Dog Anxiety Week starts May 7th. Anxiety is much more common among our canine pals than many people realize. Fido can suffer from things like fear, phobias, loneliness and depression, just as humans can. A Bucks County, PA vet discusses doggy anxiety below.
Signs Of Anxiety
Fido can’t really express himself or tell you what’s going on if he’s feeling anxious. However, there are behavioral clues to watch for. That list includes things like chewing, digging, soiling inappropriately, pacing, destructive behavior, and eating things that aren’t food. Your four-legged friend may also act nervous or reactive, and he may whine, pace, or howl. One thing that complicates this issue is that those warning signs are often mistaken for bad behavior. Don’t punish your canine buddy: instead, look for the root cause, and address that. It’s also best to focus on rewarding good behavior.
Types Of Anxiety
Pets can get anxious about many different things. Separation anxiety may be the most common form. As the name suggests, this is a type of anxiety that dogs exhibit when separated from their owners. Your four-legged friend may also be anxious about certain stimuli. These may include things like loud noises, such as thunderstorms; specific places; or anything that reminds him of a past trauma. Fido can also be uneasy after major changes, such as moving, changing owners, or the arrival or departure of another household pet. Pain, illness, and discomfort are also possibilities.
Helping Fido Cope
There are things you can do to help Fido cope with his anxiety better. First and foremost? Have your furry friend thoroughly examined, to rule out medical issues. Also, make sure that your pet is getting enough exercise and playtime. This may look different from one dog to another. For instance, one pup may love running and playing at the park with his four-legged buddies, while a shy, timid pooch may only become more nervous in that setting. Pay attention to behavioral clues. Consistency is also important. Keeping Fido on a steady schedule can go a long way towards making him feel loved and safe. You can also look into various calming products, such as stress-relief beds, calming shirts, and pheromone products. In extreme cases, behavioral training and/or medication may help. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Do you have questions about behavioral counseling? Contact us, your Bucks County, PA animal clinic, today!