This article explains how dogs react to anxiety and stress and share treatment options for helping your dog to relax.

Stress has the same harmful effects on your dog’s body that it does on the human body, but all dogs don’t react the same way and the reactions can widely vary too.

Anxiety plays a big role in the health of your dog’s skin, heart, immune system, behavior and emotional well-being.

In fact, emotional issues in dogs are frequently related to stress which can lead to much bigger health issues if the stress factor isn’t identified and dealt with in the right way.

Common Stress Triggers for Dogs

Again, there are just as many triggers that cause dogs to worry, as there are for us. Here’s some of the most common causes:

  • lack of attention and/or jealousy
  • boredom
  • lack of exercise
  • poor diet or lack of food period
  • bad living conditions
  • dysfunction and fighting in the home

Your dog’s anxiousness can be brought on by a lack of attention, the same old, same old routine (no variety), boredom, jealousy, lack of exercise (no release of energy), bad living conditions and so on.

All of these issues will impact and and threaten the dog’s immune system. As the stress increases, the immune system becomes over taxed and the potential for bigger health problems start to mount.

The adrenal glands are the body’s natural stress organs and chronic stress places a huge burden on how well they function. The glands wear out reducing the dog’s ability to deal with any additional or new stress. Plus, impaired adrenal glands can also hurt the dog’s immune system. Treatment for anxiety and stress issues won’t always work unless you identify and change the triggers that are causing nervousness for your dog.

Examine Your Dog’s Stress Level

  • How does your dog act in his environment? Does he appear relaxed or tense?
  • Is your dog happy and content or constantly fearful that something is going to happen? Is he defensive, jealous or angry?
  • How does your dog interact with others including other animals?

The above considerations are highly important in determining your dog’s level of contentment or lack of. Dogs who are easygoing, playful, interactive and well balanced will be less likely to develop chronic health problems.

Really take notice to your relationship with your dog as well as other people in the home and any other animals as well. Take notice to your dog’s daily lifestyle. If there is a lot of noise and dysfunction in the home; this can cause just as much major stress and anxiety issues for your dog, as it does for you.

dog anxietyCommon Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs:

  1. Behavioral issues
  2. Skin problems
  3. Pica – eating of nonfood objects
  4. Vomiting or diarrhea issues
  5. Lick granuloma caused by the continuous licking of the legs and feet

Here Are Some Treatment Ideas for Correcting Your Dog’s Anxiety

It’s so important that you locate and correct the source causing your dog’s stress.

  1. One of the first things I recommend trying is Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy. It’s natural, it’s cheap and works well for some dogs and cats for fear of loud noises, separation anxiety, loss of a companion, etc. Read the directions.  However, it doesn’t work for every dog.
  2. If your dog gets stressed by thunder, flooring, fireworks, etc., try using the compression technique which is used for autistic kids. The method often works very well no matter what the source of stress. You can also try combining it with Bach Rescue Remedy.
  3. Feed a healthy, all-natural diet that includes a good protein source. No chemicals. Poor nutrition stresses the dog’s body. Add probiotics to your dog’s diet to keep his immune system strong.  Include some good supplements to cover all the bases of your dog’s health.
  4. Really take a look at the physical environment in which you expect your dog to live. Do you provide him with a quiet, cozy bed in a quiet room somewhere; a safe place to call his own. Dogs who live in dysfunctional homes with a lot of anger and fighting are very stressed (just like children). It’s critical that you as the dog owner provide a safe, secure place for your dog where he can go on his own and feel safe. Comfort your dog and let him know it’s okay.
  5. Be reasonable. If you have a 150 pound dog in an apartment and you never exercise your dog, this could be a problem. All dogs no matter what the size need an outlet for their energy. It’s good for mind and body. Stimulate your dog by taking him for a walk everyday and playing with his toys with him.
  6. Avoid unnecessary drugs which only mask the symptoms and never really get to the root of any health problems.  Example: If your feeding your dog a lousy food and not exercising him daily, prescription drugs aren’t the answer.
  7. Here’s a nice combination of St. John’s Wart and other aids that help to calm stressed or fearful dogs.
  8. St. John’s Wart provides a calming effect aka a natural antidepressant and mood elevator: Small dogs need  100 mgs. twice daily, large dogs 200-400 mgs. 2-3 times daily depending on large the dog.
  9. Phenylalanine supplies a series of biochemical transformations that have a positive effect on mood and behavior. Give 2 times daily. Small dogs require 100 mgs. and larger dogs 500 mgs.
  10. B12 and Folic Acid are both part of the B Complex vitamin family and are vital for the nervous system. Look for capsules which contain 800 micrograms of both B12 and Folic Acid. Small dogs need a quarter capsule and large dogs need a full capsule.
  11. It’s important to give your dog some variety in his or her life. Mix it up a little!  Put him in the car and take him for a nice walk in a park somewhere different. With regards to food, give your dog a nice variety of healthy food as well.

Remember, as much as dogs love routine, they also enjoy a little change in their everyday routine as mentioned in #11.

Also Take Into Consideration

If you’re taking your dog to the vet for a physical problem; don’t overlook the possibility that stress may be a big contributing factor. So, if you’re trying to fix a health issue that could be brought on by stress, but you don’t eliminate the stress trigger, you’re wasting your money at the vet.

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Showing 4 comments
  • gail
    Reply

    I got a rescue pup at 3mo she was transported for 2 days i think the noise from the ventilaters in the truck scared the daylights out of her . She is noise sensitive and sometimes seems afraid of everything. When relaxed, her heart is still racing and she breathes heavy.

    Will the things listed help her? She weighs a little over 50lbs and now is 6 mos. I’m holding off getting the rabies shot, but since she is adopted out of stat, I must give proof of shots soon. Anything to help calm her down to live a happy life?

    • admin
      Reply

      Hi Gail:
      I’m sorry to hear about your puppy. I think the first thing that you should try are Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy which can help a lot with issues such as these and it’s natural and safe. I also recommend getting her a thundershirt to give her a sense of security. These shirts can literally do wonders for any type of anxiety. I’m recommending both in order to give her a stronger sense of security.

      Also, please, please, please be sure to use “Thuja” before you get your girl a rabies vaccine. Rabies vaccinations are the worst and are associated with rear end paralysis, cancer and seizures. This can help keep the terrible side effects associated with the rabies vaccination at bay. It’s inexpensive and a must. You can read more about how bad vaccinations are for our four legged friends here.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie
      Site Admin

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