You've heard of "scaredy cats" before, but did you know dogs get nervous, too? Sure they do! Our pet pro, Luciano Aguilar, shares a few ways to help an anxious dog chill out.
"Just like humans, dogs can experience different forms of anxiety," says Luciano. "Loud noises, riding in the car, or separation from their owner can really make a dog agitated or edgy. But there are some things you can do to help your dog relax."
The first step to reducing your dog's anxiety is figuring out what triggers it in the first place. For example, a dog that cowers every time you pull out the broom to sweep may have been abused with one in the past. But he can be trained to accept it again if it's reintroduced in a positive way.
Once you've identified the cause of your dog's anxiety, you can work to train him accordingly.
A dog with separation anxiety can become upset when they are separated from their owner.
"Dogs need to be trained to be more independent," says Luciano. "Teach him to stay on his bed when you're in another room. That way he will get used to spending some time alone. For a destructive dog, leave some toys to keep him busy when you leave the house. That way he'll be focused on his stuff and leave your stuff alone."
For dogs that get anxious around loud noises like a thunderstorm or near by construction, there are a number of products you can use to keep the calm.
"Try a Thundershirt, which works by applying pressure to your dog's nervous system, helping him to chill out. There's even music that you can play to soothe him during times of high anxiety," says Luciano.
If none of these methods work, you can try giving your dog medication. Talk to your vet about your dog's specific needs and see if a solution like "puppy Prozac" is right for your dog.
Just like with people, there are homeopathic alternatives that you can pursue as well. So talk to your vet about your dog's anxiety and together you can come up with the right plan.
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