It’s one thing to have a nervous dog, but a dog panic attack is an entirely different problem to deal with.
Read on …
Your dog is clearly suffering when he is showing signs of nervous dog behavior.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can help your dog if he is suffering from dog anxiety and panic attacks. Your dog doesn’t need to suffer if you learn a few coping techniques.
I have some good news.
In this post, you’ll find 10 must-know tips to help your dog regain his inner calm. That is possibly one of the greatest gifts that you can give to your dog, along with your love.
#1 Dog Stress Symptoms
Before your dog develops a full-blown panic attack, he may exhibit symptoms of stress. It is well worth knowing these symptoms so that you can quickly recognize them.
If you can recognize the early warning signs, then you can sometimes take steps to head off the panic attack before it even starts. This tactic is the best solution as you are tackling the problem at the very best moment. Before it happens!
Dog Stress Symptoms:
- Observe how your dog uses his ears in various situations. Not all dogs show the same signs with their ears, so it’s important to learn your own dogs’ ear behavior. Ears laid back (flat against the side of the head,) typically indicate that your dog feels uneasy about the current situation.
- A frightened dog is also a stressed dog. Certain dogs may decide to snap, even at their owners. Watch the top lip area of your dog and notice if you can see the top lip curled up slightly, showing the top teeth and gums. If your dog’s mouth takes on such an appearance then be cautious of reaching towards his face. Your dog likely feels afraid and defensive at this moment and could possibly bite.
- A noisy dog isn’t a relaxed dog. Excessive barking, whining or growling when he has no apparent reason to be doing so, can indicate anxiety. If your dog is typically quiet, and then starts to turn up the volume for no good reason, then take this as a possible warning sign of stress creeping in.
- Dogs can be like people when it comes to how stress affects their food and toilet routines. A stressed dog will often show a lack of appetite, and their outside jobs frequently alternate between constipation and diarrhea.
- Because a dog can show a lot by its tail movements, it’s probably no surprise that dog stress also has a story to tell. A tail held straight down or just the very tip wagging can indicate anxiety. The more well-known position for stress is the tail between the legs.
#2 Dog Anxiety Vest
There are many remedies that claim to help to ease anxiety in dogs.
The dog anxiety vest is an interesting solution because the user reviews do tend to claim that the garment does reduce stress in their dogs. For example, there is this one over at Amazon UK that has around 1,400 reviews, and the average rating is 4.1 out of 5.
I am guessing that even if I account for some fake reviews, that result seems pretty convincing that many dogs do actually seem to receive some positive benefit from wearing one.
#3 Dog Anxiety
Features of Dog Anxiety:
- A less obvious sign of dog anxiety can be the frequency of shedding fur. If your dog sheds fur almost all of the time, then it can be tricky to spot any differences. But try observe if your dog is shedding more fur, or is shedding fur more frequently.
- A shaking, trembling dog is pretty obvious to notice. There are some breeds of dog where trembling is quite commonplace. But if you have a dog who is trembling out of the blue, then take note that you may have a build up of anxiety.
- Other common signs are excessive yawning, licking lips and overly-frequent itching and scratching.
#4 How to Help a Dog With Separation Anxiety
It is very distressing to have a dog who panics when you leave the house.
A dog suffering from separation anxiety can exhibit all manner of behaviors, from destroying furniture to showing signs of high anxiety.
Dogs are profoundly skillful at learning routines. Obvious routine-triggers are things like the rattling sound of his food dish, or what happens after you grab the dog leash.
Your dog knows a lot more about you than you think he does.
Your dog will even know when you are getting ready for bed because he has learned all the pre-bed steps that you do every evening.
Every routine step that you take – your dog notices them and learns them!
Tips To Help Cure A Dog Who Suffers From Separation Anxiety:
- Change your Exit signals. If you have just read the section above, then you’ll understand the importance of routines for dogs. So in order to change a dogs behavior, you can try changing the usual routine that is associated with that behavior. It is highly likely that whenever you leave the house, you carry out the same procedures every day. Try mixing up the order in which you carry out your pre-exit actions. For example, put on your coat, but then sit down for 10 minutes instead of leaving straight away.
- Play Can Take The Stress Away. It is very often the case that people leave the house when their dog is at its most energetic. Try giving your dog a high-energy playing session before you depart. This can settle your dogs’ anxiety considerably.
- Keep Your Own Emotional Energy Low. Making a huge fuss of your dog when you leave your house and return from your house is a red flag for a dogs stress levels. Try instead to make no fuss at all whenever you leave and return. Remember that your dog has also committed that ‘fussing’ as being one of the routines that it has learned. You need to change that routine.
- In-House Training. If your dog has severe separation anxiety, then try some training at home with no intention of fully leaving the house. You can leave the house for perhaps 2 minutes and then return. Keep your emotional energy low, then simply give him a small treat when you return and then sit down. Repeat this exercise daily, and if possible, repeat it a few times every day. As time passes, you can increase the length of the time that you leave the house before you return. Do not expect immediate results!
#5 Dog Anxiety Medication
The first obvious thing to mention in this section is to exercise great caution when considering medication for your dog. Your vet is the only person who should prescribe medication. Never give your dog anxiety medication designed for human consumption.
So, the first rule is to speak to your vet if you are considering a pharmaceutical solution for your dogs’ anxiety.
Your vet may prescribe Alprazolam, Amitriptyline, Clomicalm, or Buspirone. The choice of medication will be evaluated by your vet and will take into account your dogs size, breed, age and any allergy history. The dosage will also be decided based upon the previous factors.
You can speak to your vet about herbal solutions if you have any concerns regarding drug-based medications. Echinacea and Valerian Root can often be used to great effect, but once again, seek advice from your vet.
#6 How To Calm A Dog During Thunderstorms
Video Credit: Victoria Stilwell
#7 Fearful Dog Behavior Signals
Video Credit: Alyssa Rose
#8 My Dog Is Scared at Night
There are a number of reasons why a dog may be fearful and anxious at night time. Being afraid of the dark is not typically one of the reasons.
Dog anxiety during the night time can frequently be associated with the age of the dog. A young puppy, for example, can display anxious behavior because of its recent change of ownership. It is not unusual at all for a young puppy to whine, howl, cry or bark for the first few nights.
If your new puppy exhibits anxious behavior at night, try to avoid going to calm him down. He will very quickly learn that making noise brings him attention.
The best policy is to let your new pup understand that making a noise does not bring a response. I know that may sound cruel, but it’s much better for your puppy to gain his confidence by himself during those first few nights.
After a few nights, he will soon realize that every morning he is greeted by loving family members and he becomes more secure with this knowledge.
When an older dog suddenly becomes fearful at night time, it can be very confusing for the owners.
A senior dog can develop various old-age symptoms such as failing hearing or eyesight. Symptoms such as those can become confusing for your dog, and this confusion can bring on the fear of being left alone at night time.
There can be numerous medical reasons for a dog to suddenly become anxious during the night.
If your dog is not a puppy and is not particularly elderly, and he suddenly becomes stressed during the night, it is advisable to take him along to the vet.
There could be some obvious reason for his fear which may become apparent during the vet’s checkup.
It could even be that he is in pain and feels comforted during the daytime because you are with him. At night he may become unsettled as he is now alone.
#9 Dog Anxiety Disorder
Alert dogs are normal dogs, hyper-alert dogs are usually suffering from anxiety disorder.
A dog always wants to feel safe. At home, a dog should feel as safe as he can possibly be, so he shouldn’t be displaying any signs of anxiety.
Dogs typically scan their environments for threats, but once again, this is normally at a minimum in your home. A dog who is always on the alert is not a particularly calm dog.
Other possible signs of a dog suffering from an anxiety disorder are frequent panting, not being able to settle, excessive shedding and erratic eating habits.
I mentioned earlier how sensitive dogs are to routines. Try your very best to maintain a very organized routine if you have an anxious dog. Even the smallest changes in their routine such as changing their food or moving their dog food bowl can cause them irritation.
You may never realize how important routines are to dogs!
#10 Dog Panic Attack
Dogs can have full-blown panic attacks just like humans can.
If you have ever personally suffered from panic attacks, then you’ll already be aware that a panic attack is far more than just feeling anxious.
A panic attack in dogs raises the heart rate, brings on very heavy panting, and often causes drooling from over-salivation. A dog suffering from a panic attack may also tremble and shake.
Excessive scratching or paw chewing can be another indicator that your dog is going into panic mode. Equally, however, it can be a signal of an over-anxious dog (without the panic attack being present.)
Just like humans, dogs experiencing a panic attack are in fight-or-flight mode. If they choose the flight option, then expect them to escape to a safe place away from the perceived threat.
Be very cautious of a panicking dog that has chosen the fight option, because everything can suddenly appear to be a threat to him (even you.)
If The Dog In Fight Mode Isn’t Your Dog – Here’s Some Tips On Surviving A Dog Attack
Video Credit: Bright Side
In this post, I have tried to cover as many angles as possible for dog panic attacks.
You may have noticed that dog anxiety and dog panic attacks are not exactly the same thing. But dog anxiety can certainly lead to dog panic attacks. Just like with humans, we could say that a panic attack is anxiety gone too far.