Anxiety is one of the most common problems pet owners face. Dogs in particular can become triggered by separation anxiety, storms, vet visits, and other stressful situations.
Pet anxiety can lead to destructive behavior if left untreated, which can cause stress for owners as well as their furry companions. That's why it's important to try to determine what causes a dog's anxiety and know how to treat it before it gets worse. Although your first reaction may be to have an antidepressant prescribed for your pooch (8% of dog owners have turned to these types of drugs to treat their pet's anxiety) you may want to try one of the following three tips first.
1. Create a Routine When Leaving Your Dog
If separation anxiety is what your dog is dealing with, there are several steps you can take to ease them into the separation period. Give your dog an interactive toy or puzzle stuffed with a treat to keep them preoccupied. If you dog starts to get nervous when they see you putting on your coat, don't leave your home right away after putting it on—sit down for a few minutes and attend to other tasks so your dog won't associate the article of clothing with you leaving.
Try to resist making a huge deal of when you leave or return home—you want the action to feel normal to your pet. Daily exercise and giving your pet a regular routine can also help with separation anxiety. You may want to hire a dog sitter to spend time with your dog when you're at work to help ease their loneliness. If you intend to be away for an extended period of time, consider taking your dog to a canine daycare business that will give them plenty of attention and interactivity while you're away.
2. Use a Compression Vest During Storms
A pet vest that exerts gentle steady pressure such as the Thundershirt can calm your pet when a storm is due or when fireworks are being set off nearby. It's similar to swaddling an infant to keep them calm, and it's believed that the pressure mimics a firm embrace to help calm dogs' nerves. A compression vest may be worn for a few hours at a time, as long as no areas are rubbing against and irritating your pet.
Other anxiety remedies you may want to try include playing soothing classical music, spraying your home with a pheromone-based calming spray, pet massage, and natural supplements formulated to treat anxiety.
3. Utilize White Noise
White noise machines have been found to help hospital patients sleep more soundly while they recover from surgery and illnesses because they help mask out distracting background noises. It turns out dogs can hear white noise as well, which means this device can help calm your pet and help them sleep better, particularly if you live in a noisy neighborhood.
You can also provide comfort to your best friend by allowing them into your bed. Not only is this good for your dog, but it turns out there are many benefits to co-sleeping with pets including decreased stress in humans—a win-win for both species!
Help Your Dog Deal With Anxiety
If the three tips above don’t work, don’t give up—it is possible to treat your dog’s anxiety. Your vet can also rule out any health problems causing your pet’s anxiety and recommend additional solutions.
To discover more ways of keeping your dog happy, safe, healthy, and anxiety-free, be sure to read our latest posts here on the Wagz blog.