Anxiety The majority of canine anxiety can be traced to one of three separate causes: fear, separation, and aging. It can be difficult to watch your dog when they are suffering. Depending on your dog, you can follow a couple of these quick anxiety reduction tips to accommodate and reduce their stress.
One of the simplest ways to reduce canine anxiety is through regular training. While it may not help combat symptoms in the short term, it will reduce anxiety in the long run. The easiest form of training is by exposing your pet to their source of fear for a short period of time. This desensitizes them to the object and situation and reduces stress.
Another helpful form of training is by replacing unwanted behavior with more desirable alternatives. For example, when your dog starts to act stressed as a result of a particular object or situation, encourage them to do something. Instead of barking or pacing, having them collect a toy. Reinforce this behavior by offering treats.
If you are unable to do training at home by yourself, you can always hire a professional to help you. If you would like to quickly reduce anxiety, you can distract your dog with something they enjoy when they are experiencing symptoms. This could mean playing their favorite game with them, offering a toy, or distracting them with exercise, cuddles, and activity.
Exercise or Playing
A major cause of anxiety amongst puppies and young dogs is having too much energy. Even in older dogs, anxiety can actually create more energy that needs an outlet.
To reduce stress levels, exercise with your pet and encourage them to play. This could be something simple like going on a walk, or it could be more intensive like playing fetch or going to the local dog park.
Exercise is also ideal because it causes the body to release those feel-good hormones endorphins.
If you cannot exercise with your dog, they need another avenue to release stress. Having fun and durable toys that they can chew and tug allows the dog to take out their energy in a safe and acceptable way. One of the best toys for this is a hardy rubber ball or bone that won’t break down when bitten or chewed.
Calming vests are a piece of equipment ideal for dogs who are triggered by separation or fear. A calming or anxiety vest is a tight garment designed to fit over a canine’s torso. It applies pressure without restriction, similar to a weighted blanket.
The gentle pressure of a calming vest simulates being held and releases endorphins. The endorphins have an effect that seems to calm dogs and reduces stress and anxiety. Vests are great because they can be worn during specific situations that trigger anxiety, including when you leave for work or during fireworks.
The one catch of calming vests is they should not be worn all the time, just because your pet will not learn to cope with their anxiety.
Cuddling works similarly to the calming vest. By applying gentle pressure and holding your pet close, you encourage the dog’s body to release endorphins that reduce stress. Dogs love being with their family and receiving plenty of cuddles and kisses while anxious will reduce discomfort and unhappiness.
If your dog does not like cuddling, try exercise instead.
In many ways, dogs are like children. They can sense when you are stressed and will feed off of and mirror your energy. If you are uncomfortable, anxious, or afraid, your dog will pick up on those cues and act the same way.
To dissuade pet anxiety, change your body language. Instead of pacing, sit still and take a couple of deep breaths to relax. Speak to your dog in a calm voice and try not to disrupt a daily routine, as this can make pet anxiety worse.
If you are still struggling with personal anxiety, take the tips above to heart and go for a walk, cuddle with your canine, or play a quick game to calm down.
Anxiety can be a major setback for animals and difficult for a pet owner to handle. You can’t communicate with your dog to tell them everything will be alright with words, so you need to find other methods of reducing stress and anxiety. The simple tricks covered here are a great way to handle urgent situations, and can also establish a pattern of behavior to help your canine even when you are not home.