April 16, 2019
Owning a dog, it is likely that at some point you will encounter a situation when your dog expresses anxious behaviours. Anxiety in dogs can have many causes, and may be difficult to navigate. If left alone, this anxiety could develop into destructive behaviours. Yet fortunately there are a number of things you can do to help nervousness in your dog.
Many people find that playing music can have a calming effect on dogs. In particular, classical music or, even better, music created specifically for the purpose of calming dogs will have the best effect. This technique may be especially good in dealing with dogs with separation anxiety. You can discover music like this for free on youtube or Spotify.
Some anxious dogs may benefit from the reassurance of physical contact. Try to pet your anxious dog or sit near them. But be aware that a dog may mistake your affection as a reward for being anxious. In addition, pressure jackets exist to relieve symptoms of anxiety in dogs. These may be especially good for travel, separation or other anxieties.
In moments of anxiety, it may be helpful to distract your dog with a toy or something it can chew on. This will take your dog’s mind off the stressful situation. In addition, the dog will begin to associate the things that cause them anxiety with a fun experience, helping to reduce future anxiety.
Anxiety can produce uncontrollable energy. In order to relieve this, exercise could be an outlet. Tiring your dog out before a particularly stressful event could minimise the effects of anxiety.
Adapting the environment
Sometimes, the best way to calm down your anxious dog will be to make changes in the environment. If the source of anxiety is fireworks or thunderstorms, close the blinds and play music. It is possible to buy diffusers or sprays that release smells that are intended to calm animals, also aiding in creating a calm environment.
It is important to understand that while these tips may help to alleviate anxiety, it may be that you need further help. If you feel that your dog is an extreme case, it may be beneficial to talk to your vet about medication. This should really be a last resort to avoid medicating your dog and any potential side effects that may occur.
At Tails in the City we are used to supporting anxious dogs and helping them relax. We have clients with pets that are fearful of strangers, new environments and other dogs. Or they may have separation anxiety or a particular phobia. Our staff are trained to help these dogs with techniques such as gradual exposure over time, and we have had many successes.
If you have an anxious dog, speak to us about how we can help.