Did you know that our canine companions can suffer from anxiety, just like we can? Dogs are very emotional, and can feel depressed, scared, lonely, or unsettled. An Omaha, NE vet goes over some facets of doggy anxiety in this article.
Dogs can develop anxiety for several reasons. Separation anxiety is a common one. This is quite widespread in shelter dogs, as many of them have been abandoned by or separated from their owners before. Separation anxiety is very much related to Fido’s natural inclination towards being part of a pack. Pups that are left alone and/or separated from their packs (that would be you) get very nervous and depressed. Then there’s fear anxiety. This happens when Fido is scared of something specific, such as thunder or car rides. Another type of anxiety is age-related anxiety. As the name suggests, this is something we see in senior dogs. As your canine pal gets older, he may go through some changes, and he may get confused or forgetful. This will frighten him.
The signs of anxiety in dogs can vary quite widely. Fido may pace, whine, or howl. He may have an accident inside the house, or he may drool, pant, or bark excessively. You may also notice fearfulness or aggression. Some dogs also lick or nibble themselves, while others may turn to doggy destruction tactics, like digging, chewing, or, in some cases, eating sofa cushions. Just be sure never to punish your pet for these mishaps. That will only add to his anxiety!
Helping Fido Cope
The first step to helping your furry buddy deal with his anxiety is identifying what it is that’s upsetting him. For specific phobias, such as a fear of thunder, desensitization may help. One thing you can do is play a video or CD of thunder sounds. Start at low volume, then slowly turn it up as your pet gets used to it. With separation anxiety, providing lots of toys, playtime, and enrichment will go a long way. (It may help for Fido to have a buddy, although of course adopting another dog is not something to take lightly.) You can also look into calming products, such a!s shirts, hoods, beds, and treats. In severe cases, your vet may prescribe medication.
Do you suspect that your pooch has anxiety? Contact us, your local Omaha, NE animal clinic, today!