Dogs suffer from anxiety which leafs to several behavioral issues. Your dog can suddenly become aggressive, destructive. There are steps you can take to help your dog live without been anxious.
What Causes Dog Anxiety?
Fear anxiety can be caused by loud noises, strange people or animals, new or strange environments, specific situations like the vet’s office becouse the dog knows he would be injected. Car rides can also cause anxiety in dogs.
Dogs with separation anxiety are unable to find comfort when they are left alone or separated from their family members. This anxiety often manifests itself in undesirable behaviors, such as urinating and defecating in the house, destroying furniture and furnishings, and barking. When you lock or chain up a dog it can also cause anxiety.
Age-related anxiety affects older dogs and can be associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). In dogs with CDS, memory, learning, perception, and awareness start to decline, similar to the early stages of Alzheimer's disease in humans. This understandably leads to anxiety in senior dogs.
Symptoms of Anxiety
So how can you tell if your dog has anxiety? Look out for sudden
Urinating or defecating in the house,
Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
By far the most dangerous symptom of dog anxiety is aggression. This aggression can be targeted directly or indirectly, depending on the situation. Direct aggression occurs when a dog acts aggressively toward people or other animals.
Indirect aggression can be equally dangerous, and often happens when a person comes between the dog and the source of the dog’s aggression, such as another dog. Even if a dog is prevented from harming others, aggressive behaviors such as growling or barking can lead to dangerous situations for humans and dogs.
Urinating and defecating in the house is a common symptom of separation anxiety. Anxious dogs often work themselves up to the point that they pee or poop in the house, even if they are housebroken. This is frustrating for owners and can cause damage to property, not to mention the unpleasantness of the cleanup.
Destructive behavior is also common with separation anxiety. The damage is usually located around entry and exit points, like doorways and windows, but dogs in a state of heightened anxiety are also at risk of harming themselves.
Attempts to break out of dog crates or cage, windows, and even doors can result in painful injuries and expensive vet treatments.
Treating Dog Anxiety
The best way to treat anxiety is to know the cause and talk with a vet. They can help you identify the type of anxiety your dog suffers from and the possible causes and triggers hats if you cant tell.
Vets can also rule out any other medical conditions that could be causing ur dog’s symptoms of anxiety.
Since anxiety is often caused by a variety of factors, the best way to treat it is usually through a combination of training, preventative strategies, and in some cases, medications.
You can train your dog to get used to the things that makes him anxious and also desensitize him. You should slowly introduce the dog to the source of anxiety, preferably in small doses and at a decreased intensity. Repeated exposure and rewarding positive behavior can go a long way toward managing anxiety.
Anxiety Medications for Dogs:
Some cases of anxiety are so severe that ur vet may recommend medications or natural therapies. antidepressants are occasionally prescribed for dogs with anxiety. anxiety-producing events like thunderstorms, fireworks, or car rides, your vet might can also provide some medication like an antidepressant to help your dog cope with the stress.
Preventing Dog Anxiety
It is hard to predict if a dog will develop anxiety, but there are ways to help a new dog or puppy avoid anxiety-related problems.
One of the best things you can do is learn to read dog body language. Knowing when your dog is uncomfortable or scared can help you avoid negative experiences or use them as a positive training moment.
Body language can also tell you when a dog is getting anxious, which is useful if your dog has a history of aggression-related anxiety.
Proper socialization can prevent the development of anxiety. Introducing your dog to new people, dogs, animals, places, sounds and experiences can help them avoid an exaggerated response down the road.
Obedience training is an essential tool for preventing and managing anxiety. It lays the foundation of a healthy relationship and establishes trust. A well-trained dog is easier to socialize than a dog without training.
Exercise and Nutrition
Regular exercise and stimulation are crucial for a dog’s development, physical, and mental well-being. A stimulated dog is less likely to pick up destructive behaviors, and good nutrition is equally important for your dog's health. Make sure u allow your dog play everyday.
If your dog has been diagnosed with anxiety, you can also try to avoid or prevent situations that trigger your dog’s anxiety.
If the source of the anxiety cannot be avoided, preventative measures like leashes, body harnesses, and, in some cases, basket muzzles can prevent dangerous situations. Once you know your dog's triggers, you can prepare for these situations ahead of time.
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