If you have been struggling to find the right treatment for anxiety in dogs, you have come to the right place.
You have probably already taken your four-legged friend to the vet and have had tests taken to rule out any serious conditions. Your best friend doesn’t have thyroid or brain disorders – the vet says that your dog has anxiety.
Well, at least you have that part confirmed and this is crucial in order to find the correct treatment for anxiety in dogs. So what’s next? Let’s take a look at what may trigger that anxiety and the many ways to calm a dog with anxiety issues.
What Triggers Anxiety In Dogs?
There are several different sources of stress that may be the trigger that sets your dog off. It is important to note first that just like humans, dogs can develop phobias. This means your dog may become fearful of a particular sound, object or circumstance and to your dog it is a very real matter.
Some potential triggers could be:
- Being left alone for any length of time
- Being left in a confining space
- Traveling anywhere in a moving vehicle
- Any changes to environment or daily routine
- Certain objects or people
- Loud noises
Ways To Calm An Anxious Dog
There are several ways to relax your dog. As each dog is as individual as humans, what may work for one dog may not be the treatment for anxiety in dogs that will work for yours. Also, as your dog ages, one method may work for a length of time but no longer work later in its life. This means you may have to use a different method to calm your dog.
Here is a look at some of the most common ways to calm an anxious dog.
1. Anti Anxiety Medication
Depending on the severity of the separation and panic issue that your dog has, medication may be your most logical option. You can opt for natural food as an alternative but what you will have to pay attention to is what type of medical treatment has produced the best results for your dog.
Hospitalization may be one option, in particular to protect your pooch from self-harm or causing injury to others.
An effective natural treatment for anxiety in dogs is exercise. The goal behind this is to give your pet an opportunity to burn off excess energy that could be part of the cause behind the anxiety. There are two key benefits to exercising your dog and they are:
- Serotonin is released within the body. It is a feel-good chemical which will help to relax your dog.
- Tension and excess energy that can often encourage anxiety will be removed with exercise.
If your dog gets nervous in certain situations, distraction is a good way to help break that pattern. This may require some extra time on your part introducing new games or gadgets to your dog’s life to condition them to focus on something else that will distract them from the trigger that sets off their anxiety.
It can be a new game, teaching tricks or some other way to engage with your dog to keep their mind occupied on what you are doing with them rather than the trigger.
4. Anxiety Jacket
An anxiety jacket (such as the Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Jacket from Amazon) is a relatively new idea in treating this condition in dogs. It is a tight fitting garment that wraps around your dog’s body. The continuous pressure acts to calm them down when dealing with triggers such as thunder, loud noises or travelling.
5. Massage and Music
Just as a massage helps to calm and relax a human, the same results apply to dogs as well. You can give your dog a massage by using long, slow strokes and by praising your dog quietly. Also adding soothing background music (I recommend Through A Dog's Ear from Amazon) can enhance the effect.
Other Tools Used To Assist With Treating Anxiety In Dogs
There are a number of other methods of helping your four-legged friend deal with anxiety. They include the use of a dog crate, separation toys and even dog food. Here is a closer look at our choices for the best of each of these.
Best Dog Crate For Separation Anxiety
Dog crates can be one of your most effective tools in combating anxiety in dogs. In fact, crate training is a great way to raise a new puppy where you get them accustomed to the crate at all times.
Eventually your dog will view the crate as their very own safe place and will use it to sleep or to go to when dealing with a trigger that may otherwise cause your dog to become anxious.
Our preferred dog crate is the AmazonBasics Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate.
The AmazonBasics Dog Crate is an effective training tool for dogs of all ages. You can use it for potty training, house training or for reinforcing house rules or to give your pooch a safe place to rest and relax. This product is available in several different sizes so that you are sure to fit the right size to safely and comfortably accommodate your dog.
Has a single-door design which utilizes a swing-open door on the front of the crate. The large door gives your dog easy entry and allows you to add bedding. The door has two slide-bolt latches which keeps your dog safe and secure
Best Dog Separation Anxiety Toys
Sometimes all your dog needs is a little time with something other than a human but something that resembles a dog. The SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy is a great option to explore. It works great for puppies as well as older dogs that are just not having a very good day.
The Snuggle Puppy is essentially a soft-to-touch stuffed dog toy. However, this one contains a non-toxic, disposable heat source that will last for 24 hours and has a built-in heartbeat that you can manually turn on or off. If you need to let it run, the heartbeat will last up to 2 weeks. This is really a natural treatment for anxiety in dogs.
Where this unique calming toy works best is that it appeals to your dogs basic natural instincts and will not only relax your pooch, it will allow them to sleep and work out whatever the issue is that got them worked up in the first place.
The company that manufactures this product has been making these Snuggle Puppies for over 22 years and has relaxed hundreds and thousands of dogs over that time.
Best Dog Food For Anxiety
Sometimes anxiety can come as part of a reaction to certain foods. Dogs become sensitive to specific things in their diet. Fortunately, there are solutions in the form of food that can assist as a treatment for anxiety in dogs.
Taste of the Wild produces a full line of dog foods that are formulated with unique protein sources. There are also real vegetables and fruits along with premium ingredients that create rich flavors and complete nutrition.
This dog food is packed with breed specific probiotics that promote healthy digestion and immune function. It's protein blend has an optimal amino acid profile, contains antioxidants and Omega fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat.
Finding The Right Dog Anxiety Treatment For You
There is something to be said about using trial and error in trying to find the best way to treat anxiety in your dog. It is vitally important that when you approach these methods that you remain calm and relaxed at all times. Even if you determine early on that one method is not producing results. Whatever you do, do not show your frustration as your furry friend will pick up on your mood.
If you tackle each of the suggestions above in a relaxed manner and include some play time along the way. You may discover that not only is your pet willing to try anything you use, but both of you will be able to learn through the experience.
It is not uncommon for dogs to be nervous about certain things they do not fully understand. That is why it is so important that you take your time and be as understanding as possible as you seek the right treatment for your dog. Because your best friend looks to you for guidance, love and more, there will be a level of trust already formed as part of your bond with him or her.
Don’t take that for granted but use that to your advantage by speaking softly, offering much praise and gentle strokes with treats as the two of you work on figuring out how to best treat this issue.
Treatment For Anxiety In Dogs Final Word
Once you can narrow down what causes the anxiety in your dog you will have a better idea of what you are up against. You can’t find an effective solution if you don’t fully understand what the problem is.
Fortunately, there are many different tools and natural treatments available to help you work with your dog to beat whatever fear that developed. Loud noises, such as thunder, scare pets simply because they can’t identify where it is coming from.
By being your best friend’s best friend, you can help your dog cope with the situation and find the right treatment that eases the anxiety and gives your dog the quality of life he or she deserves.
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