Pet anxiety is prevalent among many animals, especially dogs. Here, we shall discuss a few important aspects relating to such issues and the appropriate solution to deal with them.
Why do dogs become anxious?
A wide variety of causes can be the reason behind your dog being anxious. As per the leading veterinary experts, the most common causes are:
• Separation Anxiety: Seen in dogs that are away from their owners. They get restless upon separation from their human handlers.
• Lack of formative growth: Dogs that were in isolation up until 14 weeks of age may be prone to anxiety issues throughout their life.
• Painful Illness or Physical Condition: A dog suffering from crippling pain or medical conditions may display anxiety symptoms.
• Unfamiliar Environment: Displaced dogs that are yet to acclimatize to their new environments can be highly distressed and anxious.
• Poisoning: Ingestion of toxic elements may lead to physical ailments, manifesting as anxiety troubles.
• Aging: As dogs get older, they become susceptible to age-related issues which may cause nervous or physical breakdowns in them.
What are the signs and symptoms of dogs suffering from anxiety?
Anxious dogs often display certain behavioral symptoms like:
• Unwarranted aggressive behavior.
• Excessive chewing/destruction of household items.
• Loss of appetite.
• Excessive panting and breathlessness throughout the day.
• Loud barking or crying sessions without an apparent cause.
• Excessive display of activeness.
• Excessive licking and biting at itself.
How to diagnose your dog’s anxiety?
An identification of anxiety traits can be conducted at home, based on the symptoms commonly identified as occurring among anxious dogs. If the dog displays an alarming number of symptoms, it is advisable to get the dog to a pet clinic.
Professional diagnosis of a dog’s anxiety issues is generally to be done by a qualified veterinarian. It is done by careful observation of the dog’s behavior.
Initial priority will be given to rule out physical causes like the brain or nervous system damage to the dog’s body. Tests are also conducted to ensure that the current behavior is not the result of poisoning. A blood test is usually resorted to in such cases, to diagnose the issue.
The veterinarian may, on the basis of these tests, prescribe medicine in appropriate dosages, to treat anxiety issues. It may be prescribed for periods ranging from a few days to months or even years in extreme cases. There are a wide variety of causes that may lead to anxiety disorders among dogs, and each of these causes must be systematically eliminated to zero in on the cause.
However, if the vet is of the opinion that the issue is merely psychological due to a phobia or fear, he may prescribe requisite medications to alleviate the dog’s issues. There are also a variety of other treatment methods, which may be used that are tailored to meet a specific dog’s requirements. However, it must be ensured that the dog’s medications do more good than harm as several medicines often tend to wind up causing unnecessary trouble.
Natural ways to calm down the dog
• Exercise: This is the most effective method to comfort a dog. Exercise can provide a much-needed outlet for the dog’s physical needs. It is recommended that owners take their dogs out for a daily walk and leave them unrestrained as much as possible at home. That would help the dog release pent up energy and stay physically fit.
• Massage: Massage sessions for anxious dogs have been known to calm them down instantly. While it requires some amount of effort, dog massages are consistently effective due to the production of pleasing neurotransmitters that also prove to be a bonding agent between owners and dogs.
• Homeopathic Remedies: Ingredients such as Aconite 30C, Phosphorous 30C, Borax 6C, and Gelsemium 6C have all been known to be effective homeopathic remedies that are also natural, with no major side effects to dogs.
• Thundershirt: A popular dog anxiety solution in recent years is the Thunder shirt, which is a tightly fitting garment that is worn by dogs. It is claimed to provide a soothing effect to dogs due to their continuous pressure on various nerves. However, its effects are highly variable, with some claiming to live by it, while others claim it to be of no use.
• Essential Oils: Oils like frankincense, linden blossoms, violet leaf, and lavender are highly effective in treating noise aversion, separation, and general anxiety conditions.
• Bach Flower Essences: Discovered by English physician Edward Bach, these flower essences are extremely helpful in treating stress and anxiety issues, both in humans and dogs. They have no side effects and cannot be overdosed upon, thus being thought of as extremely safe.
• Vitamins: Vitamins supplements like Virbac NUTRICH and Vetoquinol Nutrisam 365 supplements of vitamins and minerals for pets, if orally taken regularly can regulate the hormonal effects thus, calming your dog to a great extent.
If the dog’s anxiety issues are diagnosed to be psychological, there are a plethora of natural or artificial medications that can be used:
• CBD oil: Cannabinoid Oil has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety issues among dogs due to their ability to stimulate the production of serotonin, a soothing stabilizer, produced by the brain in the dog’s body.
• Herbs: Chamomile, valerian, and St John’s Wort are all known herbs that can be used to relax a dog. They are most commonly administered in liquid form as per their prescribed dosages. Since they are freely available in nature, they have no side effects and are safe to use.
• Alprazolam: Used to treat dogs with moderate to high levels of anxiety, this medication is to be administered for a minimum of 4 weeks before results are to be seen and for two months for an adequate and steady response.
• Amitriptyline: This medication is useful in curing situational anxiety issues in dogs. It works by increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and is administered orally.
• Dexmedetomidine (Sileo): This medication is used to resolve noise-aversion issues in dogs. It works by depressing sections of the brain that result in reduced anxiety disorders and is dispensed as a trans-mucosal gel, which is administered via mucous membranes between cheek and gum.
• Diazepam: A well-known social anxiety medication; this is used to treat dogs before introducing them to know, anxiety-inducing events. This medicine may be injected orally or even in the form of liquids to treat dogs effectively.
While anxiety issues have skyrocketed among dogs due to rising environmental changes, they can also be diagnosed and treated in a jiffy through these methods. Dog owners must be receptive to the needs of their pets. A dedicated pet owner must make it a priority to be able to identify these symptoms and take action as necessary.
Dogs undergo suffering just as humans do. As truly caring individuals, dog owners must take all measures to alleviate their dogs’ suffering. An important point to be kept in mind is to resort to natural medications as far as possible. Manufactured medicines should only be used when all else fails. Owners ought to educate themselves and consistently be on the lookout for these symptoms as they can prove to be handy one day.
By employing natural ways of easing dog distress and anxiety disorders, we would then be able to provide dogs with a better quality of life. A mixture of these measures would go a long way in solving anxiety-related disorders in dogs.