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Dogs With Anxiety

Dog Anxiety: How To Tell If Your Dog Has Anxiety

- and Natural Remedies

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by Helen
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Anxiety is a natural emotion that is not just limited to humans. Dogs can also experience anxiety for various reasons, such as separation, loud noises, and changes in their environment. While anxiety is a normal part of life and can be a healthy emotion, prolonged stress can turn it into a problem for your furry friend.

Instead of opting for medication, there are natural ways to relieve your dog's anxiety. Some of these natural remedies include aromatherapy, music therapy, exercise, and spending quality time with your dog. By identifying the root cause of your dog's anxiety and using these natural methods, you can help your furry friend feel calmer and relaxed and improve their overall well-being.

CBD Oil For Dog Anxiety

My Australian Shepherd suffers from anxiety. Therefore, I had to learn and recognize how to help her. What I didn't realize is some of my other dogs, like my senior terrier, suffer from anxiety too, but hers focuses on different behavior than Addie's.

After trying several treatments for Addi's anxiety and Belle's aches and pains, I have found that giving them CBD oil has been quite effective in managing their symptoms. I have noticed a significant improvement in their behavior and overall well-being since incorporating this natural remedy into their routine. I make sure to consult with their veterinarian before giving them any new medication or supplement, but so far, CBD oil has been a safe and helpful option for managing their health issues.

American Kennel Club Calming Dog Jacket

How Do You Know If Your Dog has Anxiety?

The signs of anxiety in dogs can be traumatic for both dogs and their owners. Anxiety can present itself in several ways through dogs' body language. Here are some clues your dog may be suffering from anxiety: 

  • Trembling
  • Whining or barking
  • Pacing and panting
  • Drooling
  • Excessive licking
  • Fleeing or hiding
  • Ears flat and tail tucked
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Aggression
  • Appetite loss/weight loss
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Diarrhea

How Do You Know If Your Dog is Anxious?

The signs of anxiety in dogs can be traumatic for both dogs and their owners. Anxiety can present itself in several ways through dogs' body language. Here are some clues your dog may be suffering from anxiety: 

  • Trembling
  • Whining or barking
  • Pacing and panting
  • Drooling
  • Excessive licking
  • Fleeing or hiding
  • Ears flat and tail tucked
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Aggression
  • Appetite loss/weight loss
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Diarrhea

What Causes Anxiety in Dog?

The first step in addressing your dog's anxiety is to identify common triggers:

  • Separation from you
  • Change in routine
  • Loud noises
  • Weather
  • Relocation or travel
  • Changes in their environment
  • New additions to the family
  • Holiday gatherings
  • Strangers
  • Illness and injury

In this blog post, we will explore the various anxiety triggers that may affect your furry friend and discuss ways to help them overcome these triggers.

Separation Anxiety In Dog

Dogs are more likely to suffer from separation anxiety than cats. If a dog has been adopted from a shelter, they are more likely to experience separation anxiety than a dog that has been with their family since they were a puppy. Dogs are rarely separated from their pack in the wild, providing them safety and reassurance in numbers. This is why separation anxiety is a common type of anxiety among dogs. Additionally, some breeds of dogs, such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, are more prone to general anxiety than others.

Dog Anxiety

Changes in Routine Can Cause Dog Anxiety

Dogs depend on consistency and routine, and any disruption to their usual schedule can leave them feeling vulnerable and anxious. If you've recently lost a loved one who was living with you, or you've lost another pet or moved into a new home, your furry friend may become overly anxious.

Loud Noises

Loud and unfamiliar noises can make dogs scared. It could be anything from loud traffic to sirens, fire alarms, gunshots, or construction work. Such noises can cause anxiety and fear in dogs and make them want to flee even from their comfortable homes. This is one of the reasons why microchipping your pet is crucial. According to Pet Amber Alert, animal control officers receive 30% to 60% more reports of lost pets between July 4 and 6 due to loud fireworks noises and other disturbances.

Weather

Dogs may experience anxiety or fear due to wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. They have the ability to sense changes in barometric pressure, which alerts them of impending weather changes and triggers anxiety. This can lead to chronic anxiety in many dogs, especially in places like Texas, where thunderstorms are a common occurrence during the summertime.

Relocation or Travel

Many people like to travel with their dogs on an airplane, road trip, or RV. However, this can be a highly stressful experience for the dog. It is not something that they are used to in their day-to-day life, and it exposes them to a whole new world of sights, sounds, and smells, which can be overwhelming for them. Even the calmest and most relaxed dog may become anxious during take-off, landing, or when entering a new Airbnb with different smells.

Changes in Their Environment

Introducing a new puppy or kitten into your home can be pretty stressful for most dogs, and even having an extended house guest can cause some anxiety. Your dog's sense of smell is highly sensitive, so even a small change, like switching to a less agreeable air freshener, can cause distress.

New Additions to the Family

The arrival of a new baby can confuse your pet. The baby smells different from the other humans in the household, and their humans may act differently around the new addition. They might become more protective and even scold the pet for getting too close. This can be disheartening for a pet who was once the center of attention for its human parents.

Holiday Gatherings and Dog Anxiety

The holidays can be a joyful but stressful time for everyone, and your dog can sense your anxiety. The act of buying and wrapping gifts, preparing for parties, and welcoming and bidding farewell to guests can make your furry friend uneasy and anxious. Additionally, many environmental changes, such as decorated trees and boxes emerging from the attic, can further disrupt your dog's sense of security.

Strangers

There are two types of dogs when it comes to meeting new people. Some dogs enjoy meeting strangers and are happy to be petted by anyone who approaches them. On the other hand, some dogs are very protective of their family and surroundings and may not be welcoming to strangers. They may even growl or nip at new people who come near them. It is essential to understand that expecting this type of dog to be comfortable around strangers is unrealistic. It requires a lot of patience and effort to help such dogs become more comfortable around new people. Normalizing the experience of meeting new people can be helpful.

How To Help Your Dog Alleviate Anxiety Naturally

Dog Playing Fetch

Here are our top six recommendations for calming your dog down through natural behavioral approaches rather than pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications or CBD-infused treats.

Exercise

Exercising your dog if your dog is feeling anxious, it might have an excess of energy.  In such cases, taking your dog out to play ball, go for a walk, or fetch a stick before you leave, before guests arrive, or before heading out in the car can go a long way in relieving your dog's stress.   Play tug-of-war, fetch, or take your dog on a walk.

Note When Buying Dog Accessories:  Single-use plastics can harm the environment and wildlife, including dogs.  Dogs can ingest or choke on plastic items, such as bags or bottles, which can cause serious health problems.  Additionally, plastic waste can litter public spaces and dog parks, posing a hazard to dogs and their owners.  Some alternatives to single-use plastics for dog-related items include using biodegradable poop bags, reusable water bottles and bowls, and eco-friendly toys made from sustainable materials.  Making small changes in our daily lives can help protect the environment and keep our furry friends safe.

Physical Contact

Dogs crave love and affection from their owners.  A pat or a hug can work wonders in calming them down.

Massage

Just like humans, dogs can benefit significantly from massages.  Massages can help alleviate anxiety in dogs.  Begin at the neck and use long, firm strokes while keeping one hand on the dog.  With time, you can identify areas where your dog holds stress, such as the shoulders, allowing you to focus on those areas.

Music Therapy

William Congreve famously said in the late 17th century, “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.” It is widely recognized that music can impact people's heart rate and blood pressure.  The same can be said for dogs.  There are numerous channels available on YouTube that offer specially designed-music to help alleviate anxiety in dogs.  Be sure not to blare the music on the speakers.

Time Out

It's never a good idea to scold your dog for feeling anxious.  However, if your dog is acting out, a timeout may help calm it down by allowing it to isolate itself in a safe, quiet space in their dog bed.  If your dog is crate-trained, they'll feel more secure in their crate, especially if you throw a blanket over it to create a cozy den-like atmosphere.

Calming Coats or T-Shirts

Devices such as the Thundershirt Anxiety Jacket use gentle compression on a dog's torso that has the same calming effect as a hug. 

Final Thoughts: How to Tell if Your Dog Has Anxiety and Natural Remedies

In conclusion, it is essential to consider the various treatment options available for dog anxiety. While traditional medication can provide relief in severe cases, it may not always be the best option. Non-medical interventions such as behavior modification, exercise, and natural remedies can also be effective in reducing anxiety in dogs. Ultimately, the key is to identify the underlying cause of the anxiety and work with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to develop a comprehensive plan to help your furry companion feel calm and secure. Hopefully, these tips can help you find the right way to keep your dog's anxiety at bay. 

READ NEXT:  Not all dogs have anxiety when they travel with their humans.  Even though my dogs have anxiety they love road trips.   Dog Friendly Vacation Spots and Places to Travel

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