It's no secret that dogs are man's best friend. But what many people don't realize is that a large percentage of dogs suffer from anxiety.
In fact, studies show that more than 70% of dogs display signs of anxiety at some point in their lives.
There are many different factors that can contribute to a dog's anxiety, including genetics, prior trauma, and environmental stressors.
And while not all cases of anxiety can be cured, there are many ways to help an anxious dog feel more comfortable and calm. With patience, love, and a little bit of extra care, an anxious dog can learn to enjoy life just like any other dog.
If you're living with an anxious dog, here are 7 tips to help make their life a little bit easier:
1. Provide Routine and Structure
A dog's day-to-day routine can have a big impact on his overall health and well-being. By establishing a predictable daily routine, you can help your dog feel more confident and less nervous.
For example, if you always take him for a walk at the same time each day, he'll start to anticipate when he'll get to go outside. And if you feed him at regular intervals, he'll know when he can expect his next meal.
Establishing a daily routine will help your dog feel secure and content, and it can also help to prevent behavioral problems from developing.
2. Create a Safe and Secure Environment
A dog's environment plays a crucial role in their overall health and wellbeing. A safe and secure environment can help to reduce anxiety and provide a sense of calm, while an unsafe or chaotic environment can exacerbate anxiety and lead to further behavioral problems.
For a dog who is struggling with anxiety, creating a safe and secure environment is essential.
This may involve confining them to a small space when they are feeling anxious, providing them with plenty of chew toys and bones to gnaw on, and keeping them away from anything that may trigger their anxiety (such as other dogs or loud noises).
3. Play Some Music
Dogs are social animals who thrive on companionship and interaction. Unfortunately, there are times when they may be left alone for extended periods of time, leading to feelings of anxiety and stress.
One way to help a lonely dog feel more relaxed and comfortable is to play some music. The sounds of the music will help to soothe and calm the dog, providing a sense of comfort and security.
In addition, the music can help to mask any outside noise that may be causing the dog to feel anxious.
Whether it's classical music or your favorite pop tunes, playing some music for your dog can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
4. Introduce Some Variety Into Their Lives
Introducing some variety into your dog's life is a great way to ease boredom and anxiety. This could mean taking them for more walks in different locations, trying out new types of treats, or even playing different kinds of games together.
By giving your dog new experiences to enjoy, you can help to reduce their anxiety and improve their overall well-being.
So if your four-legged friend is feeling anxious, don't hesitate to mix things up a bit and introduce them to something new. It could just be the thing that helps them to feel better.
5. Make Sure They Are Getting Plenty of Exercises
Exercise is important for all dogs, but it's especially crucial for those who are struggling with anxiety. Exercise helps to release feel-good chemicals in the brain, which can help to improve mood and reduce stress.
In addition, exercise provides an outlet for all that excess energy that can often lead to anxious or destructive behaviors.
So if your dog is feeling anxious, make sure to give them plenty of opportunities to burn off some energy. A good game of fetch or a long walk around the block can do wonders for an anxious dog.
6. Try Alternative Therapies Such As Massage or Acupuncture
In more severe cases of anxiety in dogs, acupuncture can also help to reduce the amount of medications needed to control the condition.
Generally, acupuncture is used as a complementary treatment to conventional medication, but in some cases, it can be used as a stand-alone therapy.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system and releasing natural chemicals that can help to calm the mind and body. It is a safe and effective treatment with very few side effects.
When used in combination with medication, acupuncture can help to reduce the dosage needed, making it an ideal treatment for dogs with anxiety.
Giving your dog a massage is another great therapy to help them relax and feel more comfortable.
Research has shown that even a gentle pat on the head can help to soothe dogs during times of stress, such as getting shots or having their blood drawn.
This finding suggests that physical touch may be an important part of the human-dog bond, and it may even offer some insight into the way we interact with our furry friends.
7. Consider Medication or Natural Supplements Under the Guidance of a Veterinarian
As more and more people turn to natural solutions for their own anxiety and stress, it's no surprise that CBD solutions are becoming increasingly common for anxious pets as well.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants, and it has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
CBD products for pets come in a variety of forms, including oils, treats, and even collars. And while CBD is not a cure-all, it can be a helpful tool for managing your pet's anxiety.
If you're considering trying CBD for your anxious pet, talk to your veterinarian first to make sure it's the right solution for your pet's individual needs.
Dogs who are struggling with anxiety can benefit from a variety of different treatments.
By providing routine and structure, playing some music, introducing some variety into their lives, making sure they are getting plenty of exercises, and trying alternative therapies such as massage or acupuncture, we can help our anxious dogs feel more relaxed and comfortable.
And if we're still struggling, there are always medications and natural supplements that can be considered under the guidance of a veterinarian.
So if your dog is feeling anxious, don't hesitate to try out some of these helpful tips.
About the Author:
Andrew Garf is the founder of TrainYourGSD.com, a site dedicated to helping people train their dogs. He's also a burger enthusiast and a part-time dog trainer. When he's not working on his website or eating burgers, Andrew likes to spend time with his German Shepherds, Buster and Bailey.