Dogs also have anxiety and panic attacks just like their best friends. While a dog’s anxiety attack may not have the same symptoms like ours do, these attacks can also cause distress and have physical side effects on the dog.
Here are Some Common Dog Anxiety Issues
The dog gets frightened when he hears loud or unfamiliar sounds. Prime examples are thunderstorms, fireworks, party crackers and children’s toys.
Some dogs are not used to being in cars and while they may be happy in the car when it is not moving, they get anxious and stressed when the car starts moving.
Some dogs get nervous when they feel that they are locked up.
A dog can get anxious when left alone all day. This is especially true in the case of new dogs, new puppies, and new houses if the dog has an overall nervous character.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Getting Anxiety Attacks?
When any pack animal, like dogs, is anxious, they show their anxiety in repetitive behaviors to relieve their stress. Just like we humans start talking nervously, or chew our lips or bite our nails; dogs also start pacing, barking and grooming.
Some dogs also chew up shoes, carpets, and off-limit foods. Other grosser behaviors are pooping and peeing in their area, and even eating their poop. Extreme cases are when the dog gets aggressive towards people, or other pets in the house.
In such situations, reprimanding or punishing the dog is not the solution. This would just make the poor dog more stressed.
How To Treat Your Dog’s Anxiety
The best ways to treat your dog’s anxiety is to follow one of the following methods.
The most effective way to treat a dog’s anxiety is to start familiarizing him with the trigger slowly.
For instance, if the dog is scared of car rides, take him to the car and let him sniff around and get used to the car. Then gently open the door let him sniff around the car and reward him for getting into the car.
Keep on doing this for a few times then start getting into the driver’s seat and closing the door. Eventually, you will start driving the car with your dog.
The key is to reward the dog frequently so that he knows that he’s doing well and keep in increasing the stages until the desired behavior is achieved. The treats should be special so that the dog is both excited by the treat and also distracted from the source of his anxiety.
If your dog is an overall anxious animal, it is good to give him a calm and fixed routine.
Keep the dog’s commands fixed and use them gently without panicking or getting nervous. If you get nervous, your dog will pick up the vibes and become anxious too. Stability in your own behavior will give your dog a clear understanding of what to do and how to do it.
Another great tip is to give your dog a massage whenever he seems to be getting nervous.
There are also several chemical products that release pheromones to relax dogs. However I am not in favor of these because I usually try to avoid using chemicals on anything.
In my opinion, the best way to calm your dog’s anxiety is to use desensitization exercises with fixed sets of commands and treats which will work well. It will take time though.
Contributed by Babah27