Dogs are known to be the friendliest pets, and with this amicable trait comes along a certain level of sensitivity. Our four-legged pals, just like their human friends, are prone to being anxious, which is often a common matter of concern for dog parents. While various factors can trigger anxiety in dogs, you can take certain measures to check your dog’s anxiety and calm them down. Here’s more about how to determine if your dog has anxiety.
How Do You Know Your Dog Has Anxiety?
Dogs, much like humans, display one or more anxiety symptoms when they anticipate an unknown or imagined danger. This could range from separation from their owners, fear of a certain object or a situation, such as water, loud noises, travel, trips to the vet, or due to age-related issues.
Anxiety, irrespective of the trigger, may manifest as trembling, excessive barking and howling, drooling and panting, pacing obsessively, chewing, digging, scratching, or even lowered activity.
5 Common Ways to Calm Anxiety in Dogs
While identifying the exact cause of anxiety is crucial to use a certain line of treatment for your pet, you can also alleviate or bring down the intensity of the symptoms in the following ways:
1 Physical Contact
One of the easiest ways to calm your dog is through touch and physical contact. You can pet your dog in ways they generally enjoy the most and feel relaxed. Petting and touching your dog is helpful as it helps with bonding. Bonding results in the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which gives a feeling of security. However, make it a point to pet areas your dog enjoys and refrain from touching sensitive areas, such as the top of the head, belly, or muzzle.
Desensitization, one of the most popular techniques, involves exposure to stimuli that trigger anxiety, which results in the dog gradually getting used to the stimuli. However, it is recommended that desensitization sessions should start and progress in small increments to prevent full-blown anxiety and ensure building a gradual exposure. Keep an eye out for your dog’s reaction as they’re placed in an anxiety-inducing situation to abort the session if needed. Also, it is best to involve a professional in the process.
3 Offer a Safe and Cozy Bed
Dogs and other pets associate their bed with relaxation and calmness and view it as safe spaces. Therefore, one of the best ways to calm them down is by elevating their experience when they relax in their bed. You can invest in calming dog beds specially designed to pacify anxiety and make your pet feel at ease.
4 Calming Supplements
Calming supplements can be used to ease anxiety, stress, fear, and associated symptoms in pets. While you might find various types of supplements on the market, you should consult your vet before introducing your dog to a supplement and be very clear about the prescribed dosage.
5 Interactive Toys and Games
Yet another harmless yet effective way of easing anxiety symptoms in dogs is investing in interactive toys and games that keep your dog engaged and distracted. This measure is specifically very beneficial for dogs with separation anxiety as they often get bored and have no engagement in their parent’s absence.
The market is replete with products that can be immensely helpful in bringing down the symptoms of anxiety in your dog and promoting relaxation and calmness. Such products, combined with professional help from vets and animal therapists, can help you successfully manage anxiety in your furry friend.