Dealing with Dog Anxiety: Practical Advice to Help Your Furry Friend – Mushy Beds

Dealing with Dog Anxiety: Practical Advice to Help Your Furry Friend

Dealing with Dog Anxiety: Practical Advice to Help Your Furry Friend

You love your dog, but sometimes he seems to be a little high-strung. You must figure out what to do and want what's best for your furry friend. Dog anxiety is a common problem for our furry friends and can manifest itself in various ways.

Some dogs become agitated and destructive when left alone, while others bark or howl excessively. Some may hide under furniture or in closets, and others may suffer from gastrointestinal problems or excessive licking.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your dog cope with anxiety. We'll cover all your options, from training and behavioral modification to dietary changes and supplements. So read on for practical advice on how to help your dog deal with anxiety.woman-brushing-her-german-shepherd

Tips to Recognize Dog Anxiety

If you're noticing that your dog seems anxious more often than not, you can do a few key things to help him out. One of the most important is to learn how to read your dog's body language so that you can catch any signs of anxiety before they become a bigger problem.

Recognizing dog anxiety can be challenging, but here are some of the most common signs:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Drooling
  • Whining
  • Shaking
  • Pacing

If you see your dog exhibiting any of these signs, it's crucial to take action. Anxiety can cause dogs a lot of distress, and in some cases, it can lead to aggression.

Consider Medications and Supplements

There are a few options for medications and supplements that can help reduce your dog's anxiety. For example, l-theanine and thiamine are amino acids that effectively reduce anxiety. You can also give your over-the-counter dog antihistamines to relieve allergy symptoms, which can sometimes lead to anxiety. Additionally, melatonin and calming pheromones are both supplements that help reduce dog anxiety.

Create a Safe Environment for Your Petdog-looking-wary

Creating a safe environment for your anxious pet is key. This could mean turning off the TV or radio so they're not bombarded with loud noises or setting up a separate space where they can feel safe and secure.

For some dogs, this might mean having a den-like space with a calming dog bed— Raised rims that "protect" your dog, which has a positive effect on your dog's nervous system, calming their sensory behaviors and providing comfort when they need it.

Luxurious faux fur that mimics that of their mother mentally triggers safety and reduces the sense of vulnerability. Reducing stress on their heart and mind, calming and relaxing them.

Music can also be a great way to help calm dogs and reduce their anxiety. Some dogs may find certain types of music more soothing than others, so it's worth experimenting to find the best music for your dog.

Desensitization and Counterconditioning

If the anxiety-inducing stimulus is unavoidable, like a vacuum cleaner or loud noises, then desensitization and counterconditioning can help you modify your pet's behavior.

Desensitization is helping your pet tolerate a stimulus by exposing them to it—but in small increments. You start with the lowest intensity possible and, over time, they become used to it and stop reacting.

Counterconditioning is different as it changes your pet's emotional response to a stimulus. This involves pairing the stimulus with something positive—like treats or petting—so that they associate it with a positive experience instead of being afraid of it.

For example, if your pup is scared of vacuum cleaners, you could start by having the vacuum run in another room with treats nearby. Start with small rewards like tossing treats his way without exposing him to the vacuum right away. Have someone play with him while gradually moving the vacuum closer until he no longer feels anxious when the appliance is near. The process can take some time, but this technique can be effective in helping your pet become less anxious around that trigger.

This technique has been proven to work well in fearful dogs, so give it a shot if you think this might be the case for your pup.


The Importance of Exercise

Did you know that exercise can help your dog with its anxiety? It's true—exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which can help improve the mood and behavior of anxious pups. Regular jogs or runs with your pup can help anxious or high-energy dogs mentally and physically.

Plus, exercise helps your dog burn off excess energy and teaches them essential skills that could reduce other negative behavior like chewing. You don't even need fancy equipment or unique toys—sometimes, throwing a ball around in the backyard is enough to make a difference!

But remember that it's important not to overdo it, especially when dealing with a young puppy still growing. If you need more clarification about how much exercise your pup needs, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Training Tools to Manage Your Pup's Anxiety

Obedience training is often recommended for anxious dogs, but it's important to use humane equipment and techniques. Positive reinforcement can help create a trusting relationship and allow your pup to gain confidence in responding to your commands.

Regarding training tools, I recommend using collar-mounted clickers or treat-dispensing toys as rewards when your pup performs the desired behavior. You should also look for gentle, martingale-style collars designed with a limited closure that won't choke your dog if they pull on the leash.

Also, focus on teaching your pup to recognize one specific cue associated with a relaxed state of mind—this could be something like "down" or "relax." Keep practicing until they recognize this cue and show you that they can remain calm no matter what situation they find themselves in.


You're not alone in your struggles with a dog that suffers from anxiety. Millions of dog owners deal with this problem daily. These are some very practical tips to help manage your dog's anxiety. Just remember, if your dog's anxiety is severe or causing them to exhibit destructive or harmful behavior, it's best to consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to help get to the root of the issue. With a bit of work and patience, you can help your dog feel more comfortable and secure and keep your home calm and peaceful.

You can also check us out at Mushy Beds for some of the products that help provide comfort and help calm anxiety in dogs.