6 Ways to Effectively Reduce Dog Anxiety
We often think of dogs as happy-go-lucky and carefree creatures. But the unfortunate truth is: many dogs live with chronic anxiety. The result of this isn't just an unhappy dog; it can be hard on everyone. The main way dogs express anxiety is through negative behavior. In fact, research shows that as many as 70 percent of dogs exhibit anxious behaviors.
Some of the problems that are linked to anxiety in dogs are notoriously difficult to deal with. They include excessive barking, inappropriate elimination, aggressiveness, destructiveness, and hyperactivity.
The fallout from this problem can be severe. When dogs are able to behave well, their owners report an increased sense of attachment. On the other hand, dogs that struggle with persistent behavior problems are more likely to be relinquished to a shelter.
We know that your dog is safe with you. But no one wants their pet to suffer. Anxiety disorders in dogs are very similar to what humans with the same disorders experience. These problems can even lead to other difficult-to-treat issues, such as dog OCD.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help your pup feel better. Anxious dogs are asking for a special kind of care, and a loving owner can give them what they need (that’s you!)
Ways to Help Dogs With Anxiety
Some of the things you can do for an anxious dog probably seem obvious, such as giving them love and affection. But not every technique is quite so straightforward. In fact, even extra cuddles should take into account dogs' needs and what is the best way to meet them. Here are some guidelines to support a dog with anxiety.
Getting regular exercise not only helps burn off nervous energy, it even supports brain health. Anxiety can impact the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that's associated with memory and learning. But exercise combats those changes, helping the brain to function better — even under chronic stress.
Research has also demonstrated that when animals exercise, they experience a significant reduction in depression and anxiety. But that’s not all! Regular walks, runs, or games of fetch with your pup strengthen your bond — making them feel even more secure.
Getting plenty of active play also helps your dog to sleep well, which is another way to help them feel calm and happy.
Blankets, Beds, and Other Comforts
Creating a cozy, comfortable environment is key. Dogs that have somewhere that feels safe can go there to escape frightening events, such as thunderstorms. They are also more likely to get plenty of quality sleep, which helps combat anxiety.
Donut beds are a good option for anxious dogs, especially those that have separation anxiety. These beds offer a physical sensation of being surrounded and cozy, which can be very soothing for an anxious dog. Some dogs feel most secure in their crates. For these dogs, a crate cover can boost their feeling of being tucked in a protective den.
Wherever your dog sleeps, try to provide them with a soft blanket or Pet Rug. Think about how comforting it feels to sink into your bed at the end of a difficult day, and you'll understand how much your dog needs a cozy place to lay down.
Clothes for dogs aren't just adorable. A snug-fitting shirt or hoodie can be very calming. The gentle pressure of the fabric around their body is soothing for many dogs.
Love, Cuddles, and Praise
Dogs have an intense need to please their owners and feel close to them. Regular attention and affection go a long way towards assuring them that they are loved and safe.
An important thing to remember is that a lot of this attention should happen during calm times. If a dog is only lavished with love during their most anxious moments, it can reinforce their worst behaviors. Make sure you're paying lots of attention to your dog when they're happy and calm. Of course, if your dog is upset and wants to sit on or next to you, it's a good idea to pet them and comfort them. Just remember how important positive attention is when they're feeling better.
Dogs love to have a job, so consider spending time teaching yours a few simple tricks. Simply feeling like they've done something for you that made you happy can be very comforting. If you can interrupt anxious behavior by having them perform their tricks, it's a great way to substitute destructive actions with something you give them lots of praise for doing.
CBD Oil and Supplements
Many pet owners report that CBD oil or treats help ease their dog's anxiety. The research on CBD use for dogs is promising, but it's still in its early days. It's generally considered safe, so the best way to see if it works for your dog is to start with a low dose and slowly work your way up. For some dogs, CBD can lead to significant improvement.
Speak to Your Veterinarian
If your dog's anxiety doesn't respond to your best efforts, or they appear to be overwhelmed by it, check in with their vet. They will want to rule out any medical problems that may be upsetting your dog. If they are struggling with an anxiety disorder, medication is available. When it's used along with other techniques, it can be very helpful.
You Want the Best for Your Dog
Dog owners are often willing to put in a lot of effort to give their dogs a happy, healthy life. Anxiety disorders can seem too difficult to handle, but with patience, you can make a huge difference in an anxious dog's life. At Animals Matter, we love dogs too, and we offer luxury and high quality supplies to help you give your dog the best life possible.
For more information about our products, please contact us.