Lets look at a common scenario for a dog owner:
You’ve taken your dog to the vet because you think they may have anxiety issues. The veterinarian carried out testing which ruled out thyroid or brain disease, and did a blood workup to see if poisoning was an issue. Good news, your dog cleared all their testing and your vet told you your dog has anxiety (Ahh,.....right, so what do I do?).
Medication can be prescribed, but not every dog needs to be medicated. There are certainly natural types of medication that can be used successfully as treatment for anxiety in dogs.
Your vet may recommend certain things based on their knowlege of your dog. He may have an idea of what triggers and suspected phobias your dog has and will recommend behavioral techniques that might work best. You may have to try several different ways until you find the one which will help control your dogs anxiety.
What Triggers Anxiety?
There are different sources of stress that can bother your dog. A dog can develop a phobia, just like us and be afraid of certain objects noises etc. To your dog, this phobia is as real to him as your phobia is to you. Some phobias could be:
- Being left alone
- Being confined
- Changes in routines or environment
- Objects or certain types of people
- Loud noises
Ways To Calm An Anxious Dog
1. Anti Anxiety Medication
If you dog has an extreme separation and panic issue, he may need to be medicated. It depends on what is good for nerves and anxiety. You may feel that natural anxiety help for your dog is the best alternative. Plus they may have to be hospitalized until medications they are taking can become effective.
This would be for their protection, so they don't inflict self-injury or injury to others. You could care for your dog at home during this period, but you would need to be sure that there’s someone with them at all times. This means you might have to hire a dog sitter or arrange for doggy daycare.
Exercise is another alternative behavioral technique which may work for your dog. When a dog gets a good rigorous chance to expel energy it can accomplish two things to help with their anxiety.
- It produces the feel-good chemical serotonin which will relax them.
- It removes the tension and energy that can encourage anxiety. So next time you go for a hike, walk or play fetch, know that these activities can reduce nervous tension and separation anxiety.
Distraction is a way to calm a dog who is nervous when in certain situations. These situations could be something like gunfire, loud noises or even thunderstorms. One thing to try on your dog is the simple rouse of distraction. Practice tricks, commands or even get one of those great puzzle balls filled with treats. Any other toy which is food motivated will work.
When you notice your dog start to become agitated in certain situations, give them a toy and they will learn to associate it with a reward, instead of anxiety.
4. Anxiety Jacket
A newly popular solution for dog anxiety is the Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Jacket. This is a garment which is a tightly fitting and wraps around your dogs body. The continuous pressure acts to calm them for issues like thunder, travel or loud noises.
Several pet owners swear by it and some say it doesn't help their pet at all. Its effectiveness would depend on how and when it’s used and your dogs personality type.
5. Massage and Music
Giving your dog a massage can help calm them down and relax. Use long, slow strokes and talk to them with praise quietly. Try adding soft background music for a much better affect. I recommend Through A Dog's Ear, which if you read what other dog owners have said about it, you'll want to try for yourself.
So to summarise, you can see there certainly are a range of other ways to tackle treatment in anxiety for dogs. Now it's just a matter of finding which one is best for your pooch.
Checkout The Following Anxiety In Dogs Buyer Guides