Anxiety is a condition that is common in both humans and our furry friends. It can be related to a specific event, like riding in a vehicle, or it can be a more general condition that triggers from many different situations.
Anxiety comes about due to different fears or phobias. We see anxiety manifest in varying forms. Sometimes it’s depression, sometimes it’s aggression and destructive behavior, or it could be in other behaviors like accidents in the house, drooling or persistent barking.
It’s critical to understand the source of your dog’s anxiety to implement effective treatment. Is your dog anxious about being left alone? Being confined? Could it be loud noises, travel or changes to their environment? Maybe it’s certain objects, people or places that cause anxiety. Knowing will go a long way to helping with treatment.
Many of these forms of anxiety can be helped through training and conditioning. However, some dogs are simply anxious by nature, or they need help calming down enough before training can be effective. There are pharmaceuticals that can be prescribed by veterinarians in extreme cases. To minimize the risks and potential side effect of medicating your dog, consider some of these options.
Most of us know that exercise is a great stress reliever for humans and the same goes for dogs. A tired dog is a happy dog. Sometimes getting them outside of the house to play and exercise is the best remedy for anxiety. Even older dogs need exercise as long as it’s activities that are easier on their aging joints.
Exercise can help in a couple different ways. First, it stimulates the production of serotonin which is a chemical that is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It’s also found in humans and helps with sleeping, eating and digesting. Second, it helps get rid of all that excess energy that build up as well as the tension that increase anxiety. Go for a long walk or hike with your dog, let them run alongside for a bike ride, or maybe play a long game of fetch in the yard. Anything that wears them out will do the trick.
“Music has charms to soothe the savage beast.” Most of us have heard this old proverb and it does ring true in many of us. Music has a soothing or calming quality in many species, not just humans. Try leaving a radio or tv on when your pet is home alone. This can help a dog feel comforted and diminish separation anxiety. If you decide to do this, be sure to play the music at times when you are home as well.
What kinds of music do dogs like? There are actually several music genres that have shown to be more effective for soothing dogs. Reggae and soft rock have been the most relaxing for dogs and classical music also helps calm dogs in stressful environments. Studies have shown that dogs do get used to background noise after about 7 days and begin to show more anxiety and stress. Mix up the stations or music that you leave on for your dog. Everyone enjoys a little variety, right?
Looking for some playlists? Check out Preventive Vet on Spotify or the Soft Rock for Dogs playlist on Spotify
Essential oils can be toxic if ingested, especially to our pets. You should never apply them directly to your pet.
With that said, you can still use essential oils for aromatherapy in your home if you use them properly.
Diffusers are a safer way to implement these essential oils so that your dog can benefit from their soothing properties. Lavender and frankincense are generally the most effective essential oils for your pet’s anxiety. Others that may have calming properties if you want to mix them in are orange, tangerine, ylang ylang and patchouli
Again, essential oils are not safe for direct application to dogs. If you have essential oils in your home, be sure to store them in a place your pet cannot access. Our pets are much more sensitive to essential oils than us humans. Many oils can be toxic and pose danger to most pets.
The ThunderShirt is a popular solution for dogs with storm anxiety. If your dog is panic stricken during thunderstorms it can wreak havoc, not only on your dog’s health, but also your household’s ability to sleep. The ThunderShirt is a wrap that is designed to apply gentle, constant pressure to calm anxiety, fear and over excitement due to environmental triggers, especially weather-related anxiety.
Be careful not to overuse this wrap. Try to limit its use to high-anxiety times. Using it too frequently can make it less effective.
Who doesn’t find a massage relaxing? Your dog sure will. Dog massage can lower blood pressure and reduce stress for the dog and for the human who massages the dog. Bonus!
Massaging the top of the head, feet and ears are great for stress relief as these are natural pressure points. Just 10-15 minutes a day can have a huge impact on your dog’s anxiety. Need some tips on how to become a better pooch masseuse? Check out this article from Modern Dog Magazine.
6. Brushing & Grooming
Don’t forget to pamper your pup. Therapy for your dog could be as simple as 10-15 minute of brushing every night. It feels great for your dog, and it gives them more time to spend with you. This is also a great time to look for any sores, abrasions or lesions on the skin which could be signs that it’s time to get your dog checked by a vet.
7. Mental Stimulation/Distraction
If your dog’s anxiety is tied to certain situations, like a thunderstorm or being in crowd of people, consider some way of distracting your dog. Making your dog think will help them to focus on something other than the anxiety causing environment. Mental exertion can have the same calming effect as physical exercise.
Try working on new tricks. It doesn’t matter what tricks they are. You are going to be spending one-on-one time with your dog and that is what they crave. Many dogs develop stress behaviors because they are not getting enough stimulation. Boredom can lead to unwanted behaviors.
One of the most common supplements for dog stress is melatonin which is a hormone that naturally rises when your dog sleeps. This supplement will work to calm your dog for short periods of time and can also help with sleep.
Another supplement for mild to moderate anxiety is L-tryptophan. Studies have shown that this supplement can bring improvements in anxiety-related behavior.
CBD oil and chews have recently become available. There is, however, no regulation about potency so this can be a difficult supplement to utilize.
Rescue Remedy is a popular supplement for those seeking herbal treatments. This is a blend of natural herb and flower extracts that can help with anxiety.
Before giving your dog any supplements, you should discuss the proper doses with your veterinarian.
9. Managing YOUR Stress
We feel the stress of others in our lives and it can have a significant impact on our anxiety. Dogs will feel our anxiety as well. Most of us have experienced the empathy that a dog. Coming to us in our time of need. Managing our stress and anxiety will have a positive effect on our dog’s well being. We must care for ourselves as well as our furry friends.
If you have serious concerns with your dog’s anxiety, be sure to schedule an appointment with you veterinarian to discuss all your options. Veterinarians are the only people specifically trained to advise you on all treatments for your dog. Read as much as you can, ask questions, and be an advocate for your pet’s health.
My 11 year old Puggle has developed major anxiety when my visits and stay with me. He whines and cries and continues to run in and out of the kitchen. He continually whines and cries It is very stressful.. and wakes md up I ,middle of night give him Benedril helps w sleep but daytime is bad !! Help? Suggestions welcome!!.
My dachshund has terrible anxiety even I’m 2 minutes in restroom 20 steps away he has eaten 3 bedroom doors and now I have to buy a 4th cause I was in hospital.It’s only him and I…dr. has him on xanax..now if I give him 2they work. Help…he”smy baby. I have no friend and my only family is very far away.
My poodle had puppies,
We gave them away st 5 weeks old, she is carrying a squeaky toy in her mouth and whinning.
Shes try to find a safe place to hide the toy, but cant seem to find that special place, the separation has put her in a depression stage, its over a week since the babies were gone. What can i do to help her!!!
Hello, I would try some CBD products as they seem to really help pups with anxiety. I also think that this is her missing her puppies so maybe some day care to help her socialize and see other dogs with exercise
I feel so sorry for your dog. Five weeks is way too early to separate mom & pups. I always make sure any new pup I’m bringing home stays with mom until 9 weeks. Spay her soon & lots of exercise & fun distractions.
This is very sad. The puppies are too young to be away from her. Spay her!
5 weeks old is much too early to separate puppies from their mother. Moms and siblings will continue to teach the puppies manner even when they are fully weaned. I don’t think they’re even weaned by then. Both mom and puppies could have problems the rest of their lives. I hope you’ve found some help by now.
Oh wow. Five weeks was at least 3 weeks too soon. Poor girl. The weaning process is important for all of them. Maybe see if you can foster a couple puppies for a while.
Give him his own bed beside your bed. He wants to be near you all the time. Slowly move the bed a little farther each time (whenever you think it’s ok) nudging him toward the door. Eventually he will get used to the idea that he doesn’t have to be glued to you, to know you are not abandoning him. Taking him to a place where he is able to wander on his own, like a dog park, but still see you my help also. He might not leave your side but eventually he is going to be curious enough to wander away. It’s going to take time but with your help he will be ok. Try meditation for yourself, yoga, anything to help you relax. Our dogs will pick up on the mood changes in us. If you have anxiety, or expect he his going to behave the same way, he is going to feel it, and in turn gives him anxiety. Encourage him, praise him lots when he does go even a few steps away. This way he knows it’s ok, and when he looks back, you say “it’s ok go on”
I am not an expert by any miens, but I do know that what we feel, comes out in our dogs. If you can stay positive and calm, I believe it will reflect greatly on your pooch
I agree! With your advice!
Hello, I would try some CBD products for pets. They seem to help out with dogs that have really bad anxiety. If Xanax helps there may be other anti depressants that aren’t so toxic that may help as well.
I have a rescue dog. I have him already for 2 years and he has always been fine in a crate when I was not home. I had to do this because he was destroying everything when I let him loose. He seemed to see the crate as his comfort zone. I had many foster dogs during that time. The the dog of my boyfriend broke out of the crate and ever since then my other dog also breaks out. So we decided to work on leaving them loose in the house when we are not there. We got to the point that we could leave them for some hours without them destroying anything. But for some reason now he sometimes destroyes the sofa. We never know why, because it is not everytime that we leave them alone. I really need some advice on this. We have already tried a lot.
can you leave him in the bathroom or close off a corner in the basement . You could try Benadryl, melatonin, the vet. said CBD oil, Dramamine there are many calming edibles also. They even sell strong fences for use in houses.They are portable. By the way CBD oil and hemp are not the same.
put black pepper on the sofa, i have had the same problems with previous doggy & current one. They don’t like black pepper & will eventually stop chewing. Let them see you doing it so they know that you know, great deterrent! Make sure you store your shoes up high so they can’t reach them or in the closet.
The only thing that has worked with our girl is the pills. We give her zanex too, it genius tremendously.v it’s like night and day. She is finally calm enough to be next by herself saved to take wake and drives were freaking it on everything, everyone, and every animal she sees. It’s sad we have to give her pills but it’s there unless thing that works
My dog came home with just 4 porcupine quills stuck to the front of her nose we got one or 2 out but she is very nervous what can I do to calm her down
Hi, SOrry for the delay in response. Your pup seems to be suffering from depression. Exercise may help, CBD products do help with anxiety and maybe some type of anti depression. He is 11 so if this is something new then either something traumatic happened or possibly something with his diet or brain could have caused it. I would recommend a vet that is experienced in homeopathic medication.
Hope this Helps
I have an 18 yr old Yorkie who is going blind, he shakes so bad it breaks my heart. I hold him till he calms down. What can I do for him
I have a Shih Tzu who is 13 months old. My husband & I are over 60. I’m disabled & he’s retired with a lot of aches & pains. My dog if he doesn’t get his way will bark & bark nonstop. He really really barks too too much. He is very aggressive & nips our toes hands ankles very badly if we do not play with him. We do but he wants to play all the time. What to do pls help.
There are a couple things I recommend. Getting a good quality no bark collar works great for the barking problem.
Next would be training. There are boarding training programs that take your dog for a couple weeks and then bring them back with good foundation to work with.
One other option is a good day care center to wear your dog out with play time during the day that will make your time more enjoyable.
Hope this helps.
Hi glen thx for the advise. Can you tell me or give me some places that training board your dog for a few days or weeks maybe?
Hi Glen thx for the advise. Reg. training….can you recommend a few good boarding training programs that take your dog for a couple weeks and then bring them back with good foundation to work with.
My dog is continuously digging floor and whinning and hurting herself..
What shall I do please help me
I would try some CBD products or an anti depressant. If this hurting her then I would get her into a vet to get some physical diagnosis as she may have some kind of issue physically as well.
A table draped with a blanket is a great retreat, or if your dog is used to being in a crate, cover it and leave it open with blankets inside. Don’t lock your dog in the crate, as this can be even more stressful for them. Give your dog options so they can choose where to hide.
I have a 13 year old plnpen chi mix he has anxiety to every little noise.I have notice after 3 years of using my fireplace that he has developed anxiety to to fire what should I do.
My 2 year old boxer male has developed serious anxiety and acts aggressive when on a lead doesn’t like men and hates bikes and loud noises since getting him as a 10 week old pup he’s not liked loud noises so I really am struggling to find the cause also I’m positive that an incident occurred at his previous daycare which is where the hatred of men started and his behaviour when has progressively got worse. Also I’m sure I’m not helping in the right way
My dog has wicked anxiety which makes her aggressive at times. My fear is she will bite someone one day. I work as hospice nurse so i drive wuite a bit and am able to take her with me. Over the last month she is barking more in the car, she goes crazy when a person is outside and now when a truck, teactor or horse is even outside. Its terrible. I thought bringing her out would improve things and get her used to the outside world. Help.
I have a 3 year older Pomeranian that is very nervous/aggressive, I have fried calming collar an plug in, but he will now not let me put on a collar without attacking me. He is the same with a harness if he doesn’t want to do something he gets aggressive. I wonder if recuse remedy for pets is something to try? But it’s hard to get in the uk. He wees a lot in the flat even if he has been loads in the day, does this in any house he is in even if the back door is open to wee he will go Inside where his not meant to. Can you suggest something to calm him down? As he gets so overwhelmed when I come in he will spin around grabbing his tail an pulls the hair out. If you try stop him he will get agressive an he will then hold it in his mouth an fall asleep. Any advice please?
My puppy 9 yrs old and pace the floor st night what can I do
Hello I have a sweet little Rita I have raised her from a puppy in the same setting for the first 4 years of her life
4 months before her 5th birthday we lived in with my boyfriend his kids and 2 labs
She hasn’t been quiet the same since
Things have definitely changed in her our lifestyle here for sure
My boyfriend brings up his dogs a lot different than I do and it has definitely had an impact on my Rita
I don’t want to say she is depressed however she shows definite signs or separation anxiety when I leave for work or even when I am home and she is just outside
When I am home she will not interact with anyone including the other dogs
She will whine at the door to come inside immediately
She follows me all over the home stands by my side no matter where I am but at bed time separates herself from me by sleeping on her bed in the living room
I have attempted to move her bed into the bedroom by me but my bf became annoyed and said thy was ridiculous to move the dog bed daily
The kids have sent me videos of her playing and enjoying life while I am at work to set my kind at ease because they know it is breaking me down
I try my best to not get so upset
Here life is different it’s a farm the dogs are outside during the day while everyone is at work she is not used to that but it’s been quite the argument and created a great deal of tension
She is not a bad dog she does not chew things she does not mess in the house she is such a good loving girl
Please if you can offer me any advice I would greatly appreciate that
Thank you so much in advance
My 3 year old German Shepherd is dog aggressive. Goes from zero to 600 mph in a second. What can help. Thanks
My 9 week shih tzu mix has horrible separation anxiety..got him @7 weeks and it is just us. I’m sure it’s my fault but now he follows me everywhere, he goes bizeerrk when in not in his line of sight, and he has to touch me when he sits or laying down
My 8 month old pup JUST started shaking ++ and panting +++, yawning+ when driving in cars. He was perfectly fine before. It’s so distressing for both of us and nothing seems to work. I just bought a car seat ( his own space) and a thundershirt and calmaid spray. It’s only been two days but no improvement- i’m already discouraged as we drive alot.
Couple questions for you. One is your dog crate trained? Number two does she have separation anxiety?
If your dog is crate trained I would recommend trying to put the crate in the car put your dog in the crate and sit in the backseat with it and have her go in and out a few times in and out a few times. If your dog is not crate trained then I would recommend spending some time in the car when it’s not moving. Sit in the backseat with it play with it make it a kind of a game type deal.
This will work well if your dog is scared of the car.
If your dog has any kind of separation anxiety you may want to have somebody sit in the backseat with her while you drive around.
The last would be if she does have motion sickness and I would recommend using some Dramamine or some type of motion sickness medicine at safe for dogs.
Please let me know how it goes or if you have any other questions
Thank you very much
Thank you sharing for this great post!
i agree. the puppies will have sooo many issues
Love these remedies, I’m going to give some a go. Thank you.
I have 5 AKC German Shepherd’s, 3 are 6 month old pups from the older 2! all 5 have separation anxiety!
even in the mornings when I get up, the barking is so bad it sounds like the dog pound! the 3 pups,and mom,all have their own crate! (pups were born here and only left for vet check) their the barkers when ever their crates, night time or we leave, we go cut grass, barking at the fence!