While anxiety is a normal emotion and gives owners an indicator that something is upsetting their dog, it can also be debilitating for both pets and their owners. It creates tension and makes the joyful relationship between pet and owner more difficult.
So, how do we ease that suffering and bring their emotions back to 'normal', allowing them to enjoy their day free from routine restrictions, stress and worry?
The answer... understanding that anxiety is, what the signs are and how you can reduce or prevent it altogether.
WHAT IS ANXIETY IN DOGS
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, there are three main reasons that trigger anxiety in dogs. These include:
Commonly caused by loud noises, strange people or animals, unusual objects like hats or umbrellas, new or strange environments, or specific situations such as trips to the vet. If not treated appropriately during a stress response to these stimuli, more chronic anxiety is likely to develop over time.
This leaves dogs feeling 'lost' when not in company with a human. They are unable to seek comfort and often turn to destructive behaviour or urinate and/or defecate in the house in an effort to cope with the emotions they are unable to control. Barking is another common management attempt, often causing disrupt with neighbours. It is estimated that around 14% of dogs suffer from Separation Anxiety.
When old age starts to settle in, accompanied by a declining mental state, confusion and anxiety commonly begin to 'spring up'. Older dogs with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrom (CDS), suffer from a declining memory, reduced learning, perception and awareness, causing anxiety to grow. Similar to early-stage Alzheimers in humans.
SIGNS OF ANXIETY IN DOGS
Common signs include:
- Panting and pacing (even on a cool day)
- Constant escaping from the yard
- Running away in fear and/or cowering in a corner
- Destructive Behaviour such as destroying furniture
- Self-harm, including excessive licking or chewing or a particular area or limb
- Difficulty settling
- Frequent urination, more than normal
- Barking or howling when left home alone
It is important to note that traditionally, electric shock collars or citronella collars were used to prevent a particular symptom, such as barking or howling. This will only aggravate and increase anxiety. It will in no way improve your situation. A dog displays these behaviours as a way to try and cope with his emotions, giving a negative response such as shock or spray will only amplify the fear, increasing the severity of the symptoms and embedding a long term, rooted behavioural issue.
TREATING ANXIETY IN DOGS
I am a firm believer in Canine Behaviourists. Veterinarians hold a great deal of knowledge in canine behaviour, but a qualified behaviourist is your best option to getting to the root of the problem. In some dogs, the behaviour has become so ingrained that their behaviour has become 'second nature' and occurs before they even realise it.
Traditionally, anxiety in dogs as been treated with prescription medications and sedatives. This is not a long term solution for any dog with the side effects of many medications alone outweighing the benefits.
I have seen owners that have replaced countless doors in their home, that need timers on hairdryers and appliances to mix up the daily routine, and ones that need to put their pooch into a doggy daycare during work hours to prevent constant barking at home.
For these owners, it can make daily life stressful and extremely difficult.
These owners were the driving force behind my research into natural alternatives that provide a long term solution.
Then I came across ChillOut that is all Natural, Australian and promotes that it works in minutes, and can even be given after the stressful event has begun... such as during a storm. Traditional anti-anxiety medications must be given at least 1 hour prior to the stressful event for them to be effective. Not ChillOut!
Of course, I was a little sceptical, so I tried it out on my own dog. Meet Bugsy!
In the video below you will see how Bugsy responds in a storm and how his anxiety is stopped in minutes. Literally!
Bugsy is 7 years old and has always suffered from massive anxiety during storms. To the point where the family was kept up during the night due to his excessive panting and pacing around the house. Not an ideal situation for anyone.
Best of all, it is suitable for both dogs and cats.
Please note that the label has changed since the making of this video, but the active ingredients and their quantities have all remained the same.
I was literally amazed at the results!
It is tasteless and so easy to use that you just put it directly onto your dogs food or treats. Or, into the mouth, as I did with Bugsy as he was not interested in food. When a dog is as worked up as Bugsy was in this video, food is the last thing they want, so I mixed it up with a little bit of water into a syringe and squirted it directly into his mouth. This way I knew that he received his full dose.
But, for those dogs requiring a daily dose, just put it on the food and it is as simple as that!
It is super affordable, super effective, and a must for any dog loving home that has pets suffering from anxiety. Whether it be in episodes or long therm anxiety, this will make life a lot more enjoyable for both of you.
You can view and buy ChillOut here...
If you have a pet that suffers from anxiety or stress, I would love to hear from you.
Any feedback or questions that you would like to share, please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you.
Founder & Veterinary Nurse