One of the challenges a dog owner faces is their inability to communicate effectively with us when something is wrong. That is why we have to pay attention to the alarm bells when worries such as fear arise so that we can support our paw friends. Dogs, like us, struggle with fear. Dog anxiety affects all breeds, but it differs from dog to dog, and if excessive worries are left untreated, they can develop an anxiety disorder. Dog anxiety, if left untreated, can develop into behavioral and other problems.
How can you tell if your dog is suffering from anxiety? What Can You Do To Help A Frightened Dog? We’re here to walk you through everything you need to know about dog anxiety, including the most common causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention.
Causes of Canine Anxiety
Anxiety-related anxiety: Loud noises, unknown people or animals, visual stimuli such as hats or umbrellas, new or unfamiliar places, special scenarios – such as the veterinarian’s practice or car trips – or surfaces such as grass or wooden floors can trigger fear-related fears. Although some dogs respond only fleetingly to these stimuli, they can have more of an impact in frightened dogs.
Separation anxiety: About 14 percent of dogs are believed to have separation anxiety. If dogs with separation anxiety are left alone or separated from their families, they cannot find comfort. Adverse acts such as urinating and defecating around the house, destroying furniture and furnishings, and barking are common manifestations of anxiety.
Age-related anxiety: Older dogs suffer from age-related anxiety, which has been linked to cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Memory, learning, cognition, and awareness begin to deteriorate in CDS dogs, similar to the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Older dogs are understandably confused and anxious as a result.
Symptoms of dog anxiety
The most obvious symptoms of dog anxiety are:
- Urinating or having a bowel movement in the house
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
Some of these symptoms can be the result of one-time anxiety-inducing situations, but any of them can become persistent and lead to more critical challenges. Aggression is without a doubt the most serious sign of anxiety in dogs. Depending on the situation, this aggressiveness can be countered directly or indirectly. When a dog acts violently against people or other animals, this is known as direct aggression. Indirect aggression, which occurs when a person stands between the dog and the cause of the dog’s aggression, such as another dog, can be just as dangerous.
Treatment of dog anxiety
Medical treatment: Your veterinarian can prescribe medication or alternative treatments if your dog develops a major anxiety problem. SSRIs and antidepressants such as fluoxetine and clomipramine are sometimes used in dogs with anxiety. To help your dog cope with predicted anxiety-inducing situations such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or driving, your veterinarian may recommend a benzodiazepine combined with an antidepressant.
Behavioral training: Doctors urge you to make an effort to turn your dog’s negative association with being alone into a good one by offering him something he enjoys, such as a doggie treat. And if the animal copes at the previous level, then you can gradually increase the amount of time you leave it alone. It is the same premise of turning a negative association into a positive one when it comes to noise – combining the frightening event with something the animal prefers.
A furry friend: Getting another dog can help if your dog’s separation anxiety is triggered by the loss of a canine mate. If the dog’s separation anxiety is triggered by the loss of a buddy, and the dog is used to having another dog with him all the time, adopting another dog may be the solution. However, if the fear is simply being caused by being separated from the human, adding another dog is unlikely to help.
Dog Anxiety Prevention
Socialization: Anxiety can be avoided through proper socialization. Introducing your dog to new people, dogs, pets, places, and experiences can help your dog become a well-adjusted canine citizen and avoid an exaggerated reaction across the board.
Obedience: Training dog obedience is an important strategy for preventing and managing anxiety in dogs. It creates trust and lays the foundation for a strong connection. Obedience classes are an ideal place for dogs to meet other dogs in a controlled atmosphere, and well-trained dogs are easier to socialize than dogs that have not been trained.
Exercise and Diet: Regular exercise and stimulation are essential for a dog’s physical and mental development. A dedicated dog who receives proper nutrition will develop less destructive tendencies. Taking care of your dog’s physical and mental demands can help you avoid behavior problems that aren’t caused by anxiety and identify the areas where your dog needs the most support.
Also Read: Don’t Miss Out On Your Pet’s Regular Examination. Here’s why
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