Just like human beings, dogs can suffer from anxiety. There are several reasons why a dog can become anxious including separation anxiety, general anxiety or anxiety caused by time spent in an animal shelter. At a time when many people across the UK are returning to school, university and the workplace, dogs, many of which have had families around them constantly during lockdown, are faced with the anxiety of being left alone.
The good news is that if you can spot the signs of dog anxiety you can understand what causes it and make changes to your dog’s lifestyle to help ease it. You can also use toys and treats to help make your dog feel more settled. Let's first look at dog anxiety in more detail and then share some top tips on how you can use our healthy dog treats to make your dog less anxious.
What makes dogs anxious?
Separation anxiety is the most common cause of nervous behaviour in dogs and transpires because dogs are very sociable creatures and like to have company. They become very attached to their owner and thus get incredibly stressed when that person leaves them alone, even for a short time. Many breeds of dogs are pack hounds and as such prefer to have their ‘pack’ i.e. their family around them at all times, so being separated, or having one family member out of the house for lengthy periods of time can cause them anxiety. There are other things that can trigger dog anxiety, including losing a member of the family, spending time in a shelter or kennel or just everyday things like getting into the car.
Dog anxiety symptoms
If your dog can’t seem to settle, constantly tucks their tail between their legs or avoids making eye contact with you these are sure signs that they are anxious about something. Dog anxiety also manifests itself in a wide range of symptoms including:
- Barking, howling or whining excessively whilst you are out
- Panting, drooling or excessive licking
- Pacing around, often in an obsessive pattern
- Destructive behaviour
There is more information on dog anxiety symptoms and how to gauge if your dog can be left on their own in our blog here.
How healthy dog treats can help
Our healthy dog treats made with choice cuts of meat and with no added nasties are ideal for helping your dog to deal with anxious situations. For example:
When leaving your dog alone:
- Use healthy treats in a treat ball, puzzle or other cognitive dog toy to give your pooch many minutes or even hours of fun as they try to work out how to get the tasty morsels out. This activity will help to distract them when you leave and keep them occupied whilst they are alone. Start by leaving your dog for a few minutes and gradually build up to a longer period of time, but only if your dog can cope with it. For treat puzzles and balls we recommend our range of sushi rolls which are available in different sizes and chicken, duck, salmon and beef varieties.
When making them less anxious about getting in the car:
- If your dog doesn’t want to get into the car it might be because they remember feeling or being sick when travelling as a puppy, or they might not like the actual process of getting into the car or the feeling of being in motion. If they are not actually being sick, you can try training treats to help them get over their fear of getting into the car. Start several feet away from the car and gradually get closer, using treats to reward your pooch for making it through each step, but only moving forward to the next step if your dog seems relaxed. With regular practice and plenty of patience you’ll probably find your dog gets used to getting into the car. We recommend our Wholesome Handcut Chicken Strips as they are gentle on sensitive stomachs and can be cut into smaller pieces for training purposes.
When easing your dog’s anxiety about going to a particular place:
- Whether it's the vets, kennels or even just a friend’s house. If your dog has had a bad experience previously, or feels they are being abandoned by their family, they may display signs of anxiety when returning to a particular place. To help ease these feelings take something they recognise such as a favourite toy and use some tasty and healthy dog treats to encourage them that it is safe. We recommend our Tender Duck and Sweet Potato Twists as they have a naturally sweet flavour, are packed with vitamins and can be easily cut into smaller pieces.
If you are shopping for healthy treats to help ease your dog’s anxiety or just want something natural and tasty to reward them with please click here to browse our full range of tasty dog treats.