Just like humans, dogs can suffer from anxiety too, for a variety of different reasons. It could be separation anxiety, which may be common in rescue dogs that were abandoned as puppies, or travel anxiety, thunderstorm anxiety for dogs that fear loud noises, and more. Depending on what triggers your dog’s anxiety, you may notice different symptoms. There are several ways you can help your dog deal with this. The first step is recognizing the signs of anxiety.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs Include:
- Having accidents around the house
- Excessive barking or whining
- Shedding more than normal
- No interest in toys, food, or treats
- Destructive Behavior
However, it’s important to remember that just because your dog is displaying one of these signs, doesn’t necessarily make it a cause for concern. Pay close attention to his behaviors, and determine if these behaviors are out of the ordinary, when they’re happening, and then take action from there.
Similar to how some humans deal with anxiety, exercise is a great way to help mild forms of anxiety. While it’s not necessarily a “cure” that will make the anxiety disappear completely, it certainly will help. You should aim to get your dog out for a minimum of 1 hour per day for a walk or other form of physical exercise. This can especially help dogs with separation anxiety, as it reduces boredom and allows you to spend more quality time with your furry friend.
Treats or Toys
When you were a kid, you probably had a favorite stuffed animal or blanket that brought you comfort. When you were scared, hurt, or sad, your parents probably used this as a tactic to calm you down. This is an effective tactic you can use for your dog, too! Find something that your dog is willing to work for and will take his mind off of stressful situations. This is a good coping mechanism to distract him from anxiety triggers such as thunderstorms, fireworks, overwhelming crowds of people, etc.
Work With a Trainer or Vet
If you’re concerned about your dog’s anxiety, it may be worthwhile to talk with your dog’s trainer or vet. For dogs that suffer from extreme anxiety, there are several anti-anxiety medications that they can take, depending on the scenario. A trainer may be able to help teach strategies that calm your dog and reduce symptoms of anxiety.