5 Steps To Treat Anxiety In Dogs

Watching your dog live through anxiety and distress can feel terrible.  When you become a dog parent, you plan for a lot of walks and cuddles and the worst things you plan for are excessive shedding or boredom. Planning for the potential issues that might arise from having a dog that struggles with anxiety seems a little bonkers.

The reality is, though, unless you found yourself a unicorn dog, at some point during your dog’s life, you are going to have to deal with behavioral or emotional issues. These might just be a mild case of anxiety when you first bring home your new family member. It might be reoccurring around specific times of the year or holidays when there are a lot of changes to environment, people, access. Our pets are creatures of habit and just like people, change can be hard for dogs. They deserve a supportive when we make changes in their lives.

Like raising kids, everyone has different styles of parenting when it comes to their pets’s behavior. Even though everyone has their own methods when it comes to treating anxiety, distress, destructive behavior, and other problems in dogs, they all have one thing in common: the desire to help your dog work past it.

Here are 5 effective steps to help your dog overcome anxiety, so you can feel confident when life goes off script.

Dog trying to escape

STEP 1: Make a Plan, Work the Plan

The very first thing you need to do is to determine whether or not the unusual behavior or distress is truly anxiety or if there is something else going on. If you are concerned, then you should contact your vet and schedule a check-up. Once you have been given the all clear, it’s time to create a strategy that you feel comfortable with. The most important thing to take into account when it comes to treating anxiety in dogs is that you have to be consistent and you need to have patience. You won’t see improvement overnight, but stick with it and before too long things will get better.

STEP 2: Create a Safe Place

As humans, when we feel anxious or panicked, we seek refuge in our safe place. Some of us retreat to our relaxing room, while others will seek comfort in our bed or favorite arm chair. If your dog doesn’t currently have its own bed, feeding area or toys, then understandably they could feel unsettled.

Many people are massive advocates of crate training, as it not only keeps your dogs out of trouble when unsupervised, it can actually be beneficial for their safety. If you do choose to look into crate training, please make sure that you seek professional guidance to ensure you do it right. You can find plenty of free information online, or by watching YouTube channels like Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution.  (crate training)

If you have made a decision not to crate your pup, you should create a safe space by finding a cozy corner where you can lay down a dog bed or even a few blankets that have your scent on them. This should start by being in a place where they commonly relax around the family. That way, when high anxiety situation arise, you can direct them to their bed to relax. Also, this bed could be moved into a private room if your pet ever needs to be away from the hustle and bustle around your home. You can also bring this bed with when traveling with your pet, as a place to relax when they are out in the world; at the park or at a strange house.

STEP 3: Essential Oils

First, we need to know; are essential oils safe for dogs? They’re derived from plants, so many people assume they are … but dogs are very sensitive and these highly concentrated oils can be overpowering or even harmful if used at full strength, or internally. Dogs are natural hunters and trackers and have a great sense of scent.

With all that said, properly used, essential oils can help calm and build confidence in your anxious dog. Always use the very best quality essential oils you can find. Superior Labb creates our own products and partners with Essence One because we believe that higher quality oils and products usually come from smaller companies who have great quality control through small batch production and who are knowledgeable and willing to answer your questions. If you have questions, contact us here!

STEP 4: Natural CBD Treats

The therapeutic capabilities for Cannabinoid-based products are huge in the pet wellness field. With  people starting to take CBD oil to alleviate a range of their own illnesses and issues like anxiety, CBD dog treats have also become extremely popular. CBD dog treats have been proven to significantly decrease the symptoms of anxiety in dogs, as well as having a range of wellness benefits such as:

  • Soothes and alleviates anxiety
  • Reduces nervous or hyperactive behavior
  • Treats epilepsy and seizures
  • Relieves pain
  • Supports immune system
  • Promotes organ health

Be proactive. If possible, you want to give your dog these treats BEFORE the anxiety trigger occurs. Don’t give your dog treats or respond with hugging or petting once your dog is anxious and displaying undesirable behavior. It’s hard to watch your dog struggle and it’s natural for you to want to soothe their anxiety, but you don’t want to reward your dog’s anxious behavior, they will just learn to repeat it.

Step 5: Turn On, Tune In, Zone Out

Many people report that their pets is less anxious and displays fewer problem behaviors if they have some background noise to keep them distracted. And while it might feel ridiculous, leaving the TV or radio on while your dog is alone can help them to feel less anxious. Many farmers do this in their chicken coops and milking barns to help animals relax. Background noise, like radio or TV, can filter out other sounds that might distract a dog and make them nervous. Some dogs prefer classical music, some like talk radio, some respond well to simple sound machine white noise. Figure out what your pet likes and try turning on something soothing and distracting when anxiety filled situations arise.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety in dogs will progressively get worse over time, which is why it is so important to take action as soon as you notice that something is wrong. And as responsible dog parents, we should always approach the methods we choose with patience and persistence, as change won’t happen overnight.

Helping your dog to overcome anxiety is going to allow your dog to live a full and well-balanced life. If you want to successfully treat dog anxiety for good, then it is important to create a routine and stick to it. We can’t guarantee the everyday will be the same for our pets, but we can guarantee that our response and support to their anxiety is. Ensure that you are reinforcing a bond with your dog that is based on discipline and trust.

 

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