Dogs can get anxious. The life of a dog is sometimes bliss and tranquility, but it can also be characterized by instability. Sometimes the dog lives in an anxious environment, but other times, through no fault of the owner, your dog will experience some anxiety.
In this article, we’re going to check out some classic dog anxiety symptoms so that you can begin to diagnose your pup. Remember that not all dogs will experience anxiety in the same way, so the presence or absence of any or all of these signals is not a simple 1-to-1 correlation with anxiety. Next, we’ll check out how to ease doggy anxiety. The answer to the question “how to ease my dog’s anxiety” will vary depending on your dog, but there are some common techniques that you can employ.
Dog Anxiety Symptoms
There are signs of stress that you should be looking for on your dog. If you identify any of these signs, you should seek to ease your dog’s anxiety by improving their lifestyle. Some signs to look for in your canine companion are:
- Agitation and aggression. All dogs display anxiety differently, and remember that your image of the anxious dog cowering in the corner might not be correct for your dog. If you have a more outgoing, ambitious dog, their anxiety might very well manifest in higher bouts of aggression and agitation.
- Excessive pacing. Your dog might walk back and forth. If you see that they seem to lack curiosity and walk the same line, it might be a compulsive behavior.
- Bowel movements. If your dog, especially a dog that is potty trained, begins urinating or defecating in the house consistently, this might be tied to their anxiety. Additionally, if the consistency or type of stool changes noticeably and remains this way, this might be a sign of anxiety.
- Repetitive behaviors. If you notice that your dog has certain drooling or panting symptoms, notice if they might be nervous ticks.
- Different posturing. If your dog that once bounded up to people and stood tall now seems a bit droopy and depressed, this may be a change brought about by anxiety.
Remember that many dogs will exhibit many or all of these characteristics in certain high stress situations. If a vacuum cleaner suddenly goes on or they are rudely awakened from a nap, many dogs will show these signs. Sometimes there is a simple natural cause of doggy anxiety, that once removed, will begin to calm your dog back down again. Barking at the sprinklers or the doorbell might be a different reaction to train them out of, not a signal that they are high-strung.
How to Calm Down a Scared Dog
Be Calm Yourself
When you start asking “how to ease my dogs anxiety,” you may find that you yourself begin panicking a little bit around your dog. You may begin to become a little more high strung because you are nervous that your canine companion is experiencing stress. Your stress toward them can unintentionally increase their anxiety.
Furthermore, there is another situation where you may begin projecting anxiety onto your dog. You see some signs of stress one time and then begin to diagnose your dog and project more anxiety onto them than is really there. If you are looking to figure out how to calm down a scared dog, the most valuable thing you can do is remain at ease and don’t over project attributes onto your dog. Sometimes we think we know a lot about what makes our dogs happy and what they want, but there are probably a lot of things about dogs that we didn’t know.
Dog Anxiety Medication
There are pills that contain green tea extract L-Theanine that can produce calming effects in your dog in a fairly natural process. Natural vitamins can also be a huge help for your dog’s anxious condition. Sometimes a bit of a more natural, healthy lifestyle can be the thing that helps restore canine peace to your household.
In some cases, however, your dog might need more professional help. If you try some of the tactics on this list and aren’t met with much success, it might be time for you to visit a professional and get some advice or even consider different dog anxiety medication. Sometimes a second opinion on your dog, especially a professional opinion, can be really helpful.
Calming Your Dog When You’re Gone
Pets can also experience a lot of anxiety when you leave them for long periods of time. Treat this separation anxiety by maybe leaving out some clothes that smell like you (carefully, your dog might tear them up!) or by giving them a special toy that they only have when you’re gone. There are a lot of great puzzle toys for dogs that involve moving pieces that eventually let them get a snack. Investing in one of these might make those absences a little sweeter.
If your dog feels a bit more anxious about even the idea of your absences, you’ll have to slowly dissociate them from your presence. Try doing things that you might do right before leaving, but then don’t leave. Take away the signals that tend to trigger anxiety. Remember that it is important for your dog to learn to become comfortable with your absence. While you might enjoy their overly attached personality at first, especially when they are a puppy, it will not lead to a happy lifestyle for your full grown dog.
Spend More Time With Your Canine Companion
Practicing positive relationship-building behavior might help calm their anxiety. Improved life conditions for your dog will do wonders for calming those nerves and helping them live a happier, simpler existence. There are definitely cases where dogs experience anxiety through no fault of their owner. However, sometimes a dog with some mild anxiety just needs a little more tender love and care.
Improve Their Lifestyle
Similar to the “spend more time” advice, advice to improve your dog’s lifestyle is given as a hesitant recommendation for “how to ease my dog’s anxiety.” Many people that are really concerned with their dog’s anxiety are already doing many, if not all of the right things. But one great technique for helping treat your dog’s anxiety is an improved lifestyle. Score some great seat covers and start taking your dog more places! Taking your dog to new places may make them more comfortable over time with leaving the house and meeting new people.
Like human beings, if a dog doesn’t eat well, doesn’t get enough exercise, lacks social interaction, and doesn’t get some quality sunshine, they may experience some anxiety and depression. Increasing the quantity and quality of all of these things will help your dog’s anxiety. Specifically, look to see if you can help them sleep better and maybe invest in a different kind of food. If someone fed you the exact same meal for a year straight, you wouldn’t like it. Dogs are the same way.
How to Calm Dog Anxiety Naturally
You may be wondering how to calm dog anxiety naturally with clever techniques; you can try things like music that is specially designed for dogs or essential oils that are built for doggy anxiety. Music is great because it can be left on, even while you are leaving. If your dog is experiencing a bit of separation anxiety, music might really be able to help with that.
Getting some dog-strong supplements can be a great way to promote a healthy diet for your dog, which can go a long way to reducing anxiety and supporting a healthy lifestyle.
While there are tons of things you can do to relax your dog, you should always consult a vet or professional if there is genuine concern about their safety or wellbeing. Like people, dogs can experience temporary moments of anxiety and stress, so keep an eye on your furry friend and try your best to provide a safe and relaxing environment for them!