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Stressed Out: Managing Your Dog’s Anxiety

Photo: Courtesy of T.R Photography on Unsplash

Dr. Scott Miller

Head Veterinarian, Front of the Pack

When your dog feels uneasy, it can be a difficult time for both pet and owner. Knowing what to look for can make a world of difference.

“It’s important to ensure that the owner approaches the situation with kindness, and understanding, and to not  force their dog into situations which can exacerbate their stress,” says “Dr. Scott” Miller, head veterinarian at Front of the Pack, a company pioneering.a new generation of canine supplements, focusing on clinically proven ingredients to tackle the eight most common canine health issues, including anxiety.

Recognizing the signs

Dr. Scott says there are several common behaviors which can be used to identify anxiety in canines. They include barking or howling when the owner leaves the home, constant pacing, panting or shivering, running away or hiding in small corners of the house, irritability, digging, destroying furniture or not being able to settle. 

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In addition, owners should look out for excessive licking, chewing or scratching by their four-legged friend, their refusing to eat or drink at mealtimes and more frequent urination. 

Understanding the cause

Determining how to treat your dog depends on whether the problem is medical, behavioural or both. Separation anxiety is common, and can be brought on by loneliness, boredom, a lack of training or if the dog had a negative experience when left alone in the past.

Animals with separation anxiety often become destructive, use the bathroom indoors or howl or bark when their owner leaves the house. According to Dr. Scott, you should routinely exercise your dog before leaving the house, provide him with a treat or toy to keep him occupied and avoid putting on a coat or jangling keys, which can encourage a dog to become anxious. Leave for very short periods initially, increasing the time spent away over time as the left dog becomes less anxious, and don’t make a fuss about leaving the house.

Environmental changes can also trigger anxiety for dogs Establish a consistent routine in the dog’s life, including regular walks and meal times.

In addition, a dog suffering with stress or anxiety needs to be assessed by a qualified veterinary surgeon, as many behavioural issues can be caused by a medical or physical problem.

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Coping with general anxiety

Certain breeds of dog can be more prone to anxiety, but you can still help them better manage stress.

For more severe anxiety cases, the use of tri-cyclic anti-depressants and other prescription medications, along with concurrent behavioural training and support, can be effective.

Conquering fear at the doctor’s office

 A trip to the vet can be frightening for your dog. 

Both doctor and owner should allow the dog to familiarise himself with the clinic setting. Let your pet move about and  sniff, so they better understand their surroundings.

This article was paid for by Front of the Pack.

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