Nobody wants to see their sweet dog upset, pacing back and forth, or destroying household items. We have many clients ask us for solutions to help their dogs with anxiety so we’ve compiled our best tips and practices for you. There are three causes of anxiety that dogs experience.
- Separation Anxiety
- Situational Anxiety
- General Anxiety
Most dog owners have some experience with separation anxiety. When you leave the house, you might hear your dog whining or barking inside for you to come back. They may jump on the door or run to the window. If it’s bad enough, the dog will then start looking for something to chew like a couch pillow, wood baseboards or even furniture. This chewing gives them comfort. Separation anxiety has even become more heightened during the pandemic because owners are home more often. Pets have become accustomed to never being left alone so that now when the owner leaves, it’s very upsetting and is now a trigger for anxiety. The following are some easy behavioral tips to alleviate separation anxiety.
- Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. Ignore your dog for the first few minutes after you return and then pet them calmly.
- Leave your dog with recently worn clothes that smell like you. This is especially helpful starting at the puppy stage. Tip: Don’t do this if your dog is a chewer or might ingest the clothing. A frozen stuffed Kong can also give your dog a pleasurable distraction.
- Establish a word, action or consistent routine you use every time you leave that allows your dog the comfort knowing you’ll be back.
- Consider crating your dog when you leave. Dog’s feel safe in a contained environment that feels like a den. This is great for chewers because you know they can’t chew up your house. Be sure to put toys and things they are allowed to have (the frozen Kong is perfect here) to chew in their crate to keep them occupied and calm. Playing soft, classical music engineered for them is so easy now with Alexa.
Situational Anxiety and General Anxiety
We are all aware that many dogs HATE fireworks. They are loud, unpredictable and they feel the vibration. Your dog doesn’t know they are celebratory. Examples of situational anxiety include fireworks, thunderstorms, strangers or traveling. The symptoms may include the following:
- Urinating or defecating on the floor despite being house trained
- Nervous licking of the lips or other body parts
- Nervous scratching
- Loss of appetite
Some dogs exhibit these behaviors without any type of known situational change. In this case, they may have general anxiety. With any type of canine anxiety, a CBD product for dogs can be highly effective. CBD increases levels of serotonin in the brain and creates a calming effect on your pup so they are better able to cope.Robin’s own rescue Weimaraner, Saddie May (pictured in front above) always had a mild case of general anxiety but in the last six months, it’s increased significantly. There are many canine CBD products on the market but we recommend Moe’s Healthy Hemp Calming Bites. Robin tried them on Saddie May after a client requested we give them to her dog and she saw the immediate effect. During a thunderstorm, Robin gave Saddie May one calming chew and within 10 minutes she was next to her breathing normally. By 20 minutes, she was calm and resting. Robin was both surprised at the immediate, yet gentle effect and relieved. Numerous OGPS clients have asked for these to try and have had glowing success. If you are interested in purchasing them to try with your anxious pup, we have provided our link.
With small behavioral changes, interacting with your pet and the use of CBD products when warranted, you can reduce your dog’s anxiety giving him or her relief and you peace of mind.
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