How to Help Your Dog with Anxiety Signs and Symptoms
Much like people today, dogs experience nerve-wracking anxiety that can impact their health, happiness, and longevity. While anxiety can be an unpleasant experience, it is a normal and healthy emotion that can come and go in our bodies. But, since everything is better in moderation, when we experience sustained anxiety that goes on for days, that ‘fight-or-flight’ feeling can start causing adverse health reactions. The same holds true for dogs.
Dog anxiety is universal, affecting all breeds. But, each dog is unique, which is why your dog may have a different experience with anxiety than other dogs. If left untreated, dog anxiety can contribute to behavioral and other issues; not to mention, who wants to see their best friend stressed out and exhibiting anxiety signs and symptoms nonstop?
This probably has you wondering right now: how do I even know if my dog is experiencing anxiety? What can I do to treat their anxiety? You want the very best for your canine, and we don’t blame you! That’s why we’re going to provide you with the information you need to be the best possible owner today. But first, let’s go over some basics.
What Are the Causes of Anxiety in Dogs?
Based on research put forth by the Merck Veterinary Manual, dog anxiety results from three major triggers: fear, separation, and aging. Fear can be spurred on by loud noises, strange people, visual stimuli like bright hats or a balloon, strange environments, and particular situations that hold fearful memories – like if the dog was adopted from an abusive shelter. Although fear-based triggers are usually fleeting, dogs with anxiety disorders can be more adversely impacted by these triggers.
As for separation, did you know that separation anxiety impacts up to 14% of dogs? These dogs are unable to find comfort when they are left alone or separated from their families. This can cause the dogs to urinate in the house or do some other kind of unwanted activity in an effort to deal with the separation.
And finally, when dogs age, they can experience cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), where memory, learning, perception, and awareness begin to decline. It is said to be akin to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. The confusion can contribute to unwanted anxiety.
So how do you know if your dog is experiencing any one of these anxiety forms?
Dog Anxiety Signs and Symptoms
Here are some of the most common ways for a dog to be exhibiting anxiety:
• Urinating or defecating inside of the home
• Excessive aggression
• Excessive barking
• Restlessness and pacing
• Destructive behavior
Many of these reactions are normal in the case of a sudden event, like a car pulling in the driveway and beeping its horn. But, if any of these become recurrent on a daily basis, then you have a more serious issue on your hands. As you can see from the list above, the most worrying symptom is aggression, which can cause danger to other pets – or even humans. Aggression can be broken down into direct aggression (when a dog targets a person or pet to attack) or indirect aggression (when a dog wants to attack another dog and ends up attacking the person who gets in between).
Other signs of potential aggressive behavior, like growling, stalking, or barking can be a sign that more serious aggression problems are likely to develop.
Naturally, it’s important to remember that dogs were once wild animals, which is why their hunting and preying instincts can relate to these kinds of stress management. Reacting to stress with anger is a survival tactic in all animals that is designed to protect them if there is an imminent threat. They enter into their own form of fight or flight, which means their bodies are preparing to fight for preservation. Every animal in the world has this kind of reaction to supposed danger.
Therefore, how can you intervene as the dog’s owner and provide them with anxiety management and stress relief? What can you do to improve your dog’s quality of life? Actually, it might be simpler than you think. It starts with a doggy chew toy.
Our furry buddy Spartan relieving stress on our Beach Banana toy.
Tearing Toys Apart
Your dog is an animal at the end of the day, which means they need to engage in animal-like behaviors. The act of tearing toys apart, chewing, and ripping apart items can help them manage their stress. They are able to safely get out their aggression without posing any danger to anyone. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, which is why dog chew toys are a godsend for dog owners today.
Additionally, interactive play with dogs can help dogs get out their pent-up stress by running, jumping, rolling, and panting. That feeling of a sped-up heart beat when you experience anxiety feels the same in a dog. They need to go run around the block to get their feelings out in a healthy way. Combining chew toys and this kind of play is the perfect recipe for success when it comes to anxiety in dogs.
Here at Furddy, our dog toys are built with all of this in mind.
Furddy Chew Toys Help with Dog Anxiety
As dog owners ourselves, we know what dogs need to be calm, happy, and content. That’s why our proprietary selection of canine toys will keep your dog relaxed and friendly. Here are some of our toy product benefits we include:
• Four ropes and squeakers or tug-of-war for getting out aggression
• Crinkly liner and squeakers for interactive responses
• Additional unstuffed fabric sections for added points of interactions
Your furry buddy requires some special care and attention when it comes to their mental health – they’re not that much different from us! You can have fun with your dog, exercise, and watch them play while also processing their energy. Here at Furddy, we want to help!