So you’re noticing that your dog seems to be pacing a lot and gets overly excited with the slightest noise lately. And he also spends most of his time cowering under the couch or some other furniture inside your home not long ago, too.
Chances are your dog is suffering from anxiety and I’ve got just the tips and tricks on how to naturally deal with this issue. Not nipping this problem in the bud can lead to even more serious issues like aggression and destructive behavior sooner or later.
Let’s first touch on what exactly dog anxiety is so you can understand it better…
What is Anxiety in Dogs?
Dog anxiety is the sudden feeling of fear, dread and uneasiness that your pet experiences at a particular time.
I’d just like to clarify that anxiety is a very natural and common emotion among dogs. However, this already becomes a problem when your pet experiences anxiety over and over at the slightest instance or even without any provocation at all.
Besides making your dog feel jittery most of the time, he will also exhibit other signs of anxiety like excessively pacing to and fro, drooling and restlessness. It’s not even uncommon for dogs experiencing severe anxiety to unexpectedly relieve themselves in the oddest of places like in the middle of the living room floor.
Now we’ve got that covered, I will now touch on the causes of anxiety in dogs…
What causes Anxiety in Dogs?
What’s really interesting about dog anxiety is that it can be set off by a number of factors. I’ll briefly discuss each of them so you can already have a preview of what may be setting off your pet’s anxiety.
Trauma is perhaps the most notable factor that sets off anxiety in dogs. This can be anything from an excruciating injury to prolonged abuse that a dog may have experienced at some point of his life.
Moreover, it is even possible that a dog’s anxiety may be even triggered by the mere memory of this traumatic experience. This is why some dogs may act differently when around certain persons, other animals or even specific places.
A dog is often prone to experiencing sudden hormonal imbalances when he is sick. When these hormones fluctuate without warning, some of his major physiological processes may be affected like his blood pressure, blood sugar, as well as his mood and stress levels.
And when a dog’s stress levels go through the roof, he may be easily vulnerable to anxiety.
When a dog gets older, it is not uncommon that he may be vulnerable to unexpected bouts of aches and pains, as well as episodes of disorientation and confusion. Additionally, these abrupt episodes of confusion may give him a constant feeling of dread and worry, which may lead to full-blown anxiety if not properly dealt with.
Getting detached from loved ones is often the root of separation anxiety. These separations are often sudden and extremely distressing for a dog, which makes him think that he is unloved and probably alone given his inherent emotional nature.
A prime example of this is the forced rehoming of puppies by unscrupulous breeding facilities This not just causes anxiety to the young dogs themselves, but also affects their biological mothers as well.
New or strange environments and situations.
A dog is very observant and perceptive of his surroundings, and will usually build up his routine and activities alongside his daily environment. However, when a dog is suddenly uprooted from one place and transferred to another, he may have a hard time adapting because he has already become familiar with his previous environment.
New noises and sounds like hearing a vacuum cleaner for the first time may make a dog nervous. Strange sights like big trucks on a busy road can potentially upset him.
Certain situations that are alien to a dog, such as being chained for prolonged periods, may also bring about the same result. Unfortunately, all of these can lead to dog anxiety sooner or later if not dealt with the right way.
Upbringing and rearing issues
If we’re being honest, there are dogs who were not given the love and attention they deserve, like the ones you usually find in shelters and rescue places. These dogs tend to have the disposition of being overly suspicious and even hostile to acts of compassion.
Since they grew up not being instilled with the idea of love and tenderness, chances are they will end up being highly vulnerable to mood issues and anxiety.
Next up, let’s touch on the symptoms of anxiety in dogs…
Dog Anxiety Symptoms
While the manifestation of anxiety may vary among dogs, here are some of the most common indicators that your pet could be going through this health problem:
Sudden aggression or hostile behavior
Tendency to hide and isolate
Lack of interest in play and in other things he usually likes to engage in
Unnecessary chewing and destructive behavior
Loss of appetite
Urinating and defecating anywhere
Excessive drooling and panting
His tail is constantly pointing downward
If you’re noticing at least three of these symptoms of anxiety in dogs, make sure you follow along because I’m going to reveal a few useful and practical tips on how to naturally calm a dog down in the next part of our discussion.
Natural Ways to Calm Down an Anxious Dog
Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly think, reaching for conventional medicines is not just your only option when it comes to calming an anxious dog. There are actually natural ways to do this, which I will now walk you through.
#1: Establish consistent meal times.
Did you know that one of the most significant triggers of anxiety in dogs is hunger? The reason for this is that the hormones responsible for signaling hunger to a dog’s brain are practically the same as those that his body releases when he is going through anxiety.
If your pet is experiencing constant hunger pangs, chances are he would already interpret this as anxiety. And the result is your dog would become jittery and restless every time he feels hungry.
One other thing to keep in mind is to only give your pet adequate amounts of food and water. Alternatively, overeating can also lead to an imbalance of hormones in the gastrointestinal tract that can bring about dog anxiety.
#2: Set up a regular bonding schedule.
Did you know that bonding with your dog actually has anti-anxiety benefits? You see, your pet’s body releases a particular type of hormone called oxytocin whenever you’re giving him a belly rub, a kiss or a big hug.
Oxytocin is basically in charge of setting off a number of emotions, namely love, compassion, closeness, appreciation, as well as other good feelings. And to make things even more interesting, the higher your dog’s oxytocin levels are, the more he’ll become resilient against anxiety.
Setting up a regular bonding schedule is as easy as taking time to show your dog love and affection daily. I’d just like to clarify that you don’t have to do this during a specific time of the day or night.
Simply keeping in mind to make your pet feel loved and cared for by giving him kisses, cuddles and hugs every day is sure to help get the job done.
#3: Avoid making your dog sedentary.
Establishing a regular workout routine for your dog won’t just strengthen him physically. Regular exercise will also stabilize the number of beneficial hormones and neurotransmitters in his system that help stave off anxiety.
Additionally, allowing your dog to become more active helps curb any destructive behavior like unnecessary chewing and biting as well. And an hour of exercise daily will already do the trick, too.
Don’t worry if you can’t provide a straight hour’s worth of exercise for your dog, though. If you have a busy schedule, you can divide it into fifteen or thirty-minute segments depending on your availability and convenience.
#4: Repeatedly remind your dog that you love and care for him.
Soothing words have an effect on your dog’s mental state. Even though your pet can’t understand the words you’re saying, his inherent emotional nature can make him feel them instead.
Interestingly, listening to relaxing music such as lullabies can bring about the same effect.
Telling your dog “I love you” while giving him a hug is definitely going to get the message across despite the language barrier.
#5: Give your dog his very own sanctuary.
It’s highly likely that an anxious dog will remain as such if he doesn’t have a safe place to relax and feel much better. If you’re noticing that your pet is going through anxiety, give him his very own sanctuary where he can calm down and feel safe.
Doing this is very straightforward, too. Pick a well-lit room that doesn’t have a lot of furnishings. Your garage or storage area are some nice examples for this one. Whenever you notice that your dog is being anxious, lead him to his sanctuary and comfort him there.
It would also be quite helpful if you have a bowl of water and a few treats in your pet’s safe space just to make him feel extra pampered.
#6: Note down his anxiety triggers.
What’s really notable about dog anxiety is that it can be triggered by a number of factors. And just to make things even more complicated, these factors can vary from one dog to another, too.
Noting down your dog’s anxiety triggers is very helpful to determine which factors you should keep clear from. While doing this mentally is already helpful, having an actual list of these factors is going to be much more convenient for you and your dog.
#7: Make socialization an integral part of his development.
Many dogs tend to have chronic anxiety because they were brought up in an isolated manner. This is especially true for pet parents and animal lovers who are living in apartments and similar residences where socializing with other people and animals can be a bit tricky.
On the other hand, this is also quite a problem with dogs who were raised in abusive households and have been rescued by shelters. Integrating socialization in your dog’s routine isn’t going to be that technical, though.
Just slowly introduce him to people and animals that are in his surroundings. You could start with the postman, then move on to the next-door neighbors and their pet. After that you can maybe drop by the local park.
Do this deliberately and consistently, but not in a way that’s stressful for your dog or else the whole thing will become counterproductive.
#8: Integrate stressors with fun activities.
Does your dog have a love-hate relationship with the vacuum cleaner? Or does he usually take cover when a loud thunderclap is heard? When your dog exhibits anxiety when these stressors are present, it’s really helpful to integrate some positive bits and pieces to make the situation more tolerable and even fun for your pet.
Here’s one that really helped me…
The next time you need to use the vacuum cleaner, use the nozzle first to gently tickle your dog’s tummy and ears or softly run it along his back. Make your dog feel that it can’t hurt him. Afterward, remember to give him a loving pat on the head and a treat to really seal the deal.
And while we’re on the subject of naturally dealing with anxiety in dogs, here’s a high-quality product that you should consider including in your pet care checklist…
A High-Quality Natural Product You Should Consider
Zumalka’s CALMPET is primarily designed to uplift your dog’s overall mood and disposition so he will be much more responsive when dealing with stress. This natural product also helps maintain the balance of your pet’s nervous system and improve his social behavior at the same time.
CALMPET is packed with various natural homeopathic ingredients that work in synergy to promote an overall sense of serene well-being. It can be used to support your pet during bouts of tremors, fear, nervousness, hypersensitivity to noises and apprehension, among others.
A Quick Reminder
Anxiety in dogs is just one of the health issues that can be alleviated by the use of pet homeopathy. If your pooch is suffering from other conditions, you can simply avail of our Online Homeopathic Consultation to get to the root of his problem instead of just treating the symptoms.
Moreover, it also works well for all types of conditions—especially for animals dealing with multiple, chronic or behavioral issues. Take charge of your pet’s health by checking out our Online Homeopathic Consultation right now.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues.
Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA.
When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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