Anxiety takes a big toll on dogs, both mentally and physically. To ensure you dog stays healthy, it is important to recognize the symptoms of canine anxiety when they occur and find a proper course of treatment.
If a pet parent notices the signs of anxiety, it is advised that they visit their veterinarian to rule out medical causes. Veterinarians will perform a physical, and may do blood work to check for ailments like thyroid issues or a response to toxic substances like lead. If the cause of the anxiety is not illness-related, veterinarians can also determine if anti-anxiety medicine is needed to reduce severe stress.
After a diagnosis has been confirmed, here are the ways pet parents can go about treating dog anxiety:
Though pet parents cannot control everything their dogs will encounter, there are a number of ways to reduce anxiety in the home. More exercise can help anxious dogs a great deal, so a daily vigorous fitness routine is recommended. Comfort clothing such as pressure wrap shirts or face binder caps may provide comfort in certain situations. Veterinarians and trainers can also recommend ways to create safe routines and spaces for pets.
Dogs can unlearn or reduce their reaction to triggers through behavior modification. Pet parents can train their pets at home, or work with a dog trainer to decondition their dogs. Desensitizing dogs to anxiety triggers takes time, but will help them most in the long run.
For some dogs, medication to reduce anxiety may be recommended. Dogs can be given anxiety medicine like tranquilizers to help reduce short term stress, such as an airplane flight or noisy construction project near the home that will only last for a certain time. Other pets may need long term medication. Anti-anxiety drugs must be prescribed by a veterinarian, and if you choose a homeopathic medicine, be sure to consult your vet beforehand.
Though seeing your pet anxious can be stressful, it is important for pet owners to remain calm during a bout of anxiety. With the right care and treatment, anxiety can be reduced and sometimes treated completely.
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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.