Anxiety in dogs is a lot more common than you might realise, the cause of which can be many. Just like anxiety in people identifying the root cause is most important….unfortunately dogs can’t speak which means they can’t tell you why they are feeling anxious.
To identify why your dog is feeling anxious; try to imagine life through their eyes. This is harder than you think, remember they can’t read and they have a limited understanding of our language. Money, jobs and how they look will not rank at all for dogs. Food, attention, feeling loved and safe is what most dogs care about.
Common Causes of Anxiety in Dogs
- Separation anxiety – some dogs suffer anxiety when they are left alone.
- Loneliness – dogs left alone for hours on end can result in boredom and loneliness
- Jealousy – a new family member either human or animal
- Fear or Nervousness – such as thunderstorms, fireworks, new people or different surroundings
- Grief – loss of a person or animal friend can cause grieve in many animals.
If you manage to identify the cause of your dogs’ anxiety you can then consider ways to help them.
This could be through gentle forms of training to help desensitize your dog to what is causing them to be anxious.
Making sure your dog has plenty of exercise each day is a good natural way to help destress them. Also, by burning off excess energy it can also help with destructive behaviour such as digging and chewing items they shouldn’t.
Evaluate their food, sometimes dogs can be allergic to certain ingredients and this can also add to their anxious behaviour. Don’t be tempted to overfeed them to make them happy, no matter how guilty their puppy dog eyes make you feel.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety in Dogs
Make your dog a brew, with chamomile tea to help calm and treat anxiety. Chamomile is a safe herbal remedy for dogs and has many healing properties. It also helps calm the digestive system and once cooled you can also use it as a skin rinse for itchy skin complaints.
Valerian root is often used as a herbal treatment for anxiety in dogs due to its anti-anxiety properties. It is used to treat hyperactivity, insomnia, restlessness, and other stress and anxiety conditions. It is fast-acting and can be used both orally or placed between the ears and even on bedding to help calm and relax your dog.
Skullcap is a perennial plant and a member of the mint family. Americans in the 19th century used to call skullcap “mad dog” which they used to treat animals and humans with rabies. Today it is commonly used for anxiety, nervous tension, excitability and restlessness.
Sometimes it can be trial and error to find what works best for your dog. It is also important to know that no single herb will work effectively in each and every animal. This is because like humans no two dogs are alike where one herb will work well for calming one dog the same herb may not work for another. Always consult your veterinarian if you are not sure.