Anxiety is something that is prevalent in both humans and pets alike and can be a lifetime struggle. Sometimes anxiety can be triggered as a response to an upsetting situation, and other times it can occur as an ongoing condition that brings a cloud over everyday activities.
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Signs of Anxiety in Dogs
Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways with varying levels of intensity. People and pets alike who are suffering from anxiety may lash out in aggression or destructive behavior, or they may exude deep depression. In dogs, it may occur in less obvious and often misunderstood behaviors including unusual accidents around the house, drooling, and excessive barking.
How to Treat a Dog with Anxiety
Determining the best course of action to provide your pup relief from anxiety can be a tricky endeavor full of trial and error. No matter what the cause of the anxiety or the manifestation of symptoms, you will want to do what you can to help your furry friend.
Some pet owners opt for the pharmaceutical route and this can be an effective treatment for some dogs, depending on the type of anxiety they have and their responsiveness to medication.
Many pet parents choose to forego the pharmaceuticals, and alternatively will try out several different approaches to discover the best solution for their dog’s specific anxieties.
Please speak with your dog’s veterinarian before implementing any treatment, whether is is pharmaceutical in nature or not. Every dog is different, and your vet will have good insights as to what the best course of action may be.
How to Calm your Dog’s Anxiety Naturally
If you choose to go the natural route, there are many remedies you can try that have proven to be effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety in dogs. You can try any one, or a combination of these remedies to figure out what works best for you and your furry friend.
Storm Anxiety Jackets
Thunderstorms and fireworks are a common cause of anxiety for many pets. Indicators that your dog is suffering from storm anxiety include pacing, lowered ears and tail, panting, drooling, trembling, whining, hiding, involuntary urination, and destructive behavior.
The anxiety jacket is designed to give your pup a sense of calm to the parasympathetic nervous system. The anxiety jacket swaddles the dog with something fitting tightly against the torso, giving your pup a sense of security.
You can purchase anxiety jackets at a variety of pet supply stores or online retailers. If you would rather DIY it, you can make your own, typically called a half wrap. You can use an ace bandage or a scarf to make your own half wrap. In either case, limit the use of the anxiety jacket or wrap to high anxiety times. If you use it too often, it will lessen its effectiveness.
Essential Oils for Anxiety Relief in Dogs
Essential Oil Diffusers
Direct application of many essential oils is NOT safe for your pup. However, through the use of an essential oil diffuser, you can much more safely expose you dog to these potent extracts and get much of the same benefits as direct application.
Top Essential Oils for Anxiety Relief
Top essential oils for anxiety relief include lavender and frankincense. You can also try any combination of these with blue tansy, orange, patchouli, and ylang ylang. Make sure to discuss the use of essential oils with your veterinarian. There are some oils that are safe to administer directly to the pads of your pup’s feet. Speak with your veterinarian before you try this to determine which oils are safe.
Essential Oil Collars
For dogs with situational anxiety, such as getting worked up during car rides, visits to the vet or the park, or when visitors come over, an essential oil collar does the trick. Try hanging an essential oil diffusing locket from your dog’s collar.
Solutions for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
For dog’s suffering from separation anxiety, being close to your scent can help calm them. There are separation anxiety relief dog beds and pillows designed especially for this purpose. To transfer your scent, simply stuff it with a pillow case, used shirt, or other soft item that has your scent on it and your dog can cuddle up to it when you are away.
Pheromone spray has calming benefits for dogs because it mimics the pheromones that are released from a mother dog when a puppy nurses. Pheromone spray creates an inviting environment for your anxious pup.
Use pheromone spray to spray down the bed, car, kennel, or room ahead of time and let your dog enjoy the tranquility. This can help with general anxiety, but is also beneficial to ease separation anxiety.
What Foods Calm Dogs Down?
When it comes to choosing treats for your anxious pup, look for ones that have melatonin for the best relaxation and calming effects. There are many options available when it comes to calming treats for your anxious companion. Speak with your veterinarian for recommendations.
Chamomile flowers are known to have calming effects on the body, mind, and even the digestive system. Chamomile tea can be administered simply by adding it straight to your pup’s water dish.
If your pup suffers from restlessness, try the Kava Kava herb. It safely relieves anxiety in general, but is particularly effective in dogs who are restless. It is safe for use in dogs to treat general anxiety but is especially effective for dogs that are restless. Try adding Kava Kava tincture or powder to food or water.
For pups suffering from separation anxiety, add drops of pasque flower tincture directly to your dog’s water bowl. Pasque flower tincture acts fast to calm the nervous system.
If used properly, hemp oil can be highly effective at relieving anxiety symptoms. Make sure to purchase a full spectrum oil to achieve the desired results. Full spectrum oils have ingredients from various parts of the hemp plant including the seeds, stems, and leaves. It is important to have all three in order to get all of the benefits.
There are herbal tinctures commercially available that are safe to try. However, getting a consultation with a Certified Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Practitioner is recommended to help you determine which combination of herbs will be best for your pet’s unique needs.
Finding Natural Anxiety Relief for your Dog
Anxiety is a common problem for dogs and can be detrimental if left untreated. Anxiety symptoms can lead to frustration, destructive behavior, and injuries. It will take motivation and some trial and error work to discover the solution or combination of solutions that will most benefit your dog, but with some perseverance you can find anxiety relief in natural sources.
Always consult your veterinarian before trying any new treatments for your pup, even for natural remedies as every dog is unique and will respond in different ways to treatment.