When you adopt a dog, you commit to caring for it. Responsible pet ownership involves regular vet checkups, reliable pet health insurance, daily exercise, and healthy food. In some cases, pets can become stressed and anxious due to several reasons. If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, you should contact your vet immediately. Do you have an anxious dog? Australian Veterinary Association research has found that one in four dogs suffers from anxiety. If your dog is one of them, don’t worry – there are several things you can do to help it feel better.
What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
There are many things that can cause anxiety in dogs, including changes in routine, loud noises, and unfamiliar environments. Some dogs may also be genetically predisposed to anxiety, and certain breeds are more prone to it than others. For example, herding dogs like Australian shepherds and border collies are more likely to suffer from anxiety than other breeds.
Just like humans, dogs can also develop anxiety disorders, such as separation anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder. These disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, early life experiences, and trauma. Sometimes, there just isn’t a reason – so don’t beat yourself up or assume that you don’t offer your canine friend a good life.
Tips to Help Your Anxious Dog
If your dog is showing signs of anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help ease their fears. First, it’s important to understand that your dog is not acting out of spite or trying to be difficult – they’re genuinely scared. With this in mind, try to stay calm and avoid reacting in a way that will make them more anxious.
Here are a few tips to help your anxious dog:
- Avoid using punishment to try and ‘fix’ the problem; this will only make your dog more anxious and could worsen their behaviour.
- Stick to a routine as much as possible because this will help your dog feel more secure and can help reduce anxiety.
- Try some calming supplements or pheromones, which can help to ease your dog’s anxiety. Zamipet has a range of fantastic supplements and treats for dogs that are stressed or anxious.
- Exercise is important for both physical and mental health, so make sure your dog is getting enough exercise every day.
- If you think your dog’s anxiety is caused by a specific fear or phobia, you can try desensitization and counterconditioning to help them overcome it.
- Finally, make sure you are providing plenty of love and attention to your furry friend. Dogs are social creatures and need lots of time with their humans to feel happy and secure – it’s not just us that like time with pets…they like it too.
Things to Avoid
On the other hand, there are also some things to avoid if you have an anxious dog in the house. First, never punish your dog for being anxious or showing signs of fear – as we’ve seen, this will only make the problem worse.
Secondly, try to avoid letting your dog become bored – this can lead to all sorts of behavioural problems, including anxiety.
Thirdly, make sure that you don’t accidentally reinforce your dog’s anxiety – for example, if you give them lots of attention when they’re showing signs of fear, you’re effectively telling them that there’s something to be afraid of.
Finally, try to avoid exposing your dog to too much change – this can be anything from a move to a new house to a change in routine. If you do need to make changes, do so gradually and give your dog plenty of time to adjust.