Dogs can suffer from anxiety just like humans. As a pet owner, it can be difficult to watch your furry friend struggle with anxious behaviors. My dog Quinn is no exception. Quinn is a sweet, loving, and playful dog, but he can become easily stressed in certain situations. Actually lots of situations. This boy is a scaredy-cat!
First, it is important to understand the signs of anxiety in dogs. Some common symptoms include excessive barking or whining, destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture or digging holes, pacing, trembling, panting, and avoidance or aggression towards people or other animals. If you notice any of these behaviors in your dog, it may be a sign of anxiety.
Quinn's anxiety usually manifests itself in the form of pacing and panting, and then hiding. He also tends to become clingy and follows me around the house. Sometimes he even tries to sit on my lap, and since he weighs 110lbs that's no easy task! During the last storm he actually jumped in the shower while I was in it, and laid down. His anxiety is often triggered by changes in his environment, such as loud noises or unfamiliar people. And since we live in a rural area, there tends to be lots of things that go BOOM! and that simply freaks him out.
One technique that has helped Quinn is creating a safe space for him. I set up a comfortable area for him in a quiet room where he can retreat when he is feeling stressed. The space includes his bed (except you can usually find him under the desk), some toys, and a blanket. Whenever Quinn starts to feel anxious, he goes to his safe space, and it has helped him feel more secure.
Another technique that has been helpful for Quinn is using a calming supplement. We actually use a few, because every situation is different and sometimes he needs a little extra support. Quinn takes the supplement Calm Shen every day from spring-fall. This supplement acts like the herbal equivalent of an anti-anxiety medication, and makes him act, well, just more comfortable in his own skin. I don't know of a better way to say it than that. And then there are the days where there is a constant pop-pop-pop from someone doing shooting practice. Since it's impossible to know when the practicing will start, we head inside and grab a Pet Releaf CBD calming chew and ask Alexa to play the station "Deuter". No joke. Give it a try. Deuter has some great calming music for both you and your pets!
And then, when that 4th day of July is about a week out, we start with the tried and true calming supplement by Open Farm. Open Farm Calming not only has CBD, but it also has lots of fabulous herbs to help Quinn keep it together enough not to hurt himself. We actually rotate between Open Farm Calming and Chill Out by Super Snouts. Both are equally life saving. You do not want to be without these tools when it's fireworks season!
Exercise is also an important part of helping Quinn manage his anxiety. Going for daily walks, playing fetch, and other physical activities can help to reduce his stress levels. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help improve his mood and reduce anxiety. And tired dogs are happy dogs, no matter what the situation. Plus during the summer I feel like he associates a certain time of day with the loud sounds and he won't go out. So we make sure we potty lots of times earlier in the day so if he refuses to go outside I won't get anxiety that he's holding it so long he's going to get an infection. No need for both of us to stress!
Finally, I have found that being patient and understanding with Quinn is essential. Dogs can sense our emotions, and if we are stressed or anxious, it can make them feel more anxious. By remaining calm and patient with Quinn, I have noticed that he is more relaxed and less likely to exhibit anxious behaviors.
Watching your dog struggle with anxiety can be a challenging experience, but it is important to remember that there are techniques that can help. Creating a safe space, using calming supplements, exercising regularly, and remaining patient and understanding are all effective strategies that can help your furry friend become more calm and relaxed. With a little bit of effort, you can help your dog manage their anxiety and lead a happier, healthier life.