Similar to us humans, other animals can also experience stress and anxiety. Our pets, for example, can suffer from several health problems due to stress. Stress and anxiety can be quite debilitating for us humans, imagine how our dog would feel under this level of adverse emotional state.
As a pet owner, it is our responsibility to ensure that our dog will remain calm and relaxed at all times. There are several remedies to help solve stress and anxiety in dogs; a good example is the dog anxiety vest. But before we head on to viable treatments, let us first discuss the causes of stress in dogs. The best way to completely treat problems is first to know the root cause.
What are the Causes of Stress in Dogs?
Dogs are quite susceptible to stress. There are a handful of reasons that can cause your dog to become anxious and restless; one of the most common reasons is when they are left alone for a prolonged period.
Dogs are similar to humans in that they are social creatures. Dogs need company most of the time. If you compare how a dog with constant companion acts to a dog who is often solitary, you will quickly see a vast difference. Dogs who are mostly on their own act lethargic while dogs who are used to having company are usually highly energetic.
A sudden change in the environment can also cause undue stress to your dog. If you are moving to a new residence, make sure to accompany your dog often during the first couple of days for them to familiarize better and allow for a smoother transition.
Another huge factor that can affect the dog’s mood is when a member of their “pack” disappears or leaves. As noted earlier, dogs are social creatures that strive in a pack. Whenever a member of their family goes, it can lead to them becoming anxious.
Other triggers that you should be aware of include loud noises and travelling inside a vehicle.
What are the Symptoms of a Stressed Dog?
While being under certain situations that are considered stressful can have benefits in the long run, as it can help the dog adapt on the fly. It is better for pet owners to keep their dogs from experiencing stress as much as possible.
Determining if the dog is stressed can be simple. Below are signs that you should look out for that indicate whether your dog is stressed:
- Excessive panting
- Excessive shedding
- Pinned or drooped ears
- Decline of appetite
- Lethargy and constant sleeping
- Sweaty paws
If you suddenly feel a shift in your dog’s behavior, don’t just ignore it. Look for symptoms of stress and try to determine what triggers this reaction from your canine friend.
How to Alleviate Stress and Anxiety in Dogs?
There are several techniques you can perform to help lessen the stress that your dog is currently experiencing. One of the most effective methods is proper training and counterconditioning. Counterconditioning is the process of replacing the reaction your dog has to their triggers into something more manageable – for example: shifting all their attention to you.
Desensitization is also another technique that you can apply to this situation. Gradually exposing your dog to the cause of their stress can eventually negate the adverse reaction they have to this source over time. Try and reward them after every short duration exposure in order to reinforce a positive response.
Playing Calming Music
There are also other calming techniques designed for humans that can yield positive effects with your pet dog as well. For example, playing the music that is designed for calming pets can assist in alleviating stress in dogs. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you can play this type of music when leaving to help prevent your dog from becoming anxious.
Using Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
There are also essential oils for pets that you can use to help calm their nerves when under duress. Just make sure to follow the instructions on how to apply these oils and make sure that it does not contain any harmful ingredients that can cause health problems when ingested by your dog.
The physical presence of the owner can also naturally calm the dog at a much faster rate. Petting and letting the dog know that they are safe will quickly eliminate symptoms of stress in most cases. However, there are instances wherein you can’t seem to calm your dog down. In these cases, try to lead them into an area with little to no stimulation. Somewhere quiet will do. Sometimes a dog needs a bit of time out.
Another effective method that can help lower the risk of stress is by conducting regular daily exercise. As with humans, exercise can leave our mind at a healthier mental state. Bring your dog during your daily walks around the park. Keeping the dog physically fit will help improve their overall mood.
Accessories – Blankets, Dog Anxiety Vest, and Toys
You can also use security blankets and dog anxiety vest to help keep their stress in check. Sheets that have the owner’s scent can help calm your dog during stressful situations. Dog anxiety vest utilizes aptly applied pressure around the dog’s torso, which is believed to cause a calming effect.
Medication and Supplements
Finally, there are medications and supplements designed for dogs that can help in easing their mood. However, it is advisable to first consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any medication, even over the counter ones.
Stress can lead to more severe health concerns, which is why it is best to ensure our furry companion won’t need to go through such an emotional state. Hopefully, the tips above will give you an idea on how to approach your beloved pet dog whenever they are stressed. You should also take measures on how to avoid your dog’s triggers. A couple of changes here and there, both in your home and lifestyle, will be enough to safeguard your dog from stress.