Many pets experience anxiety and this can be a debilitating and overwhelming experience for your animal. Anxiety can be caused by both external and internal factors, and calming an anxious animal is no easy task. Here are some useful ways in which you can assist in managing your dog’s stress:
- Look out for sudden changes in your pet’s behaviour. Dogs use body language to communicate and they can show stress in different ways. Signs such as trembling, excessive pacing or panting as well as excessive licking can all be signs of stress. The earlier you pick up these signs the quicker you can help your pet to feel calmer.
- There are a variety of things that can cause your pet to feel anxious such as unfamiliar surrounds including a visit to the vet, grooming parlour or kennels. Loud noises can also be stressful as a dog’s hearing is a lot more sensitive than ours, so thunderstorms and fireworks can be particularly stressful experiences. Try closing the curtains and play the TV or radio aloud so that it drowns out the noise.
- Some dogs also suffer from separation anxiety while you’re away during the day (often expressed through barking, digging or chewing). Try giving your dog a toy to play with that will take his or her mind off your absence. Toys that stimulate lengthy play such as treat filled items will stimulate your dog for longer.
- If your dog experiences anxiety while you are around, give it affection and physical contact. This will help to calm and reassure your pet.
- Exercise your dog regularly to avoid pent up energy which can also develop into anxious behaviour.
- If your dog has heightened levels of anxiety and stress, try to give it a ‘time out’ – take your dog into a quiet, calm space where it can calm down without the added stimuli of people, noises and action.
- Check your own stress levels and behaviour – your energy can influence your dog’s energy. Try to remember that your pet can share your stress so try to relieve your own tensions when spending quality time with your pet.
- If you cannot control your dog’s environment, or are aware that big changes or events will be occurring, try anti-anxiety medication, such as CalmEze. CalmEze is an all-natural product for stress and anxiety in dogs and cats. It stimulates feelings of confidence and provides a sense of wellbeing to help pets cope during bouts of stress. Over the long term CalmEze can also be used to assist with behavioral problems.