The Met Gala can kick rocks, the first week of May belongs to our anxious pups. In honor of “Dog Anxiety Awareness Week,” we want to take a closer look at dog anxiety—how to treat it, and how to determine the root cause.
What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
Dogs (like humans) respond to stimuli differently, and sometimes that makes it hard to determine what may be causing their anxiety. If you don’t know what is making your dog anxious, don’t sweat! We’ll outline a few, common causes of dog anxiety.
- Human Anxiety: Any dog parent knows how emotionally tuned-in their dog is, and it turns out there is scientific research to support this! According to a study done by researchers at the University of Nebraska Omaha, dogs and their humans experience synchronized stress levels and emotions. It’s important to take care of yourself and your mental health; if not for your sake, do it for your dog!
- Breaks in Routine: Your daily routine isn’t just for you, it’s also for your dog! Dogs grow accustomed to the way in which their humans move throughout the world. It gives them comfort and stability. When the routine your dog is used to gets changed, it could trigger an anxious response.
- External Stimuli: Whether it’s fireworks or construction next door, external stimuli can be a massive contributing factor to your dog’s anxiety.
- Medical Conditions: While it is less likely, there are several medical conditions that can cause anxiety in dogs.
How to Ease Your Dog’s Anxiety
Now that we’ve covered some of the causes, let’s look at how we can mitigate that anxiety!
Enrichment activities are a perfect way to soothe an anxious pup. Treat dispensing toys are a great workout for your dog’s brain, and they can provide a tasty distraction when dealing with external stimuli. Lick mats are another awesome tool, as they encourage your dog to engage with their primal instinct to lick. The act of licking releases endorphins into your dog’s brain, which help to calm them during stressful situations!
Where to get: Treat Dispenser, Lick Mat
2. Calming Supplements
Calming supplements are a must have for many anxious dog parents. Depending on the cause and severity of your dog’s anxiety, calming aids could really help. If you’re wondering if these soft chews are right for your dog, we recommend talking with your vet before introducing them.
Where to get: Calming Aid
3. Small Changes to Your Routine
Big changes are often an unavoidable part of life. Unfortunately, we are unable to communicate that reality to our dogs, which can make an already stressful situation that much more anxiety-inducing. When dealing with a significant lifestyle change, it’s important to change your dog’s routine slowly (if at all possible). Starting a new job that requires you to be at work earlier, but your dog is used to a 15-minute morning cuddle-session? Get up 15 minutes earlier to try and maintain this habit. Gradually, you can reduce cuddle time as your dog gets accustomed to your new routine.
4. See a Vet
If nothing is helping your dog’s anxiety, or it is becoming detrimental to their quality of life, you should consult a veterinarian. They will be able to rule out any health issues and help you a treatment plan that is best suited for your best friend.