Like humans, dogs experience anxiety too, but it can be difficult to understand their symptoms. You may have noticed your dog shivering, pacing continuously, cowering or panting, which are some of the obvious symptoms of stress. Some subtle indicators of dog anxiety include excessive salivation, lip licking, lifting paw or curling up tail.
Sometimes dogs may also display anxiety when left alone, by barking, destroying furniture, digging or escaping, which is often mistaken for bad behavior. Anxiety in dogs can stem due to numerous reasons, but there are also ways to help your pet cope with it and get better.
Ways of treating dog anxiety
Set a routine
If you notice behaviour changes in your pet, you should take a look at your everyday routine. Try and follow a fixed routine, so that your dog knows when to expect meals, playtime and outside time. This helps in making your dog less nervous.
These wraps are helpful in calming a dog who is scared of loud noises from firecrackers or thunderstorms. You may also use these when you are traveling and your dog gets all anxious about it. Most dog owners rely on these to comfort their pets.
You may find that your dog feels relaxed when you play music, just like people do! Studies show that music helps dogs to overcome anxiety. Classic music is known to be most helpful for pets. There are also special compositions available for calming them or you may experiment and see what your dog likes better.
Keep them engaged
Play games with your dog, to keep him engaged, if he is scared of noises or feeling stressed. Engaging them in activities helps in associating fear with playtime and helps them get better. Also, your dog looks forward to spending time with you.
Give your pet a hug or cuddle him gently, if you find him in a lot of stress. Just like humans, dogs find comfort too, when they are held close, by their favourite person.
In case your dog suffers from separation anxiety, when you leave for work or travel, you may try giving him his favorite treats, so that he doesn’t get stressed for being away from you and slowly find that, it is time for treats.
Take one step at a time
If your dog gets anxious about something such as sitting in a car or visitors, try a slow stepwise process to make him less nervous. Take him to your vehicle first and give him treats for a few times, till he learns to approach the car without fear. Then make him sit and offer treats for good behaviour and repeat the first two steps till he learns to shed his nervousness about traveling. Every time you have friends over, give your pet treats or get a caretaker to soothe him. This way he learns to get habituated to their presence.