Just like their human parents, there are a lot of things that can trigger anxiety in a dog. Loud noises, being alone, other animals, car rides, new environments or stimuli, age—the list goes on and on. Anxiety is an exhausting and unpleasant condition that is not good for your dog’s quality of life. So, what can you do to help your pup relax and feel better?
First, you need to be able to recognize the signs of anxiety in your dog.
You can’t effectively treat your dog’s anxiety if you don’t know it’s a problem in the first place. There are a lot of ways anxiety can manifest in your pooch, but here are the most common symptoms to watch for:
- Excessive barking/growling
- Aggressive behavior
- Repetitive/compulsive behaviors
- Excessive chewing/licking (especially themselves)
- Destructive behaviors
- Urinating more often or in the house
- Not eating
If your dog’s anxiety is a chronic problem, there are a few things you can do to help.
Diffusing and redirecting your dog’s anxious behavior can be a very effective long-term solution. You can either train them yourself or work with a professional (this is usually recommended). One strategy to try is called counterconditioning. This involves retraining an anxious response to a trigger into a positive one, such as training them to sit and roll over instead of chew on their paws when they hear thunder.
Another approach you can use is positive reinforcement training. With this method, your dog is slowly introduced to their anxiety trigger and offered a reward upon exposure, such as a treat or toy. Over time, this helps them to change their negative association with their anxiety source into a positive one.
Sometimes, a dog simply needs love and comfort to help overcome their anxiety. There are a few ways to provide this to them. You can hold or pet your dog when their anxious behavior starts, put them in an anxiety or “thunder” shirt, give them a favorite toy or blanket, or even get them a furry friend (another dog or cat) to offer companionship in anxious situations.
If your dog’s anxiety is extreme, you may want to speak with your vet about medication options. Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can help manage extreme symptoms and provide some relief for your pup. You may also want to consider natural remedies such as CBD products (treats, oils, balms, etc.) or aromatherapy.
Change of Environment
In many cases, especially as a dog ages, it is something in their environment that is making them feel anxious on a regular basis. It could be that the sounds of the city life are too much for their older ears or perhaps the daily rumble of a nearby train is beginning to set them off. It may even be a specific environment, like a dog kennel or doggy daycare, that triggers an anxious response.
If your current environment is no longer a good fit for your dog, Silver Streak Kennels can help!
We have had a lot of dogs walk through our doors riddled with anxiety and leave them feeling relaxed and happy. Some canine guests even come to us having to take medications for their extreme anxiety and, after a few weeks on our countryside farm, no longer need them. With the freedom to roam across open rolling hills, friendship of the other dogs at our facility, and the compassionate care of our staff of dog lovers, your anxious pup is sure to find comfort and relief at Silver Streak.
Whether your dog just needs a long-term boarding stay while you figure out better living arrangements for their anxiety, or you decide they would be happiest retiring fully to our 150-acre property (where you are free to visit with them as you wish!), your dog will be treated like family for as long as they’re with us.
To learn more about how we can help you give your dog a healthier, happier life, give us a call at 607-263-2007 today!