety can lead to serious behavioral problems sooner or later. Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly believe, dog anxiety is a treatable condition. And what makes things even more interesting is the fact that there are simple and natural ways to achieve this.
Using our more than a decade of combined experience in holistic medicine, my team and I at Zumalka would like to share with dog parents and animal lovers the world over that this condition can be dealt with without immediately resorting to dog anxiety meds.
Make sure you follow along to find out how to help a dog with anxiety using natural means as well as get the lowdown on the causes and symptoms of this problem. We’re also revealing our favorite home remedy for dog anxiety as you go along, too.
How about we start things off by finding out what exactly dog anxiety is?
What is dog anxiety?
Dog anxiety is the uncontrolled surge of uneasiness, dread, and fear that your canine family member could experience at a given moment. Although going through very little bouts of anxiety is totally normal for your dog, it’s a different story when your pet already experiences excessive levels of anxiety in a repeated and unexpected manner.
Not knowing how to help a dog with anxiety can eventually set off behavioral issues like over the top barking and territorial behavior, including unprovoked biting and destructive tendencies.
Now we’ve got that out of the bag, let’s discuss the types of anxiety in dogs…
Types of dog anxiety
There are basically (6) types of anxiety in dogs, which are briefly described as follows:
Age-related dog anxiety
Age-related dog anxiety is common among senior dogs whose bodies are already experiencing some significant changes in the production and management of hormones. This hormonal imbalance usually leads to feelings of confusion and disorientation, which makes older dogs more prone to unexpected fear and unease.
Dog anxiety triggered by social factors
Social anxiety is prevalent in dogs who were not nurtured to be comfortable around other dogs and animals as well as other people. This is common among dogs who are regularly tied on a leash or kept inside cages for very long periods.
Separation anxiety is typically observed in dogs who somehow got separated from their families or experienced prolonged periods of loneliness. One very common example of this type of anxiety is when a dog is suddenly left to the care of another caretaker or household. Being inherently emotional, dogs can feel high levels of agitation and nervousness during these situations.
Moreover, separation anxiety may cause early labor in pregnant dogs due to unexpected imbalances in hormonal levels. Other indicators that a pregnant dog with anxiety may go through preterm delivery also include sudden drop in body temperature, excessive clinginess, drastic loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Anxiety set off by environmental change or factors
This type of anxiety in dogs is triggered by loud noises, unfamiliar smells, strange sights, including other factors that can make a dog feel uneasy or afraid. Common examples of these factors include shouting, blaring car horns, sirens, and fireworks. There are also dogs who get very stressed when they hear the sound of thunder.
When your canine family member is ill, his body is prone to sudden hormonal fluctuations that make his senses more acute. He will be more reactive to sounds, changes in temperature, and taste, among others, which can possibly lead to a feeling of panic or dread.
However, compared to other types of dog anxiety, this one usually goes away when your dog recovers from sickness.
Anxiety triggered by a traumatic experience
This type of anxiety in dogs is often set off by a traumatic event or memory involving a specific place, person, or animal where a dog could have suffered an injury, experienced pain or some other distressing incident.
Traumatic anxiety is very common among rescue dogs who have had abusive owners or were neglected and mistreated for a long time.
Now that we’ve finished walking through the causes of anxiety in dogs, let’s discuss the symptoms that you need to look out for…
Dog anxiety symptoms
The following are the most common indicators of anxiety in dogs:
Loss of appetite
Excessive panting and drooling
Sudden changes in mood
Lack of playfulness
Sudden change in defecating and urinating routines
Next up on our checklist are the ways how to help a dog with anxiety…
How to calm an anxious dog
If you’re noticing that your canine family member is exhibiting symptoms of dog anxiety, here are the strategies you need to keep in mind to help him fix this issue:
Establish a “safe space”
Providing immediate calm and comfort should be your main priority whenever your dog is feeling anxious. This is why you need to have a “safe space” where your canine family member can have the opportunity to calm down and relieve his anxiety.
Any room can be a safe space so long as it is quiet, well-lit, and free from any unnecessary noise or activity. Although it doesn’t have to be isolated, the place should be calm and free from any possible stressors. Make sure your dog also has access to ample food and water while he is in this safe space.
Maintain regular meal times
Did you know that one of the major triggers of anxiety in dogs is hunger? This is because the hormones that are released in your canine family member’s body to signal hunger are the same as the ones that are discharged when he is feeling anxious.
And it is highly likely that your dog will misinterpret his hunger for anxiety. Making sure that you maintain regular meal times helps prevent this from happening. Additionally, cutting back on sugary treats also helps keep dog anxiety at bay. This is because too much sugar can cause sudden mood swings in dogs and can make it tricky for them to remain calm.
Having vigorous exercise in your pet checklist can help your canine family member deal with dog anxiety. Besides encouraging the release of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine in your dog’s body, a dynamic workout also helps improve his brain’s ability to manage stress. Examples of the exercise regimens you can go for include long walks, playing fetch, and hide and seek.
In case your canine family member is having a hard time getting active, you can also play games that stimulate his mental sharpness like puzzles and using toys that emit gentle sounds and vibrations.
Give your dog plenty of cuddles and massages
Did you know that regularly giving your dog cuddles and massages activates his brain to produce feel-good hormones called oxytocin? Apart from helping relieve stress, oxytocin also lowers feelings of fear and anxiety.
The next time your canine family member is experiencing anxiety in dogs, give him a gentle massage on the forehead, ears, and chin since these are the areas that usually tense up the most.
As a bonus, frequent cuddles and massages not just help your dog remain calm, but also deepen the bond between you and your beloved pet.
Reassure him with encouraging words and gentle music
Aural cues like words and music can be used to help calm an anxious dog. What’s really interesting is that they have the same effect on your canine family member as cuddles and massages.
Instead of scolding your dog straight away when he is exhibiting anxiety-related behavioral responses like excessive chewing and unnecessary barking, soothe him with encouraging words and gentle music. Simply telling your dog you love him in a calm and reassuring voice will already help a great deal.
In case you’re having a tricky time choosing which tunes to go for to help your anxious dog relax, a lullaby will do the trick.
Know the triggers to keep clear of
It is crucial that you become familiar with the triggers that set off your dog’s anxiety so you can make the necessary changes in your routine. Examples of these include the places you visit, the activities you do, the sounds that he regularly hears, as well as the people and animals you mingle with.
Making it a point to take note of these triggers can help a lot in managing and easing your canine family member’s anxious feelings. It can also help in keeping full-blown dog anxiety episodes from taking place by keeping him calm.
Introduce gradual socialization
If your canine family member experiences anxiety when he is around other people or animals, one strategy you can go for is introducing gradual socialization. One method you can go for is to frequently take him on short walks in an environment he is familiar with— like your neighborhood.
However, the catch is that you slowly increase the length of each walk every time. Besides providing your dog with regular exercise, this also gives him the opportunity to indirectly “meet” new faces, smells, sounds, and sights. Doing this repeatedly helps boost your canine family member’s confidence and he won’t be as prone to dog anxiety in the long run.
Transform stressors and triggers into positive things
While this may sound odd at first, you can turn your dog’s stressors into positive things by applying a strategy called “counter-conditioning.” This involves lessening your canine family member’s tendency to become anxious whenever a stressor is present by giving him a treat.
For example, if your dog becomes anxious when the vacuum cleaner is turned on, simply give him a loving hug and then reward him with a treat for being brave. Apart from giving him the notion that he has nothing to worry about, he will also think of the experience as a positive one.
Now let’s check out a home remedy for anxiety in dogs that you should consider adding to your dog care essentials…
A home remedy you should take into consideration
Zumalka by HomeoAnimal’s CALMPET product is an all-natural and high-quality option that is designed to support your canine family member when he is suffering from anxiety in dogs.
It contains gelsemium, argentum nitricum, phosphorus, calcarea carbonica, lycopodium, arnica, and staphysagria, which help maintain the balance of the nervous system and improve the social behavior of your pet. Moreover, the different natural homeopathic ingredients work in synergy to promote an overall sense of serene well-being.
To use the CALMPET product to support your dog during anxiety, you simply have to give him one (1) spray either in water or directly in the mouth until the symptoms have already disappeared.
Next, let’s discuss some frequently-asked questions about anxiety in dogs…
FAQ’s you should keep in mind
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to dog anxiety:
What is stressed dog body language?
Stressed body language are physiological cues that a dog will exhibit whenever he is feeling extremely stressed or anxious. Common examples of these include tucking his tail between his legs, unnecessary barking and growling, excessive licking and panting, as well as aimless pacing.
A dog exhibiting stressed body language is highly likely to demonstrate symptoms of anxiety sooner or later if the stressors affecting him are neglected or left unchecked.
Can anxiety cause my dog to pee in the house?
The short answer is yes. Sudden changes in the defecation and urination routine of your canine family member is one of the most common indicators of dog anxiety. Moreover, this behavior can be seen even among housebroken or trained dogs who are suffering from this condition.
Can dog food cause anxiety?
While dog food, per se, does not cause anxiety in dogs, loading up on too much protein and carbohydrates may increase the likelihood of spikes and crashes in sugar levels in a dog’s body. When sugar levels are not kept in check, they tend to cause feelings of anxiety and stress.
This is why keeping a close eye on your canine family member’s diet is crucial when it comes to helping him calm down. Having reliable dog anxiety support like ANXIETY is also recommended since this issue can occur the least you expect it.
So that pretty much wraps up our walkthrough on how to help a dog with anxiety and I hope you’ve learned a lot from this article.
If you’re looking to find out more about anxiety in dogs as well as the natural products and treatment options that best fit your animal's health needs, make sure you sign up for Free Health Advisor Guidance right now.
And always remember that we are naturally with you and your pet, every step of the way!
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne co-founded Zumalka over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the Zumalka staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.
Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field and she earned her degree in Homeopathy at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France).
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