Nervous dog? Try these tips for treating dog anxiety

Nervous dog? Try these tips for treating dog anxiety
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Humans get anxiety, and if you regularly read our blog, you likely know that cats do, too. But what about dogs? In this blog we’ll answer that question and how you can provide dog anxiety treatment to your four-legged friend.

What causes dog anxiety

Believe it or not, 50% of dogs are reported as suffering from noise sensitivity. That means fireworks, thunder, and gunshots are known to send many dogs into a panic. But, those aren’t the only causes for dog anxiety.

Other common causes for dog anxiety include changes in the household, the loss of a family member (whether that be another pet or a human), the addition of a new family member (again, pet or human), traveling, separation from a loved one or owner, time spent in a crate or kennel, or even trips to the veterinarian, groomer, or boarding facility.

Dog anxiety treatment

There are a couple of ways to approach treatment for your nervous dog. They may include medication prescribed by your veterinarian or natural, at-home treatments.

Medication for dog anxiety

Several of the anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications that are prescribed to dogs with anxiety are actually used in human medicine as well. These psychotrophic drugs, when combined with behavior modification training, can be very successful in calming your nervous dog.

Your veterinarian might recommend the following dietary supplements to help with your dog’s anxiety, as they both play a role in brain function and behavior:

  • Tryptophan, an amino acid
  • Dexahexanoic acid or other polyunsaturated fatty acids

Some of the pharmaceutical options your veterinarian might recommend include sedatives such as the following:

  • Acepromazine
  • Diazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Fluoxetine
  • Clomipramine
  • Trazodone
  • Dexmedetomidine (prescribed via an oral gel)

Natural dog anxiety treatment

Perhaps the medication route isn’t the best option for your dog and your family, or perhaps your anxious dog needs some additional support throughout his treatment. You might try some of the following tips:

  • Play music: If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, this is a great option for your pet to offer a distraction from his or her anxiety. (There is even music specifically developed for pets!)
  • Physical contact: Physical contact between a dog and its human can help relieve the dog’s anxiety. Try petting your dog or sitting near him until symptoms subside.
  • Try a Thundershirt: This tightly fitting garment wraps around your dog to apply continuous pressure which can help calm the nerves associated with traveling or noise anxiety.
  • Exercise: Anxiety can sometimes present as excess energy. Exercise may help relieve stress and make your dog too tired to stress further.
  • Give them a safe space: In some cases, no amount of calming, praising, or rewards can bring a dog down from his anxious state. In cases like this, a quiet space free of stimulation may help your dog unwind safely.
  • Remain calm yourself: If your dog’s anxiety makes you react with your own nervousness, he or she may pick up on that. Your own anxious behavior may make your dog’s worse.

Final thoughts

It’s important to support your dog throughout his or her anxious moments and to continuously try different calming techniques as necessary. It’s also recommended that you reward your dog for positive behaviors associated with coming down from an anxious moment. We recommend using these homemade coconut oil dog treats as a reward because while they’re tasty, they also provide some health benefits to your pup along the way!

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