Giving your dog anti-anxiety medication can improve their symptoms, however medication is not a cure for the anxiety itself. Plus medication can have a whole host of negative side effects that aren’t good for your dog. Curing anxiety in dogs requires seriously looking into what the root cause of their anxiety is and then implementing a plan to mitigate the identified cause.

A major step towards accomplishing this is to identify what sets of your canine’s anxiety. Do they have a specific phobia? Does their anxious behavior act up in certain situations but not in others? Have they had traumatic past experiences that make them anxious around new people or other animals?

First, Let’s Look At Some Of The Types of Anxiety Dogs Experience

First, recognize that anxiety stems from different things. Here are some types of anxiety that dogs can experience.

Separation Anxiety

This is a common form of anxiety for dogs who have been separated from their mother or siblings at too early an age. They get upset and stressed when their humans leave them alone. You might recognize this in your pet if they whine or bark sometimes pleadingly and at other times incessantly, when they notice you’re getting ready to go somewhere or when they are home alone.

Phobias

Some dogs with phobias are prone to being fearful of thunderstorms, fireworks, car rides, grooming, vet visits, and other types of non-linked causes. One thing they do have in common is a dog’s inability to disconnect fear with the cause.

PTSD

If your canine experienced abuse or neglect, post traumatic stress disorder can result. If your new dog is skittish, spooks easily, or is afraid of people, they could be exhibiting signs of PTSD. 

The symptoms of PTSD in dogs are similar to those in humans and include chronic anxiety, hypervigilance, avoidance of certain people, places, or situations, sleep disturbances, fear of being alone, decreased interest in a favorite activity, and aggression.

Dr. Lori Teller, associate professor of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at the Texas A&M College

Noise Anxiety

Many dogs experience anxiety due to sudden, as well as loud noises. It’s important to know that a dog’s hearing is much better than humans (read about it here). Noise anxiety in dogs is typically due to their heightened hearing abilities – it makes noises humans can tolerate overwhelming to dogs.

Ways to Cure Your Dog’s Anxiety

We don’t like seeing our furry loved ones in distress. Luckily, there are resources out there that help in curing anxiety in dogs. Taking a little time to learn these skills and using specific tools just might make all the difference in the world to your dog.

Behavioral Modification

This method incorporates psychology, supportiveness, and training to assist dogs in overcoming their anxiety. This approach incorporates things like gradual desensitization to the noise, providing distractions, and providing a safe space or “den” for dogs to feel safe in. Visit the American Association of Veterinary Behaviorist to find a certified professional who can help your dog.

Noise Dampening

Since noise anxiety is a trigger in most anxious dogs, it’s likely your anxious dog has noise anxiety. If you know your dog experiences noise anxiety, there are some simple changes you can undertake to make things easier for them. One of these is to buy some dog ear plugs. If you know your dog is going to be in a situation with loud noises (e.g., thunderstorm, fireworks, etc.,), equipping your pooch with earplugs for dogs will dampen the amount of noise they hear. This helps keep your anxious dog calmer.

Another benefit of using dog ear plugs for noise is that they help prevent hearing damage and hearing loss. They provide hearing protection for dogs. This is especially helpful if you know your dog is exposed to high amounts of loud noise on a semi-regular basis.

There are many methods directed towards curing anxiety in dogs. Just remember that, no matter what method you try, it will take some time for your canine to overcome their anxiety.

Combo Approach = Success!

Being patient and understanding of your anxious dog’s behavior goes a long way. What works best is a combo approach of behaviorist and noise dampening. This tends to calm an anxious dog with a very good amount of success. One more tip: It’s also important that you don’t overreact during the anxiety-causing situation. Your dog may feed off of your emotions and get even more anxious.

Resources

https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/caring-for-a-dog-with-ptsd/ (Lori Teller quote)

https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/noise-phobia-in-dogs.htmlhttps://pets.webmd.com/dogs-fear-loud-noises#1

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