How to Maximize Happiness & Minimize Anxiety for Your Pooch
Anxiety is typically discussed as a human symptom, but the unpleasantness of a stressful situation can be just as real for man’s best friend as well. Some dogs experience stress more than others. Triggers like overcrowded spaces, long trips, the presence of other animals, or being left alone for too long can make dogs uncomfortable, stressed, and even unhealthy.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to address stress and provide a peaceful, healthy life for your pet
5 Ways to Minimize Dog Anxiety
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to take some time to strategize. In the same way that you wouldn’t want your doctor to simply throw medicine at you without ever taking the time to make a formal diagnosis, you don’t want to simply start trying different treatments on your dog without a second thought. You’ll want to come up with a plan that is specifically tailored to your dog’s needs and struggles. maximum
Start by analyzing your dog’s life, their behaviors, food, toys, bed, exercise, etc. See what stands out as exceptional and what is lacking. Look for indicators of stress like pacing, shaking, or aggressive or fearful posture. Do they exhibit unusual instances of yawning, whining, or barking? Try to pinpoint what situations are causing these symptoms. It can be wise to talk to your vet beforehand as well, as they may have suggestions based off of what they know about your dog.
After this, go over the list below and carefully consider how each suggestion could help. Some of them, like going to the vet regularly, are obviously universally beneficial. Others, though, like CBD oil or wrapping in a blanket, should be considered on a case by case basis.
Remember, this is your pet -- not a science experiment. Go about the process thoughtfully!
1. Keep Up Proper Medical Care
A classic piece of advice that can’t be overstated is that you should make sure that you’re bringing your dog to the vet on a regular basis. Try to stick to the same vet for as long as possible, as that can breed a sense of comfort and security with your animal.
WebMD suggests you bring your dog to the vet at the following frequencies based on their age:
- Under the age of 1: You should be bringing them in every few weeks or months (check with your vet for a more solid schedule) in order to get all of their shots and make sure they’re growing well.
- From 1 until 7-10 years old (depending on the breed): Bring them in at least once a year. These are their prime years of health
- Over 7-10 years old: At this point, they’re elderly, and the visits should increase to roughly twice a year.
Regular vet visits ensure that things like heart-worm medication and rabies vaccines are up to date. You can also address dangers like the threat of ticks and Lyme disease.
If you tend to avoid the vet in the fear that emergencies, diseases, and other unexpected costs can creep into the equation, you may want to consider getting pet health insurance to help mitigate your concerns. Some higher-quality policies even cover the costs of the vet visits themselves.
2. Keep Up Proper Home Care
Along with regular visits to the veterinarian, you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking proper care of your animal at home. There are obvious things like giving your dog regular meals and access to water, but it doesn’t stop there.
While you may give your pooch food regularly, for instance, you’re also going to want to check the food itself to see if it has any harmful ingredients.
For instance, food dyes are used in many dog foods in order to make them more appealing. However, many dyes have been connected to things like hyperactivity, allergic reactions, and even cancer, all of which can obviously make your dog very unhealthy and unhappy.
In addition to their food, make sure you’re giving your animal baths regularly to keep them clean, groomed, and free of pests like fleas. On the other hand, don’t bathe them too often -- no more than once every week or two -- so that they don’t develop dry skin. Whether it’s due to fleas or their skin itself, there’s nothing like that incessant itch to drive your dog crazy.
Exercise is a tried and true classic that ensures sure your dog is living the life. The simple act of getting them out for a walk or playing fetch for a while in the backyard can help your pooch let out its energy and keep its body in tip-top condition.
If you exercise your dog on a regular basis, keep the weather in mind. If you’re dealing with excessive heat, try to plan your exercise for the mornings and evenings, avoiding the midday sun. Also, make sure your dog has enough water and a way to cool down afterward, such as letting them go for a swim or providing a self-cooling pet pad.
4. Addressing Stress
When it comes to stressful situations, there are several different ways to help your dog cope, including:
- Stroking, comforting, and talking to them in order to calm their nerves.
- Wrapping them in a blanket to help them feel safe and secure.
- Providing a level of background noise, like music or leaving the television on low, to help them feel less alone during the day.
- Using CBD oil as a safe, natural way to calm their nerves. If you do this, start with small doses and slowly increase them until you find the right quantity.
Finally, if your dog struggles with socializing with other pups, try providing careful, controlled levels of socialization in order to help your dog become accustomed to the presence of fellow canines.
5. Stay Calm and Carry On
One of the most important responsibilities for you, yourself, as your dog’s owner, is to simply stay calm. Dogs are incredibly perceptive, and they can tell when their owner is stressed.
While stress is a normal part of life, that doesn’t change the fact that owners overreacting to stress can exacerbate problems for their canine companions as well. Along with techniques to relieve your pet’s stress, make sure you’re taking measures to manage your own stress as well in order to promote a sense of tranquility throughout your entire home.
Follow a few tips to manage your own stress, including exercise, listening to music, and spending time with your pet. Yes, you can turn your own stress management into an exercise that you can do with your dog!
Whether you’re taking proper care of your animal at home, bringing them to their regular vet checkups, or helping them manage stressful situations, it’s worth taking the time to come up with a strategy to help keep your best friend’s environment as happy, healthy, and stress-free as possible.