- Less Common Anxiety-Based Dog Problems
- Dog Over the Counter Anti Anxiety Medication
- Causes of Anxiety In Dogs?
- Symptoms Of Dog Separation Anxiety
- Dog Anxiety Treatments
Before we cover what the main causes of dog anxiety and what to give dogs for anxiety, let’s discuss anxiety in dogs in general. All too often, an adult dog is going to display signs of anxiety because of diminished attention from its pet parents.
Usually, puppies are showered with additional care and attention, yet as your pet hits the full-grown phase, the attention they’re so accustomed to receiving occasionally wanes. Dogs naturally are companionship-centered and trusting pets; the 24/7, emotional roller coaster attention followed up by neglect oftentimes is a main cause of dog anxiety. Even cats, that aren’t known for their connection to human beings, may suffer anxiety when placed in likewise situations.
Fear Can Be One of Your Dog's Triggers and May Signal Anxiety Issues
Fear is something that’s inherently present within all animals, which includes dogs, human beings, and the remainder of the animal kingdom. The primal instinct may flare up in response to perceived threats or real ones. Whatever an animal in fear perceives—a situation, a thing, or a person—fear is what signals their brain to prepare for trouble. In turn, this prompts the freeze, flight, or fight response.
The response, as well as its related behaviors are how people and animals survive and are normal. But whether those responses are suitable depends entirely on context. For instance, a fear response in the existence of a violent human or aggressive dog is a sensible reaction for any canine to have. On the flip side, a fear response within the existence of all canines or all new humans is likely a learned response to dangerous situations and stress, which may affect a canine’s behavior in commonplace circumstances.
Less Common Anxiety-Based Dog Problems
A phobia is a lasting, extreme fear of something extremely specific. As you consider phobias you may imagine humans who are frightened of heights or spiders, and while it’s an accurate perception, keep in mind that dogs also can have phobias that feel just as real. For instance, some canines are terrified during storms or during the 4th of July fireworks. Both of those are excellent examples of dogs suffering from phobias.
Something referred to as idiopathic fear also can be found in some canines. It’s an extreme fear which occasionally causes them to withdraw from places, people, and activities they once love. Just like with humans, this phobia is often brought on by a traumatic experience, or it could be innate.
However, loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, are the most common triggers. Some dogs will become so wrapped up in their fear that they’ll begin to exhibit repetitive or compulsive behaviors, such as excessive panting or pacing. Others may become destructive, chewing on furniture or urinating inside the house.
If your dog is showing signs of idiopathic fear, it’s important to seek professional help. A qualified veterinary behaviorist can develop a treatment plan that will help your dog learn to cope with his fear.
Some dog breeds more than likely to have this issue include: Standard Poodle, Border Collie, Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Siberian Husky, among others. There seems to be a solid familial element, with the likelihood of genetic influences.
Does your pet have anxiety? What can I give my dog for anxiety? These might be some questions that are concerning you. As any dog owner knows, canines have behaviors and personalities for various circumstances. When they are in their comfort zone, they might be mild-mannered and relaxed, yet while agitated, they might become anxious, rowdy, or defensive If you know the kinds of scenarios which cause anxiety to your dog, there are some solutions it’s possible to turn to in order ease his suffering.
Situational anxiety refers to anxious behaviors your dog demonstrates in specific scenarios such as during a thunderstorm, when left alone, or during a car ride. If the anxious behavior is tied to a particular trigger, then avoiding that trigger is the best way to reduce your dog's anxiety.
However, if your dog experiences generalized anxiety, which is more common, anxious behaviors will be present even when there is no obvious trigger. In this case, behavioral modification training and/or medication may be necessary to help your dog feel more relaxed and comfortable.
Not every dog is going to respond in the exact same way to these anxiety disorder options; therefore, do what is best for your dog. It might require some trial and error and it always should include a visit to your vet first. Let us look into some of the anti-anxiety for dog solutions there are to help relieve your pet’s anxiety disorder.
Should I Give My Dog Anxiety Meds?
As pet parents, we want to do everything we can to help our furry friends when they're anxious or stressed. But with all the prescription medication options out there, it can be tough to know what to choose. The most commonly prescribed medication to treat dog anxiety is SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These are newer antidepressants that are considered a more mild anti-anxiety medication that can be effective in mild cases of anxiety.
If your dog is experiencing more severe anxiety, your veterinarian may prescribe a higher dose of an SSRI or another anti-stress medication. It's important to work with your vet to find the right treatment plan for your dog, as some medications can have side effects. With the right care, you can help your four-legged friend feel calm and relaxed.
Treating Anxious Dogs with Anxiety Disorders
Dogs can become anxious for a variety of reasons, and when they do, it can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing, barking, and pacing. If your dog is anxious, Sedatives are medications that can help to calm them by enhancing the level of GABA in the central nervous system. A professional can help you effectively treat and manage your dog's symptoms with behavior modification training and prescription medication.
Aging-related anxiety is another common cause of anxiety in dogs. Older dogs may experience Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), leading to them experiencing confusion and fear. As a result, they may exhibit anxious behaviors like shaking, panting, and pacing. Again, sedatives and behavior modification training can be effective in managing these symptoms. If your dog is exhibiting signs of anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of treatment
Dog Over the Counter Anti Anxiety Medication
What can I give my dog to calm him down? With approval from your vet, it’s possible to give your anxiety meds that assist in easing his separation anxiety. Benadryl for dog’s anxiety is usually prescribed to aid in alleviating symptoms of anxiety in canines. Benadryl for dog anxiety, as an antihistamine, is well-known to serve as a sedative. When correctly administered before the environment or activity which might trigger heightened anxiety in your dog, it mat help him stay relaxed and calm.
But, before you figure out what can you give a dog for anxiety, be certain to know the side effects to search for. In addition, only administer your dog the suggested anti-anxiety medication dosage from the vet. Extra dog anxiety medications dosage may cause harm to your dog. Every dog reacts differently to an anti-anxiety drug because of the rate of absorption and additional possible health conditions which might impact how well it works.
Despite having the ability to buy Benadryl without a prescription or using any dog anxiety medication over the counter, it isn’t recommended to give any type of anxiety medications to your dog without a vet’s go ahead. A pet’s anxiety is a sensitive condition and has to be properly treated to have it under control.
If your pet experiences mild anxiety or you wish to utilize more natural treatments to relieve his behavior problems and symptoms, homeopathic methods also might be a suggested option. A combination of various flower essences, which includes Cherry Plum and Star of Bethlehem might work for calming an anxious pet.
Since canines may have allergies to specific foods, plants, medications, etc., it’s again recommended to work with your homeopathic specialist for pets or vet to discover a healthy option for your anxious pup. Just allow your vet to know you would rather avoid prescription anti-anxiety medication or drugs or attempt all organic options first and she or he will guide you to solutions for your dog. With dogs, what works for one pup’s behavior modification might not work for another. Even if you have received suggestions from discussion forums or other dog owners, confirm with your vet before attempting anything new.
Prescription Anti Anxiety Medications
Besides homeopathic treatments and Benadryl, your vet might suggest a prescription drug for your pet’s anxiety. The majority of those anti-anxiety drugs may be given orally and are more appropriate for your dog before the anxiety-inducing scenario. Because anxiety meds usually take at least thirty minutes before they begin to work, it is better to give it to your pup ahead of time instead of waiting until they present with symptoms.
For instance, if you know your pup becomes more anxious while traveling, do not wait until you are in the vehicle or on the airplane before you administer the drug. Plan beforehand so it already can be working before your trip even starts.
Prescription Medications for Treating Dog Anxiety
Buspirone, Clomicalm, Amitriptyline, and Alprazolam all are possible serotonin reuptake medications that might be prescribed for your dog. The choice is going to be made by your vet based on your pet’s present health, medical history, allergies, and several additional factors. Never utilize another dog’s medication for your dog even if they are in the same house. The way dogs digest medicine and their reaction to it is going to vary.
A consistent vitamin routine might assist in easing your pet’s anxiety symptoms. Herbal supplements like Valerian Root and Echinacea might be organic solutions your dog will react well to treat both excitability and anxiety.
These usually are administered orally through pills yet in some instances, herbal drops might be available. Even though it’s a more natural option, as you switch your pup’s day-to-day diet in any way, consult your vet and get the sign off before you administer to your dog.
Your vet may allow you to know what kind of side effects to search for while attempting something new. There is a chance your dog might be allergic to some of the herbal treatments used to calm anxiety, which you will want to keep a close eye out for beforehand.
Hemp CBD-Based Products
Hemp, by name, might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of treating your pet. However, pet-safe CBD oils or “treats” have been utilized to help manage canine anxiety. CBD or cannabis products for dogs use plant extracts and additional organic ingredients which don’t get your dog “high” as may be assumed.
Hemp CBD-based products aren’t given as a pharmaceutical yet instead a nutrition agent for your dog made to offer continuous benefits. While considering solutions for your pet, talk about this alternative treatment with your vet or other dog specialist to learn more on how it’ll help your dog be free of anxiety and stress.
Have you ever heard of using lavender in the evening to induce calm or help you rest? The same might hold true for your dog. Essential oils that are applied to your dog’s paws or sprayed inside his bedding, on his chew toys, or other spaces of relaxation may help calm your dog. It also can cause a familiarity in scent for your dog if he is being boarded or traveling.
Typically, lavender works as a sedative that helps your pup feel restful. Aromatherapy oils such as chamomile offer calming and in some instances pain alleviation. While sweet marjoram has been utilized to aid with stress relief in dogs. Be on the lookout for allergic reactions in dogs and discuss this type of treatment with your vet to get suggestions for the best type of products to use. Essential oils easily may be found and utilized for your dog. Even if they do not benefit as much from their use, it’s possible to still use them for your own.
Soothing your dog will tremendously assist in relieving anxiety. As you know you will be away for a couple of days or if you must take them in an automobile where they aren’t usually comfortable, giving additional attention to your dog might be all that’s needed to get in the proper mindset.
Dog anxiety often is caused by unexpected, sudden moments or activities. If you have a regimen for when it is time to go to your vet’s clinic, board an airplane, or anything else which might trigger anxiety, it’ll assist your dog in preparing for what is ahead and feel more secure. Extra playtime, hugs, and treats will assist in confirming that even if there’s a situation they don’t like, the time is just temporary.
Causes of Anxiety In Dogs?
Anxiety in dogs may derive from a variety of things. If you have adopted your dog from a shelter, prior situations or owners could’ve been traumatizing for him. Knowing your pup’s previous history will help when you invite him to your way of life and home. It might take some time before your dog becomes accommodated to a new environment with folks who are strangers to him.
Loud sounds such as car alarms, construction, and storms also are causes for dog anxiety. They might run underneath a table or in circles, whimper, howl, and exhibit indications of fear during the events and even for a couple of hours after. Even though some circumstances aren’t predictable, for the ones that are not, giving extra care and comfort for your pup ahead of time will help ease the anxiety.
Dogs that are anxious also may feel extra anxious while around other people or dogs. It’ll take time for your dog to become acclimated to all of the changes of being inside your home. It may be particularly true if you already have additional pets that live at home. Together they have to “figure each other out” and discover familiarity within their space. Until this happens, there may be additional moments of anxiety or stress for your dog.
In addition, depending on the age of your dog, he might not be as outgoing or active as other dogs. If that is the case, schedule calm walks, as well as time at the park when few other folks and their pets are around. These simplistic adjustments to his day will help decrease separation anxiety in his life.
As aforementioned, travel is a common anxiety source for dogs whether it is by car or plane. Flying with your dog may mean you’re separated from him for a specific time period, depending upon how large they are. It’s possible to prepare ahead for the flight by giving your pup one of the vet-approved treatments for anxiety.
In the automobile, these options also may aid with motion sickness your pet may suffer from. On a road trip, take plenty of breaks in order for your pet to have room to urinate and roam. This all should be factored into the travel time so there is an abundance of time for stopping along the way. Being all cooped up for an extended time is one method of surely making your pup feel anxious and restless.
Symptoms Of Dog Separation Anxiety
As your pet is feeling anxious, it will be noticeable. You will come to be familiar with his behavioral issues over time and recognize when to predict bigger times of anxiousness. And symptoms typically are obvious. Dogs suffering from anxiety appear to bark more aggressively for longer time periods. Your pet also may tear around your home, full of energy, and not have the ability to settle down.
Dog separation anxiety is pretty common and may trigger a number of behavior issues. If your pup is feeling separation anxiety when you are away from the house or at work, he might defecate or urinate on the floor and/or tear furniture or other items up. It’s a way for him to gain your attention yet also a way to handle the increased degree of anxiety. There are several ways to handle behavior issues t help the dog separation anxiety.
In some instances, dogs that experience anxiety might become more aggressive in general. If your dog does not commonly growl, he might growl and point at whatever is triggering him to be anxious. The longer that you have your dog, the more it will be obvious as to what causes distress. And with any luck, it’s possible to avoid those situations as much as you can. However, when you cannot, the great news is there are treatments available.
Dog Anxiety Treatments
When it comes to your dog’s behavior, you know best. You’ll know what they do and do not like and what they won’t or will respond to. But, once you start to introduce new methods of foods, care, or meds into their regimen, it is first better to assess your change of plans with his veterinarian. That way it’s possible to avoid any surprise reactions and make sure that you’re selecting the healthiest path for your dog's symptoms, the more you prepare for these major changes the easier it will be to avoid, treat and reduce anxiety.
One of the most important things you can do for your anxious dog is to bring all ideas to your pet's following checkup. This way, you and your vet can discuss what might be a potential solution if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. You might need to test out some various options to find precisely how to best treat anxiety that your pet is feeling, but once you find out how to offer him what's needed, it'll be smooth sailing for the future.
In the meantime, it's important to try and avoid any behavior that might trigger your dog's anxiety, such as leaving him alone for long periods of time or exposing him to loud noises. If you're not sure what's causing your dog's anxiety, destructive behavior is often a telltale sign that something isn't right. By working with your vet, you can help your anxious dog live a happier, healthier life.
Studies have shown that phytocannabinoids and CBD are effective in relaxation and bringing balance and calm to dogs who experience a variety of health conditions. In this anxious time for both you and your dog, it might be possible to help your dog through this process with the help of CBD Oil for Dogs. For more information about CBD oil for pets contact Innovet Pet Products today!
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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