Humans aren’t the only ones that experience fear and anxiety; lots of animals do as well, especially dogs. What can you do to help your dog through these difficult times?
Anxiety and fears develop in dogs early on in their lives. From one to three years of age dogs remember what has happened and hold onto those experiences for life, like humans. Here are the top reasons for dog anxiety and some ways to help relieve it.
- Separation Anxiety –Some dogs feel as though they are being abandoned when left alone. With any dog, the reason for this is usually unknown. It could be because they’re unfamiliar with their new owner, a change of schedule or environment, or boredom. Try to make a comfortable environment for your pet. Leave the television or radio on, set up a bed for them, and give them a treat or delicious food before you leave the house. Puzzle toys are great because they keep them busy. Many other options are available including hiring a pet sitter or dropping them at a doggy daycare.
- Illness or Physical Pain –This is something you really need to see your veterinarian about because you cannot know what the actual problem is. Your vet will be able to run tests to see if your dog has a disease or is sick for another reason. If these are ruled out they may be able to tell you why your dog is experiencing anxiety and fear and ways to ease it.
- Past Experiences –When you’ve adopted a dog sometimes it is unknown exactly what the dog has been through with previous owners or other hardships. Some may have been hurt or beaten or sometimes deprived of food or care. This is a little harder to resolve, but with love and care they will learn to trust and rely on you and know that you do not intend on harming them. With time, you can earn a dogs trust.
- Lack Of Social and Outside Interaction –Dogs need to socialize with other people. Dogs should also get to play outside a few times a day. Some people are too busy, or simply, too lazy. There is no better time than now to set up a great routine for you and your dog. Taking your dog for a walk and letting him socialize with other friendly dogs will benefit both of you greatly.
- Loud Sounds –Lots of dogs are afraid of loud sounds like thunderstorms, vacuums, sirens and fireworks. Pay attention to the places they go to hide and make it so that they can easily access these places. Wherever it may be, create a comfortable environment for them to feel safe. This can become their ‘safe place’ from loud sounds and many other circumstances that may make them uncomfortable or scared.
Personal Tip: From my personal experience I have found two things to be very useful in calming my dog down and easing his stress and anxiety. I use my thumb and pointer finger to lightly stroke his ears. When I get to the tip of the ear – I apply a small amount of pressure. After a few minutes he is much calmer and I can tell he feels a little safer. Another trick I have learned is to put him in a doggie sweater or sweatshirt which can help him calm down and relax.It took a little getting used to, but my dog now loves his sweatshirt. He begs to have it put on and as soon as I do – he is more calm and happier. I assume it helps him feel safe. Plus, it is adorable to see a large, sweet Pit-bull in a hooded dog sweatshirt!