Anxiety is a very common problem in most dogs. Even the calmest dog will experience some nervousness from time to time. A nervous dog will exhibit several symptoms which need to be identified early and treated before the problem develops further.
A fully developed anxiety condition is much more difficult to fix. It is good for the owner to know the common causes of nervousness in dogs and have some knowledge of the symptoms in order to correct the problem. So what are some of the causes of nervousness in dogs and what symptoms will show that the dog needs treatment? First, let’s look at the causes.
Causes of Nervousness in Dogs.
Dog nervousness and anxiety is usually provoked by behavioral (personality) or situational causes. Here are some of the common causes of nervousness.
Dogs might not understand the environmental changes like humans will do. Dogs become scared by environmental changes such as storms, barometric changes in the air and humidity changes. In these cases, if the dog is outside, it will develop nervousness and therefore starts showing abnormal behavior, and it is, therefore, necessary for the dog to be helped in calming down after a stormy weather.
Loud Noises & Unfamiliar Sounds
Household machines have been reported to cause nervousness. Vacuum cleaners, for instance, make a loud noise that our pets sometimes don’t like. Gardening tools such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers also cause a great deal of nervousness with our pets. The loud noise of fireworks which are not common will also cause the dog to develop fears and experience anxiety.
Separation Anxiety & Nervousness
From day one your dog has depended on you to always be there but the real truth is that it is not always possible to always be at home with your pet. When the dog is a puppy it is showered with attention and love but as your dog gets older it receives less attention. It’s this lack of attention that can sometimes cause a great deal of anxiety for your pet. When your pet is left alone for long periods of time the anxiety can get worse and have bad results. Constant barking, howling, destroying property, digging holes, scratching doors, panting, urinating on personal property are just some of the outcomes that separation anxiety can cause.
Social Anxiety in Dogs
You might experience your dog getting nervous when in the company of other new dogs. For example, taking your dog to the dog park or jogging with another friend’s dog. These are situations where your dog can experience nervousness from either sexual frustration (wanting to mate) or wanting to play, sniff, and lick the other dog. Social Anxiety can also occur when your dog meets a new person as well. New faces can sometimes cause nervousness or anxiety.
Travel Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs aren’t always up for traveling. Some dogs can become very anxious if ever faced with traveling especially in a car. Car rides are scary for a dog who isn’t used to the motions, sounds, and vibrations that a car can create. Travel can cause many reactions including; car sickness, barking, yelping, panting and excessive drooling.
Those are some of the common causes of a nervous dog. So how will you identify a nervous dog? It is simple to know that the dog is nervous if it shows the following symptoms:
Symptoms of a Nervous Dog
- Aggressive chewing
- Destroying property
- Accessive barking or howling
- Accessive whining or whimpering
- Pacing back and forth
- Accessive licking the nose and mouth
- Digging or scratching
- Trembling or shaking
These are some of the common symptoms that will tell you your dog needs calming. So how do you go about the issue? We have natural remedies that will help in calming your pet’s anxiety.
Use of Natural Remedies to Calm a Nervous Dog
Now that you know the causes of nervousness & anxiety in your dog, it is then important to attend to the issue immediately. You can either learn to deal with your dog’s anxiety or use natural remedies to calm. Here are some of the natural calming methods that you can use.
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Exercising To Calm Down a Nervous Dog
In human beings, exercising will help in relieving stress and tension. The same applies to the dog too, and therefore it is advisable that you expose your dog to regular exercising. Exercising is good not only for physical health but also to relieve stress & nervousness. When the dog is exercising, there is the release of serotonin, a hormone which helps in feeling good. Serotonin has been known to increase the levels of calmness in a dog. Secondly, the excess pent-up energy is gotten rid of to help release the anxiety. Based on those two factors, activities like fetch ball game, running around the compound or even jogging regularly with your dog helps in relieving the tension, and therefore nervous dog becomes calm once again.
Distraction Method Helps To Calm A Nervous Dog
If you have a nervous dog especially when meeting new people or when traveling, you can distract the dog’s brain to calm it down. When you cause a distraction, the attention will shift to the activity you have introduced the dog to, and therefore the situation will be controlled. The best destruction can be introducing a game that your dog likes like fetch for example, or even rubbing the dog on the neck area to cause a sensational feeling. Involve the dog with familiar activities that they already know to be rewarding.
These methods work well since the divided attention allows the dog to become accustomed to whatever was causing the nervousness. While using the commands method, you can treat the dog with some nice food that it likes so that it can quickly calm down.
Another good distraction method is to introduce familiar toys like a favorite animal or chew toy. This will help the dog to tolerate whatever was causing the nervousness.
Try Using a Thundershirt to Calm the Nerves
Sometimes when you are traveling with your dog, a thundershirt will help to calm a nervous dog. This is because the weight of the thundershirt applies some pressure on certain areas of the body. This pressure is used to relieve anxiety and it has been used with good success for dogs and cats. The only problem is that they are a bit on the pricey side ($45). However, the thundershirt works depending on the situation where it is applied. For instance, it might not work for separation anxiety but can work when you are traveling with the dog. It will also depend on the dog’s personality or behavior. It is also advisable to use other natural means of calming the dog together with the thundershirt so that it can be effective.
Give Your Nervous Dog a Relaxing Massage
Just like in humans, a good massage will help calm your dog’s nerves. A massage helps in controlling and minimizing the anxiety. Give your dog a good massage using long and slow strokes so as to soothe and comfort them. Talking to your dog in a calming tone will help while you are giving the message.
Use of Slow Music Rhythms to Calm a Nervous Dog
Music works wonders and this time not only to the human being but also to the pets. Your nervous dog will be calm when you introduce some soft music to its ears. Consider leaving your radio on when you leave the house. Try making a soothing playlist of soft classical music and put this on repeat for your dog to enjoy while you’re gone. While traveling, you can also play some nice music in the car to keep your dog engaged. Music helps the dog to quickly forget the anxiety associated with separation anxiety.
Calming a nervous dog is never easy but by trying some of these methods you should be able to ease the anxiety naturally and effectively. Always remember to give your dog a reward when they behave as expected.