Dog Anxiety & How To Treat It

the fast-paced world we live in, we sometimes forget that our furry companions experience the same pressures that we do. They are caught in the same whirlwinds and can experience severe dog anxiety.

Symptoms

There are several telltale signs of dog anxiety:

  • Unexpected Urinating and Defecating
  • Destructive Actions
  • Barking, Howling or Whining
  • Pacing or Panicking
  • Escape Attempts
  • Aggressive Behavior

Triggers

Your dog’s anxiety can be triggered by a number of things. The two most common are fear or separation. A sudden loud noise or unusual circumstance usually triggers a reaction. They might start to act irrationally, become agitated or react destructively.

Separation from the people they love also bring about episodes. Remember, your relationship with your dog is just as deeply emotional & important to them as it is to you. If they feel that you have left them, even for a little while, they may panic and react accordingly. Most dogs are also fiercely loyal and may feel that you have gotten lost or need their help, causing them to take drastic actions to escape and rescue you.

Treatment

Although there are no simple solutions, there are a number of ways to treat your dog’s anxiety. Keep in mind, every dog is different and may respond to one type of treatment better than another. Some experimentation is necessary to determine what works best with your particular fur baby.

Desensitizing

Begin to introduce your dog to your departures with short, planned absences. Start with just a few seconds at a time, and gradually work it up to minutes and finally to hours. Let them become comfortable with absences and build their confidence in your imminent return. Make your exits gentle and smooth. Give yourself ample time to leave quietly. If you are not rushed or in a panic to get out of the house, that will help keep them from feeling that the departure is something to fear.

Counterconditioning

Add new features to your departures, like a special toy or a treat they can enjoy. Make it consistent, so they begin to look forward to it. The benefits they receive will ease the thoughts of you leaving. Turn the experience from a fearful negative to a time of enjoyable rewards, until your absences are no longer feared but welcomed.

Activity

If possible, try giving the dog plenty of exercise and activity before you leave. This makes the downtime feel more normal, like rest after a game or a run in the park. If they feel more comfortable with a break in the schedule, they may become accustomed to it and actually look forward to it.

Training

The more obedience training your dog has, the easier they’ll adapt to unfamiliar circumstances. Being taught control in some areas will naturally help them develop control in others. Education builds solid character in our furry friends as much as it does in people.

Diagnosis

Your dog’s anxiety can be quite complex and difficult to analyze. An experienced veterinarian can help diagnose your fur baby’s specific condition and recommend solutions for you. For a DFW vet, try The Shot SpotThe Shot Spot is a local, respected, family-owned clinic offering the same passion for your pet as you feel. Contact us today for a consultation.