Sometimes we can see our dog very nervous and restless , manifesting a picture compatible with anxiety. This behavior can be triggered by loud noises, but also when we leave our dog at home for a few hours.
In this article from Animal Expert we will explain what anxiety is in dogs and what solutions we can adopt to mitigate it. It is important to know that there are professionals who are experts in canine behavior and who we must turn to in these cases.
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- Anxiety considerations in dogs
- Anxiety in dogs due to noise
- Anxiety in dogs due to separation
- Anxiety in puppy dogs
- Anxiety in older dogs
Anxiety considerations in dogs
Anxiety is a behavior problem that manifests itself in dogs in different situations such as loud noises. Some dogs will also show it when they are left alone for a time that doesn’t even have to be too long.
Normally we will notice that the dog is very nervous, restless, crying , seeking to escape or take refuge, we are unable to calm him, etc. Some handlers seek to solve the problem by administering medication to the dog, but even if it is sedated, it does not resolve the situation. To treat anxiety we must study when it appears and try to anticipate it and, of course, contact a specialist in canine behavior, since anxiety is treated in this area.
In addition, in the market we will find products such as feed, prizes, diffusers, collars or sprays that contain active ingredients or pheromones for dogs with a calming effect. We will see below frequent cases in which anxiety can manifest.
Anxiety in dogs due to noise
Specifically, anxiety in dogs from rockets and fireworks is very common . These noises usually occur suddenly and continuously, causing the dog to panic. In these cases, if we are on the street, we must take special care because the dog, frightened, is likely to try to run away by pulling off the leash. We will observe that the dog seeks refuge, moans, hypersaliva and is very restless and nervous so that it is not even able to hear us.
In these moments it is easy for us to try to caress him in order to reassure him, but this action can be interpreted as a reinforcement of anxious behavior. So we must anticipate their reaction , which we can do if we know when fireworks are held.
It can help to close windows and roll down blinds to minimize outside noise. It is also convenient that we provide you with a place where you feel safe and that we accompany you, always keeping calm so as not to increase your insecurity. If we observe that our dog remains quite calm we can reward him. For this, we must give you an order that you know, such as “come” or “sit down” and, as soon as it is done, we will reward you with caresses or food so that you know why we reward you.
Anxiety in dogs due to separation
The disorders related to separation are increasingly known. They usually manifest when we leave the dog alone and the usual picture includes crying, howling, barking, damage or elimination inside the home, either through urine, feces or both.
We can try to improve this behavior by establishing a departure schedule that is gradually increasing, so that, little by little, we get the dog to get used to being alone . Maintaining an activity level appropriate to the dog’s needs so that it has enough time to exercise, play and burn energy are practices that will contribute to improving anxiety.
These cases usually require the intervention of a professional to provide specific guidelines depending on the case, which can be complemented by the use of stimulation toys, such as dog kong .
Anxiety in puppy dogs
Bringing a puppy to our home is a big change for him and sometimes during the first days, we can see that he has trouble staying alone, for example, if he does not sleep with us at night . In these cases it is normal for the little one, accustomed to his house and family, to moan, cry, scratch the doors or bark if, suddenly, he is alone. It is totally normal.
Years ago it was recommended to ignore his calls and only offer him a bed with some of our clothes so that he had our scent and a clock underneath to remind him of his heartbeat. Currently, experts already question these practices so we can comfort our puppy and reward him as we explained in the previous section. A good socialization of the puppy is very important to avoid anxiety.
Anxiety in older dogs
As our dogs get older, we may see changes in their behavior that are compatible with cognitive dysfunction syndrome or dementia states, which we could interpret as Alzheimer’s that affects humans. The dog will be restless, nervous, out of place , will cry or bark and may exhibit destructive behaviors, inappropriate elimination, etc. Separation anxiety may also appear.
These cases should always be evaluated by the veterinarian to rule out the existence of a physical cause that explains them. Drugs can be administered to try to keep the dog calm and thus improve its quality of life. The most important thing in advanced ages is to try to influence behavior and the environment in a positive way. Proper exercise, simple games, and mental stimulation exercises are highly recommended