Hush Puppies: How To Calm The Anxious Dog

Hush Puppies: How To Calm The Anxious Dog

“It’s me.  Hi.  I’m the problem.  It’s me.”

Yes, these are Taylor Swift lyrics.  No, it is not meant for you.  This is what your dog sings inside its head when it’s dealing with anxiety.  

You might say, “But wait.  My dog is happy all the time.  It’s wagging its tail and likes to frolic around.”

Well, your fur baby may seem happy now, but anxiety comes in different forms. There are three main causes why dogs get anxious:

  • Separation Anxiety
separation anxiety

Dogs are clingy.  When left alone, they experience separation anxiety.  Too attached, they like to defecate around the house or destroy household furniture due to stress.  “But how do I make them become independent?” you ask.  Say no more.  Check out our blog post - Pet Separation Anxiety: Signs and Solutions - on how your dog will become a strong, independent pupper.

  • Fear / Phobia
Fear / Phobia

Toot! Toot! Toot! Boom! Happy New Year!  Everybody is in a festive mood but your dog isn’t.  They bark, find a place to hide, or simply just not act like themselves whenever they hear unfamiliar loud noises.  Dogs can fear anything they see as a threat.  This also includes new environments, new people, other animals, or past trauma.  

  • Age-related anxiety
Age-related anxiety

Dogs become more anxious as they age. It could be associated with cognitive decline or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in dogs. It is a behavioral syndrome in dogs which is similar to dementia or Alzheimer's in humans. 

Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs

So how do you know your dogs are anxious?  Watch out for these signs:

  • Tucked tail
  • Urinating or defecating
  • Excessive barking / whining
  • Destructive behavior 
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Avoidance / Hiding

Ways To Calm An Anxious Dog

Sometimes, tucking your pet like a baby just won’t do.  

Anxiety in dogs mainly comes from anticipation of potential dangers.  Like humans, it comes in different ways and triggered by different factors.

So how do we keep calm and carry on?

Identify the cause of anxiety
  • Identify the cause of anxiety.  Do they panic when they hear loud noises?  Do they bark excessively when you leave them alone in the house?  Did they have an unforgettable experience in the past which made them traumatised?

    Exercise your dog
    • Exercise your dog.  Dogs love it when you take them out for a walk.  Exercise not only keeps them happy, but also healthy and well behaved.  A rule of thumb is to give them between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise.  Depending on the breed, larger dogs need more exercise while toy dogs require less physical activity.

      Behavioral training
    • Behavioral training.  To find the best method in countering your dog’s anxiety, it is best to talk to a professional trainer.  Anxious dogs can be quite a challenge to train.

    • Physical contact and touch
    • Physical contact and touch.  Not only is this their love language, giving your dogs gentle pats on the head reduces their fear and may also eliminate pain.

      Anxiety meds for dogs
    • Anxiety meds for dogs.  If your dog experiences sudden aggression or is constantly whining or barking for an unexplained reason, it’s best to visit the local veterinarian so they can prescribe necessary medications.

    • Anxiety is anyone’s best friend.  Like good things, they can be temporary once detected and countered with tender loving care.  After reading this post, we’re pretty sure your dog needs a warm hug just because.