guest blog by Lisa Smalls
Does your dog avoid eye contact or run to another room when new guests arrive? Do they have behavioral problems or never seem to be able to stay calm? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, then your pet could have anxiety. Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiousness but exhibit different symptoms for a variety of reasons. Before we dive into ways to help alleviate some of your dog’s anxious feelings, let’s talk about the root of the problem.
What is Causing My Pet’s Anxiety?
Even as the best and most loving pet owner, your dog could be experiencing anxiety for a long list of reasons. According to the American Kennel Club, separation and fear-related anxiety are two of the most common reasons for your dog to exhibit these symptoms. Fear-related anxiety comes from new stimuli such as loud noises, unfamiliar animals or people, new objects or places, and more. Separation anxiety is very common and is said to affect over twenty percent of dogs nation-wide. This type of anxiety is caused from dogs being unable to comfort themselves when their owner is away. Thankfully there are some helpful ways to help treat and combat these issues from becoming an even bigger problem. Here are three ways to help reduce your pet’s anxiety today!
Exercise and Play
Exercise can help dogs to alleviate their anxiety in the same way it can help humans! Not only does it help to get rid of some of the pent up energy that can be fueling the anxious energy, but it also helps to elevate serotonin levels, which is essentially our happy hormone. This is a great tactic when firework season arrives! Take your dog out for a long walk or other exercise prior to the stimulus or loud noise that you know will cause him stress to help keep him calm and less afraid of the unknown environment.
Sleep with Your Pet
A great tip to follow when your dog is suffering from anxiety is to sleep with your dog. This can help to address separation anxiety in particular because when your dog sleeps in your bed he is easily soothed of any anxiety he was feeling throughout the day when you were gone. If your pet is alone throughout the day, spending this extra time at night together can be a great bonding experience and will make them feel more supported during daylight. An added benefit is that it’s not just great for the canine, but the owner too! When we cuddle up with our furry friend, our bodies release serotonin and oxytocin making the process a natural sleep aid.This makes it the perfect way to relieve stress for yourself and your pup.
Distract with Toys and Music
Boredom can be a major cause for much of the anxiety your dog is feeling. There have been studies that have concluded that playing calming music for dogs can help alleviate stress hormones in canines. This is an easy way to help alleviate some of your pooches nerves while you are away. Another tip is to give your dog plenty of toys to play with. If you give dogs activities to do it can distract them and keep them entertained while no one is home. If you bring out there favorite things to play with or eat when you are not there, it can be seen as a reward whenever you leave the house.