While man’s best friend may usually be seen as boundless energy on four legs chasing after sticks, not every dog lives the same carefree life of happiness as others.
Whether it’s fireworks, thunderstorms, separation anxiety, or general rescue baby angst, anxiety is a major issue for many dogs. We know just as well as you that your dogs are your babies, and nothing hurts like watching your baby hurt.
Besides the emotional distress, anxious dogs can also cause serious damage to your home (and your security deposit). An anxious dog might tear up floors, walls, and furniture, temporarily forget their house training, and cry loud enough to annoy every neighbor for blocks.
In fact, it’s a big enough problem that there’s a whole cottage industry of products and treatments designed to deal with anxious dogs. Read on to learn about the different methods, and which one might be best for your dog.
1. Train it away
Training is absolutely your first line of defense with any behavioral issues in your fur baby, and anxiety is no different.
The basic procedure involves exposing your dog to a milder version of their anxiety trigger (think: The rumble of a vacuum cleaner if the rumble of thunder makes them more nervous), and then rewarding them when they remain calm.
Your vet or trainer should be able to give you more detailed advice on the best training protocols for your particular dog.
Think of how good a hug feels. Now imagine that happening all the time.
The Thundershirt vest applies gentle, constant pressure (like a hug), to help your dog feel safe and secure. It works great for mild anxiety, but more severe cases might need a little more than just a vest to ease the worry.
3. Pheromone treatments
Pheromone treatments work by mimicking the pheromones that mother dogs secrete when they are nursing their puppies. The drops or diffusers can have a calming effect on dogs, and some pet owners swear by them for long car trips in particular.
But the results on these seem to be a decidedly mixed bag. It might work on other dogs, but not others.
4. CBD treats
That’s right, CBD products can be just as great for your fur baby’s anxiety as they are for your own.
The difference is that while THC might be great for you, its effects on dogs are still unknown. CBD dog treats must be made from hemp and contain no THC, which will make them 100% safe.
That disclaimer aside, these can be a great, affordable options that elicits a calming effect in your dog for around four hours. They come in treats or drops from a garden variety of companies and you can usually find them at pet stores or dispensaries.
Furthermore, relieve your own anxieties by trying some alternative forms of ingestion to help relax and relieve your own anxieties. Edibles are a great place to start, but the industry has opened itself up to topicals, tinctures, and many more products.