Dogs are sensitive creatures and can often fall victim to anxiety, depression, and loneliness. However, with the right amount of love, attention, and care, you can give your dog the happy, content life that he deserves.
Dog anxiety can afflict all breeds and dogs of all ages. While occasional feelings of anxiety triggered by a certain event are understandable and nothing out of the ordinary, the persistence of the feeling can drastically affect your dog’s well-being. You, as your dog’s parent, need to take action so that your dog can live a happy and fulfilled life.
- Before you can begin to help your dog get through this phase, you need to be able to understand it first. Here’s everything you need to know about dog anxiety and how to get it under control.
Causes of Anxiety in Dogs
Three main causes are known to be a source of anxiety in dogs
Fear: fear-related anxiety can be triggered by loud noises like fireworks, car horns, and/or loud sounds by other animals. It can also be brought on when faced with strange, unfamiliar visual stimuli, or being introduced to new surroundings.
Separation: About 14% of all dogs suffer through this. Separation anxiety makes the dog unable to stay alone without company, even if for a few hours. It’ll need a constant company for comfort. This is often the case with abandoned dogs.
Age: Senior dogs often suffer through age-related anxiety because of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). This brings on Alzheimer-like conditions, causing confusion and anxiety in dogs.
Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
Watch out for these symptoms as these can indicate that your dog is getting anxious. If you can spot the tell-tale signs, you can be there for him and help him calm down.
- Incessant barking
- Soiling inside the house
- Destructive Behaviour
Keeping Dog Anxiety Under Control
If you suspect your dog might be suffering from anxiety, you should consult your vet. The vet can help you pinpoint the type and severity of the anxiety and draw up a treatment plan to help curb and control it. There are two possible treatment routes to take:
Training: Dogs can be trained to become desensitized to the stimuli that are causing them anxiety. This is done by introducing the dog to the stimuli and then rewarding them for facing it. This is an effective way but takes time and patience. Counterconditioning is also an option where the dog is trained to change his response to the stimulus.
Medication: If the anxiety is severe, your vet might prescribe some anxiety medication for your dog to keep it under control. New studies have shown that CBD oil is also very effective at soothing dog anxiety.
There is nothing more important to a dog parent than their dog’s happiness and well-being, so keep on the lookout for signs of dog anxiety. If you think your dog is exhibiting symptoms of dog anxiety, talk to your vet.