Anxiety in dogs also causes distress for their pet parents – but there is help! This article will help you to find out if your pup is experiencing anxiety, identify what causes anxiety in dogs, and discover what treatments and anxiety supplements for dogs will help your pup overcome his anxiety and regain his happiness.
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9 minute read
In recent years, pup parents have become more aware of anxiety in their canine family members. While anxiety in dogs looks different than anxiety in humans, it can be just as debilitating. In fact, a recent study showed over 70% of dogs experience anxiety.
Chances are, your dog has experienced or continues to experience some form of anxiety!
The signs of dog anxiety can be subtle and not always what you might expect. But that doesn’t mean your dog’s quality of life is suffering any less.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize the signs of anxiety in your dog, your dog’s anxiety triggers, and, most of all, learn how to effectively treat or manage your dog’s anxiety. It really comes down to making sure your dog has the best quality of life.
Keep reading to find answers to many of your dog anxiety questions in the following categories:
- Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
- Triggers and Causes of Dog Anxiety
- Treatments and Anxiety Supplements for Dogs
Symptoms of Dog Anxiety You Shouldn’t Ignore
Different dogs show anxiety in different ways. If your dog is stressed, they may:
- Bark excessively
- Cower or tuck their tail
- Drool and lick their lips
- Stop eating
- Become clingy
- Shake or tremble
Of course, some of these symptoms – like barking – can have many different causes. Some dogs are naturally more hyperactive than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re anxious.
When you’re in touch with your dogs’ normal behaviors, you can identify when their actions come from feelings of anxiety and stress.
These signs may be akin to what a human experiences during a panic attack and greatly affect your dog’s well-being and quality of life. If your dog is suffering, it’s time to get help!
But do all dogs experience anxiety? Or are there certain breeds that are more likely to experience signs of anxiety?
Which Dog Breeds Are More Likely to Suffer from Anxiety?
Any dog can suffer from anxiety, but some breeds are more susceptible than others.
Herding breeds, like border collies and German shepherds, enjoy exercise and outdoor activities. Given their high energy levels and intelligence, herding breeds can become anxious or depressed if kept indoors all day.
Dogs bred for hunting, like cocker spaniels or basset hounds, have similar needs for activity and interaction.
Families love social breeds like golden retrievers for their friendly natures, but that also means they can suffer from anxiety and depression if they don’t get regular affection and human interaction.
If you’re looking at bringing a new furry family member into the household, breed is an important consideration. You’ll want to make sure their temperament is right for your family’s lifestyle so as not to cause undue stress or anxiety to your pup.
What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
Dog anxiety can have many causes. While a dog’s fears may have a “normal” cause, like going to the vet or loud noises, sometimes they can be hard for their owners to understand. Here are some of the most common reasons for your pup’s anxiety.
No pet parent wants to leave their precious pup home alone, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. For some dogs, even short separations from their beloved family members can cause anxiety.
For many pups, this manifests as destructive behaviors while their pet parent is away and then clinging to them when they return.
Separation anxiety can happen at any time. A previously calm dog may start showing signs of separation anxiety after a traumatic event, like the loss of a family member or other family pet.
For most dogs suffering from noise anxiety, loud or startling noises cause them distress. This can include thunderstorms, fireworks, and loud sounds from the television. Sometimes the whirring of household appliances like vacuum cleaners or air fryers is the culprit.
If your dog startles or jumps a little after a thunderclap, that’s a normal reaction. If you find your poor pup hiding and shaking an hour after they hear a loud noise, they’re showing signs of noise anxiety or phobia.
Social anxiety in dogs includes fear of being around new people or animals. This may be caused by past trauma or not enough socialization as a puppy.
If you notice your dog hiding or trying to run away when they meet someone new, they may have social anxiety. On the flip side, a socially anxious pup may become more angry and aggressive during those introductions.
Socializing your dog as a puppy can prevent social anxiety as an adult. For tips on how to socialize your new puppy, read this article on puppy training and socialization.
Your dog has travel anxiety if they show signs of fear or distress when you try to take them for a car ride.
Some dogs’ travel anxiety comes from figuring out that “car ride = vet.” Other dogs may get motion sickness in cars. It could even stem from past trauma, like being taken for a car ride only to be abandoned at a shelter.
Finally, some dogs simply don’t like the unstable feeling of being in a moving car and find it uncomfortable.
When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you rarely know the full details of their former life. They may have endured abuse, abandonment, or other traumas.
Trauma can cause PTSD in dogs just like it can in humans. Chronic anxiety is one of its symptoms, along with hypervigilance, aggression, sleep problems, and more.
For severe cases of PTSD, you may need the help of a professional animal behaviorist.
Treatments and Anxiety Supplements for Dogs
Of course, you don’t want to see your furry family member in distress. Thankfully, you have options to help your dog regain a sense of calm and well-being.
Start by isolating the cause of your pup’s anxiety if you can. That way you can eliminate or minimize the cause if possible. If your dog starts showing signs of anxiety out of nowhere with no obvious cause, talk to your veterinarian to eliminate any medical causes.
Even if your furry friend’s anxiety doesn’t have a clear trigger or a medical cause, you can still treat it.
Here are a few things you can do that can help your pet regain their calm:
1. Exercise with Your Dog
Exercise helps relieve your pup’s anxiety in several ways. It helps them feel bonded and connected to you, and it also can tire them out and relax them.
For example, if your dog has separation anxiety and you know you’ll have to be apart from them for a few hours, take them outside to play fetch or for a long walk before you leave.
2. Show Your Dog You Love Them
Never underestimate the power of kind words and cuddles! Tell your dog how much you love them and what a good boy or good girl they are and give them plenty of pets.
Please note that many experts advise that you should not cuddle or comfort your dog during an anxiety attack. While it may be tempting to console our pups when something frightens them, that may actually make matters worse! Essentially, you’re telling him that he does have something to worry about.
3. Try a Calming Shirt
These shirts work by applying very gentle pressure to your dog’s torso that calms them down, similar to swaddling a baby to calm them.
If you know an anxiety-inducing situation is coming up, try putting a calming shirt on your dog before it happens. Put one on your noise-anxious pup when you hear the first distant rumbles of a thunderstorm – no need to wait for those big booms!
4. Give a Calming Supplement
A good calming supplement can help your dog with ongoing anxiety or with the occasional anxious situation. For example, if your dog is normally calm but panics during car rides, you can give him a calming supplement before your trip.
For dogs who experience daily anxiety, get a supplement that can safely be given daily.
What Is the Best Anxiety Supplement for Dogs?
While there are many options when it comes to anxiety supplements for dogs, the two main considerations when choosing an anxiety supplement should be safety and efficacy.
Anxiety supplements for dogs should be effective enough to work when taken occasionally and safe and gentle enough to take every day.
That’s what we wanted for our dogs, which is why we created Stay Calm. It contains natural ingredients that are formulated for dogs to take every day since you can’t always predict when your dog will need help to feel calm.
And the best anxiety supplements for dogs will help your canine companion feel calm without making him feel overly drowsy or loopy. They should help your dog live his best, most active, and full life!
All of our supplements are made in the USA and held to the highest standards of quality, so you can feel confident your canine companion is getting the best calming treat available.
Which Ingredients Should Anxiety Supplements for Dogs Contain?
At Pawsomely Healthy, we scoured the globe to find the best ingredients that have a proven record of safety and efficacy. We also wanted to create something that was natural, not created in a lab or highly processed.
Our Stay Calm Supplement includes just those ingredients. It’s made from natural ingredients, many of which are regularly consumed by dog moms and dads too! However, these ingredients are specially formulated to be safe for dogs and in the appropriate doses.
You should never attempt to give your dog a supplement meant for people. And likewise, dog supplements, even if they’re natural, should not be consumed by people.
So which ingredients are best to include in your dog’s calming supplement?
Chamomile is famously known as a delicious tea, but it also has been used in medicine since ancient times.
It’s effective at treating stress and anxiety in dogs, and it can also help if your dog is having issues sleeping. It contains high levels of antioxidants, too, which help protect your dog from free radicals.
Chamomile has a broad range of scientifically proven uses. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and it calms the gastrointestinal tract. This helps symptoms of indigestion in your pup.
Since it’s so versatile and safe, chamomile flowers are a wonderful ingredient to include in your dog’s anxiety supplement.
L-Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that’s involved in serotonin production. Scientists believe serotonin acts as a mood stabilizer and helps you get a good night’s sleep.
If your dog’s anti-anxiety supplement includes tryptophan, it could help regulate their mood and stay calm and happy. And because it’s a natural amino acid, it’s safe for your pup.
The passionflower is a beautiful flowering vine found in Central and South America and the West Indies. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower as a sedative. It was later brought to Europe and became a part of European folk medicine as well.
In dogs, this ingredient may help treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. It has an overall calming effect, which helps with separation anxiety and lifts your dog’s mood.
The root of the flowering valerian plant has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries to alleviate insomnia, stress, and anxiety in humans – and it can do the same for dogs.
Because it also has known sedative properties, it can help your pup’s hyperactivity and insomnia.
Its calming nature makes it a great help when your pup has to deal with anxiety-causing situations like going to the vet or if your pup experiences anxiety with loud noises, like thunderstorms.
Asian and Middle Eastern medicines have incorporated ginger root for thousands of years. Many people know of ginger’s use in preventing nausea and indigestion, but it can do more than that. It also has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an antioxidant.
In dogs, the ginger root will help your pup with stomach upsets, which makes it great to use before car rides. It also promotes blood circulation and lowers the risk of heart disease.
Our Stay Calm supplement includes all of these naturally sourced ingredients to calm your dog in a natural and effective way.
The Final Woof
It’s difficult to see our furry family members experiencing anxiety and distress, but we can help them. By showing them love and patience, giving them alternative outlets for their anxious energy, and providing them with medical and supplement support as needed, we can help our pups overcome their anxiety and be their calm and happy selves again.
Does your dog need calming treats or nutritional support? Take our quiz to find out what specific supplements are right for your precious pup and will help him live his best life!