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Anxiety in Dogs – The ultimate guide to Dog Anxiety

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Dogs experience anxiety just like we do, and for a whole variety of reasons, some of which might come as a surprise to new dog owners. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a young puppy or an aging senior, as anxiety affects any dog at any age. 

It can be easy to miss if you’re not aware of the signs and causes of dog anxiety. Until that is, it becomes a long-term issue you must deal with. 

That’s why it’s crucial for pet owners facing this tricky issue to learn as much as possible about how anxiety often manifests itself in their canine companions. 

Armed with the correct information, you can create a calm, stress-free environment for your highly-strung furry friend…

 …and you!

This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of the types of anxiety that affect many dogs, how to recognize the signs your dog has anxiety, and how to manage it.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.

Causes of Anxiety in Dogs

Just knowing what causes anxiety in your furry friend can help you better understand how to prevent it and manage it when it happens. 

Here are the common causes of anxiety in dogs:

Being Separated from Their Owner

Often referred to as Separation Anxiety, this condition occurs when your dog becomes overly attached and dependent on you. When left alone for long periods, dogs can exhibit symptomatic behaviors such as barking, chewing furniture, urinating inside the house, and many others due to their separation from you.

According to the AKC, some 14% of dogs suffer from this type of anxiety.

Past Traumatic Experiences

While most dogs are pretty hardy and able to cope with adversity, some may internalize fear and develop anxieties from traumatic events that have occurred in the past.

These disturbing incidents can include physical or emotional abuse, unfamiliar environments, loud noises, chaotic households, rough handling during grooming, or anything else that might cause panic in your dog

Even something as seemingly harmless as an enthusiastic hug could be enough to trigger fear responses if your dog has had a traumatic past. 

Lack of Socialization and Exposure to New Environments and People

Dogs are incredibly social because they are, by nature, pack animals. Contact with other animals and people is essential in making them feel safe and secure.

A critical factor in sudden dog aggression when exposed to strangers, groups of dogs, or new places is a lack of proper socialization.

Dogs not accustomed to being around others might find new situations overwhelming or may not know how to respond appropriately.

A scared dog might become defensive to protect themselves from what they perceive as a potential threat.

Regular exposure to new people or environments is essential for a dog to learn appropriate interaction.

Changes in Routine or Living Environment

You may have already noticed this with your dog, but our furry friends are creatures of habit. They’re not too keen on disrupting their routine, and in some dogs, this can cause tremendous stress. 

Moving to a new home, introducing new people into their lives, or even just changing up their feeding schedule can all be sources of anxiety for your dog. 

Illness or Aging

Dogs entering their twilight years can be prone to illnesses such as dementia and cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). These can, unfortunately, lead to confusion and disorientation, both of which are common reasons for anxiety. 

Chronic pain from medical conditions like arthritis can also contribute to feelings of stress and discomfort in our senior dogs. Take extra special care to stay on top of any physical ailments that might be causing your older pup stress. Doing this will deal with the issues quickly and effectively before they become an even bigger problem. 

Lack of Mental and Physical Stimulation

Dogs that don’t get enough mental or physical stimulation will become bored and restless, which can trigger anxious behavior.

This is symptomatic of a lack of attention or opportunities to exercise or interact with others. 

When dogs don’t get enough mental stimulation, their brains start producing stress hormones that put them at risk for developing health problems such as depression or aggression towards other animals or people. 

Noise Sensitivity

Loud sounds can cause extreme stress and fear in dogs that suffer from acute noise anxiety. This can range from thunderstorms and fireworks to more subtle noises such as car alarms or vacuum cleaners. 

Genetics or Breed Predisposition

Certain breeds of dogs seem to be more predisposed to anxiety than others. 

For example, herding breeds tend to be more anxious due to their history as working dogs. 

Years of breeding for high energy levels, quick reactions, and alertness can result in higher stress or fear levels in dogs when they face new or unfamiliar situations.

Some breeds might be more prone to anxiety due to their size or excitability, while others might be less prone because of a calmer temperament.

In either case, understanding your specific breed’s tendencies can help you identify potential triggers for anxiety before they occur.

Poor Training or Lack of Boundaries in the Household

If dogs don’t receive the proper training early, it can create anxiety issues as they grow older. 

Without guidance and structured training, they may not know how to behave when confronted with unknown people, another dog, or new circumstances.

Dogs that are allowed too much freedom without any rules or boundaries may become stressed out due to the unpredictability of their environment. This can make them feel anxious, and this anxiety can lead to behavior problems such as your dog becoming destructive and, in more extreme cases, aggressive.

Confinement or Restriction

Dogs are naturally curious and need to be able to explore and patrol their territory to feel secure. When our furry friends are kept in one place for too long, their natural desire for exploration is stifled. 

anxious pup chewing bars

If left in a small space, such as a crate, for too long, dogs with anxiety are likely to feel trapped and vulnerable, and this can cause fear and panic. This is especially true if your frightened friend can hear strange noises nearby.

Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

Several common signs may indicate that your dog is experiencing anxiety. We’ve helpfully broken them into physical and behavioral symptom categories.

Physical Symptoms of dog anxiety include:

  • Panting or heavy breathing
  • Shaking and nervous trembling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme drooling
  • Highly increased heart rate
  • Excessive shedding and hair loss
  • Lethargy, loss of motivation

Behavioral Symptoms of anxiety in dogs include:

  • Non-stop barking
  • Destructive behavior, such as chewing, ripping, digging, and scratching
  • Yawning
  • Lip-licking
  • Pacing and acting restless
  • Peeing and pooping in inappropriate places
  • Hiding and avoiding
  • Aggressiveness
  • Self-harm, such as constant licking or chewing of their skin, paws, or tail
  • Escaping or attempted escape from a confined area
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Hyperactivity
  • Timid or submissive behavior
  • An intense attachment to their owner, resulting in clinginess

Type of Anxiety

All dogs can suffer from anxiety, and it comes in many forms. 

Knowledge is power when it comes to tackling this condition. Understanding the different types of anxiety and the symptoms associated with each can help you identify any potential issues with your furry friend quickly and effectively.

Separation Anxiety

If you’ve ever had to leave your dog home alone, you may have noticed signs of anxiety or distress. This behavior is known as separation anxiety and is characterized by extreme fear or depression when a dog becomes separated from their owner.

Any one of a variety of factors can cause separation anxiety, including  

  • Changes to the environment
  • New routines
  • Past trauma
  • Lack of exercise
  • A new baby
  • A death in the family
  • Medical issues
  • Age
  • Genetics

Dogs appear to show physical symptoms of pacing, vocalizing, and trembling before acting out behavioral problems.

At the extreme end of dog behaviors associated with separation anxiety, you really need to stop any aggression, destructive behavior, self-harm, or escape attempts.

These behaviors can be particularly upsetting and challenging to deal with and can prove dangerous to your dog and you if not resolved.

Luckily, you can do several practical things to help when your dog acts out. We have an extremely detailed article about separation anxiety in dogs that reveals everything you need to know about his complex condition and, more importantly, how to deal with it .

Noise Anxiety

Another commonly found problem in dogs is noise anxiety, ranging from mild apprehension to full-blown panic attacks. It occurs when loud noises trigger an exaggerated “startle response,” in which the dog feels intense fear and distress. 

This startle response causes the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which can lead to physical symptoms such as panting, shaking, trembling, excessive salivation (drooling), hiding, or pacing. It can also cause behavioral changes such as aggression or destructive behaviors like chewing furniture or barking excessively. 

Typical triggers for noise phobia in dogs include:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Fireworks
  • Loud, sudden noises
  • Construction noises
  • Vacuum cleaners or other household appliances
  • Car or motorcycle engines
  • Sirens or other emergency vehicle sounds
  • Loud music or parties
  • Crowds or large gatherings of people
  • Airplanes or other aircraft
  • Animal-related noises, such as the barking of other dogs
  • Smoke alarms or other alarm systems
  • Power tools
  • Environmental sounds such as wind or rain

It’s important to note that not all dogs feel this type of fear-based response to loud noises. Some may be startled but will recover quickly, while others may appear stressed but don’t exhibit any other signs of distress. 

But for those dogs that do experience noise anxiety, it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to manage on their own without assistance from their owners. 

Social Anxiety

As the name suggests, social anxiety in dogs is a category of anxiety that affects how they interact with other animals. This can manifest itself in different ways depending on the individual dog. Some dogs may become overly excited or aggressive when around other animals, while others may be excessively timid and shy away from any interaction. Some pups may even try to escape the situation altogether by running away if given a chance. 

In some instances, these behaviors can be so extreme as to prevent the dog from engaging in everyday activities, such as going for walks or playing at the park. 

These reactions aren’t necessarily bad behavior. They’re simply a dog’s way of communicating their feelings of unease and anxiety.

Some typical reasons that a dog may experience social anxiety are:

  • Lack of socialization during critical developmental periods
  • Negative experiences with other dogs or animals
  • Fear or mistrust of unfamiliar people or animals
  • Genetics
  • Past traumatic experiences with people or other animals
  • Specific phobias or fears, such as fear of certain breeds or sizes of dogs
  • Lack of exposure to different environments or people
  • Fear of certain types of people, such as children or people with specific characteristics.
  • Conflicting or inconsistent training or handling.

Travel Anxiety

This is an extreme fear or nervousness when traveling in vehicles. This could include cars, planes, boats, or any other mode of transportation. 

A vast proportion of dogs don’t suffer from travel anxiety. Some even love the adventure of hitting the open road with their family, but for those pups who do experience fear and anxiety when traveling, the effects can be pretty severe. 

Signs of travel anxiety often depend on the individual dog. Still, they often include lip licking and panting, vocalizing, trembling, restlessness/hyperactivity, vomiting, and attempts to escape. 

The best way to handle travel anxiety is through prevention and preparation!

Try to introduce your dog to traveling at a young age.

Create positive associations with vehicle rides by taking your furry friend on fun outings like visiting the park, woods, or beach.

dog hanging out of car window

Make sure to provide a safe environment for your dog while on the move. Ensure you secure them properly with a harness or carrier, so they don’t get hurt if you have to stop suddenly. 

It’s also a good idea to keep them distracted during long trips with interactive activities like puzzle toys filled with treats! 

Fear-based Anxiety

Anxiety that is fear-based is an emotional response that occurs when a dog perceives a threat. 

The threat could be anything from thunderstorms and fireworks to strangers, other animals, and even particular objects. 

Genetics can also play an important role, as well as trauma and poor socialization as a puppy. 

It can also be caused by feeling overwhelmed by too much stimulation at once (like being around lots of people) or lack of exercise. 

In some cases, the cause is simply unknown… and that’s okay too! 

Whatever the cause, it usually boils down to feeling uncertain or unsafe due to an external factor. 

Fear is a normal emotion that dogs can feel, but when it becomes excessive and persists despite no real danger, it can negatively affect a dog’s health and well-being. 

What is Age-Related Anxiety? 

When a dog enters their twilight years, anxiety in your senior dog may become an issue. 

An increase in anxiety behaviors in dogs characterizes the condition. They will get confused quickly and feel insecure. Often these symptoms are due to cognitive decline such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or CDS which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, or because of physical limitations due to aging

old dog with cataract

Early Indications

These may include being easily startled or confused when presented with new situations or objects, difficulty sleeping through the night, increased clinginess towards their owners, and difficulty settling into certain routines. 

Depending on size, dogs enter the geriatric stage of life at different ages.

  • 5-8 years for giant/large dogs
  • 7-10 for medium dogs
  • 9-12 for small dogs

When this happens, their brain begins to deteriorate, like ours do, resulting in decreased mental functioning and memory loss. This can cause confusion and insecurity, which can lead to anxious behaviors. 

Physical Limitations

Arthritis or other medical conditions can make them feel uncomfortable or scared in unfamiliar environments or when faced with unknown objects and circumstances.

Loneliness

Another factor that can contribute to age-related anxiety is loneliness. 

Senior Dogs

Dogs in their twilight years tend to have less energy than younger pups and, therefore, may get out for daily walks less than they used to. This lack of interaction with people/other animals may cause them to become more anxious over time.

Conditions

Another thing to consider is any changes in their living conditions, such as moving from home into a kennel or from a familiar place to a new environment. 

Generalized Dog Anxiety

If your dog experiences prolonged and persistent anxiety that affects them in various situations, it’s highly likely that they have generalized anxiety. 

Unlike other forms of dog anxiety, sufferers of generalized dog anxiety have multiple triggers for their fears. This is in sharp contrast to dogs with a specific event or environmental phobia, making it a trickier condition to manage. 

The signs of dog anxiety in these cases can be wide-ranging but may include the following:

  • Licking or chewing excessively
  • Hiding away
  • Refusing to obey commands
  • Panting heavily
  • Barking frequently

If you suspect your dog has generalized anxiety or any other forms of dog anxiety, there are steps you can take to help your pup cope.

Treating Anxiety in Dogs Through Training

Training is absolutely essential when it comes to addressing your dog’s anxiety issues. Not only does training the dog teach commands such as “sit” and “stay,” but it also helps create a bond between you and your pup that builds trust. 

This trust will help instill confidence in your furry friend when faced with stressful situations by showing them that you are there for them no matter what. 

Training teaches valuable life skills that can be used daily, such as walking calmly on a leash without pulling or jumping on people when excited. 

These skills can make all the difference when dealing with anxious behavior in dogs. 

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular training techniques that you and your dog could try: 

Counterconditioning

This technique involves changing a dog’s emotional response to a specific stimulus. If your dog doesn’t like thunderstorms, you would gradually expose them to recordings of thunderstorms at a low volume and reward the dog for remaining calm.

Desensitization

This form of training exposes your dog to the source of their anxiety until they are comfortable with it. For example, if one dog is scared of bikes, you would start by showing them bicycles in a controlled manner. 

Systematic desensitization

A targeted version of desensitization that progresses in small steps. Your furry friend is shown the source of their anxiety in small amounts and rewarded for staying calm. As they become more comfortable with each step, you would gradually increase the intensity of the exposure.

Habituation

This is an effective way to subject your dog to a stimulus for an extended period until they become accustomed to it and no longer reacts fearfully.

Positive reinforcement training

Training that rewards a dog for positive behavior. So, if your dog suffers anxiety about going for a walk, you need to reward them for taking a step forward or remaining calm when passing a source of anxiety.

Training programs

Clicker training, shaping, and lure-reward training can also be used to overcome anxiety. 

Obedience, Agility & Rally Classes

These active types of training help give dogs purpose, build their confidence, and ease anxiety. 

Head Halter or a Harness Training

helps dogs feel more secure and allows you more control when walking in situations that may make your dog anxious.

Muzzle Training

Used to prevent any accidental bites or injuries from extremely anxious dogs that are aggressive when scared.

Dog Anxiety Products That Really Work

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use something to help your pup avoid anxiety in the first place? 

There are actually a variety of dog anxiety products on the market that can help lessen anxiety for dogs. Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular anxiety-reducing items:

Thundershirts

These jackets create a feeling like a dog is being hugged. It’s like a dog swaddle, similar to swaddling a baby. It applies gentle but constant pressure to the dog’s body, and it can be used when there are thunderstorms, fireworks, when the dog is traveling, going to the vet, or even when you leave the house.

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You can find out more about Thundershirt anxiety jackets here, and we also have an informative article on how to put one on your dog.

Calming music

This can help with various types of anxiety. According to a recent study on dogs in shelters, reggae and soft rock are best to relieve stress and anxiety.

Now, before rushing to get a Spotify account for your dog, it must be said that there are other types of music to help a dog relax. You can download calming music for dogs especially created for our canine buddies, or you can find hours of free music for your pet on Youtube.

It’s best to test what works best for your dog, but make sure to change it from time to time, as after a few days, your dog will get used to it and may stop paying attention to it.

DogTV

An online streaming service that provides videos tailored explicitly for dogs and was developed by animal behaviorists.

If your dog is anxious, this could be one of the best ways to treat their condition while you’re out of the house.

It consists of content created specifically for dogs’ visual and auditory senses that are meant to keep them entertained, stimulate their minds, and help those dogs that experience separation anxiety while you’re away.

Using scientific principles, this combination has been shown to lower stress levels in canines significantly.

All of the videos are edited using color grading techniques that make them more attractive to our four-legged friends (dogs prefer colors like yellow and blue). 

Not only will your pet be less likely to bark incessantly or engage in destructive behaviors while you’re gone, but he’ll also stay mentally stimulated so he won’t get bored or lonely during the day.

For owners, DOGTV also offers multiple educational instructional videos on topics like potty training, obedience training, and food recipes for your furry friend.

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Dog Crates

A super simple way to provide your furry friend with a safe space that they can retreat to when they need a break from stressful situations that might happe within the home.

This “den” provides dogs with security and comfort. It gives your pup a personal place to hide away and relax without feeling overwhelmed by their environment, other people or animals in the house.

Crates can be an essential tool in managing dog anxiety, and that’s why we created an article that shows you step by step how to crate train your anxious pet.

CBD oil

This is quickly becoming one of the most popular natural remedies for managing dog anxiety issues. Its ability to target specific receptors in the body makes it a practical solution, while its lack of psychoactive properties also makes it safe for use on furry friends! 

Using CBD oil is a method proven to help anxiety. According to a 2018 study, giving your dog a dose of 2mg per kilogram is safe. You can read more about CBD for dog anxiety here.

Many pet owners have seen promising results when utilizing CBD oil as part of their dog’s overall health plan. 

If you think your pup could benefit from CBD oil, you can try one of the many CBD-based products for dogs, such as calming dog treats, creams, and oils like this one we highly recommend…

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Calming CBD Dog Chews

A great addition to your anxiety-busting toolbox. Calming CBD chews are specially designed to help dogs cope with a variety of stressful situations. The best CBD chews also contain all-natural calming ingredients such as chamomile, Ashwagandha, Tryptophan, that can de-stress your nervous pup and encourage relaxation.

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Diet Changes 

A healthy way to help manage anxiety symptoms in dogs. Try to add calming foods for dogs to your furry friend’s diet:

  • Blueberries
  • Turkey
  • Oily fish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole rice

These foods are rich in antioxidants which can help reduce anxiety levels. Some believe that anxiety in dogs is related to a lack of antioxidants in the diet, especially in dogs who eat primarily dry food. 

Here’s a great article from Australiandoglover.com about how a dog’s food can affect their mood.

Pheromones

Chemical compounds that are naturally produced by animals, pheromones can be used to create a calming effect. 

Synthetic versions of pheromones, such as Adaptil and Feliway, can support dogs in coping with anxiety. They can be diffused in the environment or applied as sprays or collars.

Homeopathy

With several safe solutions to help your dog deal with anxiety. Homeopathy remedies are very particular, so you’ll need to pinpoint the exact cause of your pet’s problem.

For instance, remedies containing Phosphorus 30C are recommended for noise phobias, while mixtures containing Pulsatilla nigicans 30C are suitable for your dog’s separation anxiety. 

We highly recommend Zumalka for natural, safe homeopathy remedies for anxiety that directly target your dog’s problems.

Herbs

Chamomile, valerian, passionflower, and kava kava are herbs that can reduce anxiety in a dog. These herbs can be used individually or in combination and can be given as tinctures, teas, or capsules.

Acupuncture

A traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points of the body. Acupuncture is believed to help balance the body’s energy and can be used to ease anxiety in dogs.

Aromatherapy

This is the use of essential oils to promote physical and emotional well-being. It can be used to help dogs relax and lower anxiety. Aromatherapy is great for both humans and dogs when it comes to stress. The best essential oils to use are:

  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Sweet orange
  • Frankincense
  • Chamomile
  • Valerian
  • Clary sage
  • Sweet marjoram

It is always a good idea to do plenty of research before using essential oils because your dog’s nose is super sensitive.

Here’s an article from Dogs Naturally Magazine, Are Essential Oils safe for dogs?  It covers how careful you have to be, as some can actually be dangerous to dogs.

However, don’t let that put you off essential oils altogether. When used correctly, they have some excellent calming benefits for your furry friend.

Again, Dog’s Naturally Magazine did a fantastic article showing you how to create three essential oil recipes for dog anxiety.

Supplements

Additions to food such as omega-3 fatty acids, L-theanine, and magnesium can help to decrease anxiety in dogs. 

Supplementing your dog’s diet is one of the healthiest ways to tackle this problem because it ensures your dog receives the correct nutrition.

Anise

Also known as Dognip, Anuse is a member of the Apiaceae family and is closely related to fennel and caraway. It is believed to help calm dogs, and its effects can be used to lessen anxiety. 

It can be given fresh or dried and can be added to your dog’s food or given as a treat.

Melatonin

A hormone naturally produced in the body and is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. It can be used to help your dog cope with anxiety-related sleep issues. 

Melatonin supplements can be given orally, and a veterinarian should recommend the dosage.

Two Quick Techniques to Treat Dog Anxiety Now

Sometimes dog anxiety can strike suddenly without warning, and we don’t always have any anxiety suppliments or products at hand. Training takes time to master, and what we really want is solution, and fast.

Here are two simple solutions that don’t require training, medication or gadgets:

Exercise

Easy to do, and an excellent way to care for your dog and combat a variety of anxiety factors. Taking longer walks and having your furry friend run around in a dog park will help them sleep better at night, which is helpful for pets with separation anxiety

When you get a new dog, check out their exercise requirements carefully, as hunting or herding dogs often need more exercise than a quiet walk around the block in the evening.

Massage

Reflexology can be used to aid dogs in relaxing and lessen anxiety. It can also help to improve circulation and relieve muscle tension.

Getting A Diagnosis For Your Anxious Dog

If you’re unsure of why your dog has anxiety or what type they have, it’s essential that you get a diagnosis from a veterinarian.

Your vet will conduct a physical exam and ask questions about your pet’s lifestyle and behavior to determine if they are suffering from anxiety. 

Depending on the severity of their symptoms, they may also recommend additional tests such as blood work or x-rays to rule out other potential causes for their behavior.  

The test should be able to rule out any physical causes for your pup’s behavior, such as an injury or infection that may be causing them pain or discomfort. 

Once the veterinary clinic has ruled out any underlying medical conditions, they may suggest an anxiety treatment plan of supplements to help manage symptoms. 

In some cases, medication may be prescribed if deemed necessary, but keep in mind that medication should always be used as a last resort after all other treatments have been attempted first.  

If there is still no clear answer as to why your furry friend is anxious, it might be time to seek other professional help.

Dealing with Anxiety Using A Dog Behaviorist

You’ve tried everything else, and nothing seems to be working, but don’t give up because it’s time to wheel out the big guns and try behavior modification.

Consider calling in the expertise of a professional Dog Behaviorist who can guide you and your stressed dog in a much more personalized way.

If you take your dog to a Dog Behaviorist, they can see first-hand where things might be going wrong, correct the issue there on the spot, and draw up a highly personalized plan to work towards.

Having access to a professional will enable a targeted approach to dealing with your dog’s behavior, as well as helpful tips and tricks that work for your home environment.

Anxiety Meds for Dogs

We don’t typically recommend the use of anxiety medications here at anxiouscanine.com. 

We understand that in extreme cases of chronic anxiety, where it significantly affects a dog’s quality of life, considering medication as part of a longer-term plan is necessary.

This should always be in agreement with your vet. In such situations, vets may prescribe anxiety meds for dogs, typically for a duration of 4-6 months, and usually as a last resort.

They’re not always the right choice, can take a while to kick in, and, like medication for human mental health problems, it can take some time to find the right one.

You should not rely on anti-anxiety medication as a ‘magic cure’; always have a long-term plan in place.

Use the medicine in conjunction with other treatments, such as desensitization or counterconditioning, to retrain your dog.

Eventually, this can lead to a gradual reduction in medication as your dog learns other ways to manage their anxiety.

Prevention and Management for Dogs with Anxiety

Knowing how to recognize and manage dog anxiety is usually crucial in helping your pup live a calmer, happier life. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective strategies for managing dog anxiety:

Creating a Stress-Free Environment for Your Dog

For some dogs, anxiety and fear can get the better of them and cause them to become quickly overwhelmed, even in their own home. 

Don’t worry! You can create a stress-free environment for your anxious dog, and here’s a quick list of some practical things you can do to ensure your furry friend feels comfortable and secure: 

  •  Provide a comfortable and safe space for your dog to relax and sleep, such as a cozy bed or crate.
  • Establish a routine for your dog, including feeding, exercise, and potty breaks.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, such as interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and training exercises.
  • Make sure your dog has access to fresh water and a healthy diet.
  • Create a calm and quiet environment for your dog, especially during times of the day when they may be more prone to anxiety, such as during fireworks or thunderstorms.
  • Avoid leaving your dog alone for long periods, and ensure they have plenty of social interaction with other dogs and people.
  • Keep your dog’s environment clean and free of clutter to reduce the chances of injury and discomfort.
  • Create a comfortable temperature and ventilation in your dog’s living space.
  • Use pheromones, essential oils, or calming music to create a relaxing environment.
  • Be aware of your dog’s body language and behavior, and provide extra attention and comfort when they appear stressed or anxious. 

Training and Socialization

There are several tools that dog owners can use to help their anxious pups become comfortable in their environment. Training and socialization are vital in helping your pup manage their anxiety.

Through training, you can teach your dog impulse control so that they know how to respond to certain stimuli appropriately. 

If your dog is scared of strangers, you can teach them a ‘watch me’ command. This way, instead of running away when someone approaches, they will focus on you and wait for your next instruction.

Socialization is introducing your pup to new experiences, people, animals, or places in a positive manner so that he learns not to be afraid or anxious in those situations. 

It’s essential to start this process when your dog is still a pup because early exposure helps them become more confident adults. 

The most effective way of managing anxiety in dogs is by combining training and socialization techniques. 

Training teaches them how to behave appropriately, while socialization helps them become more comfortable in their environment. 

This approach allows you to create a structure for your dog while allowing plenty of time for exploring and learning new things without feeling overwhelmed or scared.

An experienced trainer or behaviorist will guide your anxious dog, teaching them new skills to feel safe in their surroundings and better handle challenging situations down the line.

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Managing Triggers

Those of us with an anxious dog in the family will often be confronted with the challenge of managing their triggers. 

While some triggers are unavoidable, there are steps that you can take to help your pup remain calm and relaxed in situations where they may otherwise become nervous or panicked. 

Assessing your furry friend’s baseline behavior will help you determine what level of stress or anxiety your dog experiences when exposed to specific situations, sounds, or people. 

It also helps you establish a benchmark for what your dog’s normal behavior looks like so that you can more easily identify any behavioral changes that may occur due to exposure to a trigger. 

Once you have established a baseline assessment of your pup’s behavior, it’s time to identify possible anxiety triggers. 

Common triggers include loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, changes in routine, and separation from their owners. 

Look closely at all aspects of their environment, their food, toys, and daily activities. This will help you to get a better idea of what could be triggering their anxiety. 

Once you’ve identified some likely suspects, begin actively managing those triggers by introducing them slowly and with positive reinforcement techniques while avoiding anything that could cause unnecessary anxiety or fear in your dog.

      

Final Thoughts

Anxiety in dogs is a complex issue that can have long-term consequences if left untreated. 

If you think your dog shows signs of an anxiety disorder, it’s vital to take action fast! 

Identify the kind of anxiety your dog is experiencing to discover the common triggers you need to be aware of or possibly avoid.

There are many ways to treat dog anxiety, including diet, training, supplements, natural treatments, and products. 

The most important thing is to be patient and consistent in your approach. You may need to try a few different things before you find what works best for your dog but keep going. 

If you want to learn and know about dog anxiety, this website has a wealth of information and solutions that grows weekly.

As dog owners, it’s up to us to help them through these tough times because our dogs deserve to live happy and stress-free lives!

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Disclaimer

All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian's advice.
Jen Smart

Transforming anxious pups with her wealth of hands-on practical experience, and qualified in the following disciplines: Holistic Healing, Canine Anxiety & Therapy, Zoopharmacognosy, and CBD Oil for Animals

Founder of Anxious Canine and proud member of the Complementary Medical Association.

2 thoughts on “Anxiety in Dogs – The ultimate guide to Dog Anxiety”

  1. Hi Taetske,

    Not long after my next door neighbor moved in, his dog passed away. While he was telling me about it, he was very emotional and he was almost in tears. I thought, “It’s only a dog. What’s the big deal?” Fast forward a few years and we got a dog of our own. It was then that I understood why my neighbor was acting the way he was. Dogs start out as pets but they become part of the family. I hope you don’t miss Cindy too much.

    You are right, getting a dog is a lifelong responsibility.

    Best wishes,
    Sonny

  2. Good afternoon Sonny,

    I love animals and as I live on a green farm in the south of Spain there is a lot of space for cats and dogs.
    Sadly, my dear Cindy, a Rottweiler lady had to leave last year and I still miss her a lot.

    I really like your post on how to treat dog anxiety. You give a long list of helpful tips all dog owners should take into consideration. Cindy was also extremely nervous when I picked her up from AAA, a dog shelter. She was found on the street and had a chip but the owner could not be traced. It took a couple of weeks to get used to her new home but then she became a great watchdog.

    I sometimes look at an animal program on tv where a German dog man goes to people’s home to help with “difficult dogs. Normally it is a problem with the owner which needs to be fixed. Dogs get bored if not enough exciting things happen in their daily life. A training program is created which challenges their intelligence. After doing the different tests they feel happy and tired, completely relaxed.

    When you adopt a pet in your life it is a life long responsibility.

    Regards, Taetske

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