How Can I Calm My Dog?
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Mental health, depression, and anxiety are all buzz words at the moment, and rightly so. We need to be opening up the discussion about mental health and making it easy for those suffering to come forward and seek help. But what do you do if you have a particularly sensitive four-legged friend? Anxiety can take numerous forms in our dogs and it can sometimes be tricky to spot. You may notice something isn’t quite right but you just can't put your finger on it. If you're been wondering 'what can I give my dog for anxiety?' let's start by taking a look at the list of the most common types of dog anxiety and see what we can do to help.
This is quite simply the anxiety a dog feels when he/she is separated from you. This can manifest in dogs who are not used to spending time on their own or who have suffered abuse in their younger years and now need the comfort of their master in their lives 24/7.
Fear of Loud Noises
Dogs have incredible hearing which also means their ears can be very sensitive to sound. If a dog is startled by a loud noise he/she will then associate loud noises with fear making it difficult for them in situations like firework night or a thunderstorm.
Changes in Environment
Dogs, like humans, enjoy structure and routine. When their routine is upset, they can feel unbalanced and fearful which leads to anxiety. This may appear during a house move, a change in daily routine due to a new job, going to the vet, or having a new pet in the house.
Signs of anxiety can include:-
- Barking when the owner isn’t home
- Panting and Pacing
- Inability to settle
- Destroying furniture
- Excessive licking
- Not eating
- Urinating more frequently
Luckily there is help out there. Obviously, it is very important to initially identify the root problem that is causing the anxiety and try to remove it. If this is not possible there are various tools that can help alleviate the anxiety as you try to find a long-term approach. If the issues persist we would recommend you speak to your vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions and also a dog behaviourist who can help you understand what may be causing the unsettled situation and give you further ideas on how to treat it.
What can I give my dog for anxiety?
Food Puzzle Toys
If you're worried about separation anxiety, finding a way to keep your dog busy when he is alone and to start to enjoy himself when you are not in his company is important. A way to do this can be via puzzle toys. Kongs are a leading toy in this market and filling it with peanut butter or their favourite treat can lead to a happy pooch totally engrossed in finding the yummy treat rather than pining for you.
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Cuddles and reassurance work for dogs. The old myth that reassurance reinforces fear has been largely debunked by veterinary professionals and behaviourists and so a loving cuddle and a reassuring pat goes a long way. A step to further reassure is to try a thunder shirt. Like swaddling an infant, Thundershirts apply gentle, constant pressure to calm all types of anxiety, fear, and over-excitement issues. Great for bonfire night and a trip to the vet.
Adaptil is a plug-in diffuser that sends comforting messages to help puppies and dogs feel calm and relaxed in stressful situations. Mother dogs communicate with their puppies using natural comforting messages released from the mammary zone. These messages are scientifically called Dog Appeasing Pheromones. They are odourless and are only perceived by dogs. Adaptil mimics these pheromones releasing comforting messages into the air and calming the dog.
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If your dog really cannot settle and finds being alone terribly upsetting then a dog sitter is a great way to allow him/her to get used to time away from you but without needing to specific time alone. By spending time with other dogs it can also help him/her build up confidence and follow their lead in behaviour.
READ MORE: 10 Tips - What To Tell The Dog Sitter
If your home allows it. Sometimes introducing a friend in the form of another dog can help to provide a stable companion for your sensitive pooch. This needs to be approached with caution, however, as introducing a new animal can sometimes lead to a worsening in anxiety if they are not well suited.
VISIT DOGS TRUST TO FIND YOUR NEW FURRY BEST FRIEND
Overall, it’s important to stay calm and provide reassurance and consistent communication to help them lead a balanced life. And if the problem persists and is having an impact on your daily lives seek help from a professional.
READ MORE: Choosing The Right Behaviourist