We can’t always be there to calm our pups in uncomfortable situations, but we can put systems in place to avoid the behavioral issues that stem from anxiety symptoms. It's important to have an anxiety awareness. Anxiety affects all breeds of dogs... but many experience anxiety differently. If disproportionate levels of anxiety go unchecked, a dog may develop a disorder so it's crucial that you watch out for signs and more. This often leads to more severe behavioral issues. Some of these issues may be the result of occasional anxiety-causing events. But any of these can become recurrent, including:
- Urinating or defecating in the house
- Dog panting and pacing
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
By far the most dangerous symptom of dog anxiety is aggression. However, this is not the only form of destructive behavior amongst dogs with anxiety. Clawing on doorways attempts to escape, and depression can also cause damage to not only our lives but our pups as well.
Calming An Anxious Dog
The first thing you can do is consult your veterinarian. Your dog may or may not need medical help, but if there is a need for medicine, your vet will be the first to help. SSRIs and antidepressants are occasionally prescribed for dogs with anxiety. Common medications include fluoxetine, clomipramine, or benzodiazepine. As well, the Merck Veterinary Manual states that natural solutions like natural therapies and products can help dogs with anxiety. Depending on the case, some products work in conjunction with other medications, while others work alone. Popular natural remedies include:
CBD is a compound found in hemp plants that dog owners have found useful for treating a variety of different physical and mental health conditions. Anecdotal reports from dog owners claim that CBD oil can be effective in treating dog anxiety. However, CBD oil is not yet regulated. Owners must take care to find high-quality sources before using CBD.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP)
DAP is a synthetic chemical based on a hormone produced by lactating female dogs. This hormone helps mother canines keep their puppies calm. While scientific studies have shown that DAP does work with puppies, it isn't as clear if it works with anxious adult dogs.
Whether to ease discomfort or mimic company, many owners leave a television or radio on when they leave the house. But there is also specialized music that one can play to help particularly anxious dogs. Through a Dog's Ear is a selection of music specifically aimed at calming nervous dogs.
Thundershirts might make your pup look funny, but they can make a big difference. While not strictly for thunderstorms or fireworks, the wraps swaddle pups using Deep Pressure Therapy. By applying gentle, continuous pressure, Thundershirts help reduce fear while comforting anxious dogs.
The Soothing Bed
Another product designed to reduce stress caused by many situations. The raised rims "protect" dogs by calming their sensory behaviors and providing comfort when they need it. By relaxing their nervous system, dogs can experience less restlessness and stress during long absences, thunderstorms, and even travel.