How to Calm Down a Dog with Anxiety & What Triggers Them

on October 26, 2021

how to calm down a dog with anxiety

An anxious pet can mean an anxious pet parent. When a dog has anxiety it affects our behavior too. We cannot take them certain places. We worry about them. They may experience other health effects from their anxiety, such as a weakened immune system, increased infections or skin issues.

Dog anxiety is quite common, but also treatable. Here are some ideas about how to calm your dog with anxiety. 

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs?

Some signs and symptoms of dog anxiety look just like human anxiety. Dogs cower, hide, or even lash out at others when they are stressed, sorta like humans. But some other symptoms of anxiety in dogs may also include:

  • Growling
  • Biting
  • Whining or crying
  • Compulsions, such as licking one spot excessively
  • Submissive urination (peeing even though dog is housebroken)
  • Distress around certain people
  • Car sickness
  • Separation distress or anxiety
  • Chewing things which are not toys, like destroying furniture, plants or shoes.

If you see any of these symptoms, you may have a dog with a form of anxiety.

What Triggers My Dog’s Anxiety?

Some dogs seem anxious all the time! Others seem to respond only to specific stimuli. For example, your dog might not like loud noises. 

Common triggers include:

  • Loud noises like fireworks or shouting
  • Separation
  • Change, such as a move or when owners separate or when a new baby or pet enters a household
  • Excessive motion, car rides
  • Change in routine such as diet or schedule
  • Certain people, such as dogs who are scared of all children or all men or people dressed a certain way (such as mail carriers)

Dogs can also start acting anxious with certain health conditions. Food allergies or a urinary tract infection (UTI) are two common health triggers which may trigger anxiety.

So, if you have a dog with new anxiety or a change in behavior, it is a good idea to investigate. Consider seeing a veterinarian to rule out an infection.

How Do You Calm Down a Dog with Anxiety?

As you might guess from the diverse list of anxiety triggers, there’s no “one size fits all” approach to calming down a dog with anxiety.

There are, however, several tactics that may help.

Follows these steps to help calm your dog with anxiety:

  1. Rule out a medical condition, other than anxiety, such as an infection.
  2. Remove possible anxiety triggers, if possible.
  3. Establish a routine of training and rewards, using positive reinforcement to help your dog’s behavior.
  4. Adjust your dog’s environment to help compensate for any triggers you cannot remove.

Step 4 requires some investigative skills and imagination. Call it creative problem solving dog parenting! Examples are limitless! But here are a few ideas:

If your pet is scared of loud noises, but you cannot stop fireworks on New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July, create a safe space. Utilize background noise and familiar, comfortable blankets and toys.

Going back to work after many months of working from home? Your dog may get anxious about your departure. Consider an interactive pet monitor and check in at the same time each day.

Did a family member go back to work or school, or even move away (or pass away?). It’s natural for dogs to miss their people, just like we do! Try introducing more activities, like walks, fetch or hide-and-seek to cheer up your dog.

Whatever approach you choose, there will likely be trial-and-error. But with some persistence you can help your anxious dog find a healthy routine.

How to Treat Anxiety in Dogs

Rewarding an anxious dog’s positive behavior is super important. When you use CBD treats for dog’s anxiety you do double-duty: your dog gets positive reinforcement plus calming CBD in each reward.

While an anxious dog may also need a daily dose of CBD, treats and rewards infused with CBD can help make training time more effective.

Check out our online store and help calm down your dog, naturally.

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