CBD for Pets with Anxiety: How to Help Your Dog Stay Calm in Stressful Situations
Does your pet behave like Courage, the Cowardly Dog?
You and your four-legged friend share more similarities than you may imagine. Research shows dogs are as prone to anxiety as humans and can act aggressively in stressful situations. The issue is more common than you think, with 70% of canines displaying some signs of anxiety.
Dogs get anxious due to several reasons like staying alone, loud noises, and meeting new animals. You need to understand why your pet is anxious if you want to do anything about it.
Today, we will explore why dogs behave anxiously and how you can calm them down. We will also discuss different ways to help your pet avoid and handle stressful situations.
Let’s start with the most prevalent form of anxiety in our furry friends.
Noise Sensitivity in Dogs: Fear of Loud Noises
Alaska is a 3-year-old playful and highly active husky. She likes to run all around the house and never sits idle for a moment.
However, even a single loud noise like thunder sends her cowering under the bed.
Does your dog share similar habits too?
Noise sensitivity is the most common form of anxiety in dogs. Around 32% of our canine companions are afraid of loud noises, a study of 264 different breeds shows.
Additionally, most dogs (26%) were afraid of loud noises made by fireworks.
Why Are Dogs Scared of Loud Noises?
Just like us, our four-legged friends tend to fear things they don’t understand. The sound of a firework may be easy for us to ignore, but not for pets as they don’t know its cause.
In addition, dogs are instinctively scared of fearful events like storms and thunders. As a result, most dogs hide under the bed or disappear when lightning strikes.
How to Relax Your Pet
You can try several ways to relax dogs that are scared of loud sounds. One of the best ways is to expose the dog to the source of the anxiety in gradual steps. However, keep the duration short and increase it slowly across days.
You can also reward the positive behaviors of your dog, says the American Kennel Club. So, if your dog stays calm during a thunderstorm, hand over a treat to show your appreciation.
The American Kennel Club also suggests anxiety medications for predictable stressful situations like fireworks shows or storms.
General Fearfulness in Dogs: Fear of Stressful Situations and Objects
Various situations, people, and animals can make your dog anxious. We all know how dogs whimper and bark when you are on your way to the vet. Similarly, a range of circumstances can lead your dog to show anxious behaviors.
Research shows 29% of canines suffer from general fearfulness. Among them, 17% of dogs are afraid of other dogs. Some pet parents know how this can feel when your dog runs between your legs or starts to whine.
In addition, 15% of dogs are scared of strangers. As a result, some dogs behave aggressively or run away to another room when guests are over. They also behave restlessly in front of new people and are uncomfortable to socialize.
Moreover, 11% of dogs display fear of novel situations. They may be afraid to go on a car ride or find a new place too stressful to behave appropriately.
How to Build Up Courage in Dogs
Behavioral training can go a long way to make your dog comfortable with situations it finds stressful. The idea is to reward positive behaviors your dog shows in these situations to make them more comfortable.
Let’s take an example to make things clear. Let’s say your pet is afraid to go on a car ride. It barks and whimpers the moment you open the doors and ask to get in.
These are standard signs of anxiety dogs display when they are nervous. Your job is to slowly expose your dog to these situations by breaking up the process.
So, the first step should be to take your dog near your car. Next, reward your pet if it is able to behave.
Sign off for the day and return to your car with your dog the following day.
Today, you will open the door and try to get your dog inside the car. If you succeed, hand over another treat to your pet.
The next day, take your pet on a ride around the neighborhood. Keep a few treats handy so that you can continue rewarding the positive behavior of your dog.
With time, your furry friend will learn to become comfortable and enjoy the ride. You may also find your pet happily surfing the wind with its head outside the window.
Additionally, expose your dog to new people and animals while it’s still young to prevent fear of strangers.
Pro tip: You can give your dog CBD treats instead of regular treats while training in stressful situations. CBD treats will help your dog relax and focus more on changing its behavior.
P.S: The time needed for your dog to get comfortable will vary based on factors like the breed. Proceed to the next step of the training only when your pet can cope with the current step.
Separation Anxiety in Dogs: The Fear of Being Lonely
Humans are social animals, and so are dogs. We love to surround ourselves with friends and family to have a gala time and feel loved. We also tend to become sad when we go away from people we love and care for.
Dogs also feel the same when they are separated from you or your family members. Research shows 5% of canines display signs of anxiety related to separation.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
You can easily spot if your dog suffers from separation anxiety. Some of the expected behaviors include:
- Whining, barking, or howling as you leave
- Scratching doors, windows, or furniture
- Chewing stuff, cables, and other things
- Urinating or defecating inside the house despite training
- Panting or salivating heavily
- Pacing around the room restlessly
You know your dog is anxious and doesn’t like to be lonely if you spot these signs. In addition, you should keep an eye open for subtle signs like raising a paw, licking lips, or staring away.
How to Help Dogs Manage Separation Anxiety
You can start with behavioral training to get your dog used to you leaving the house. Give your pet a treat whenever you make your exit to instill positive behavior.
However, be sure to remove the treat once you return.
In addition, try to make your exits as low-key as possible, without lengthy goodbyes or cuddling. Moreover, don’t start showering your affection on your pet the moment you step in. You should stay calm and prevent engaging with your loyal companion for at least a few minutes.
Another way to help your dog cope is to remind it of your presence. The easiest way to do this is to leave around a few t-shirts around the house that give out your smell.
Additionally, you may consider over-the-counter relaxing supplements to keep your dog calm, like CBD oil.
Next, we are going to check out a few best practices that help you ensure the best for your loyal companion.
Always Check with a Vet
Sometimes, dogs can act anxious due to underlying medical conditions or other reasons. For example, hormone imbalances and infections often cause pets to defecate inside the house. Or, it can also be the result of medicines or improper housebreaking.
As a result, you should always consult your vet if you see your dog getting anxious. Your vet will be able to rule out any medical conditions or drugs that may be causing anxiety.
Once you are sure, you can follow the methods we discussed to help your pet.
In addition, anxiety may become chronic in some dogs over time. You may need to take your pet for professional medical treatment in such cases.
Ways to Prevent Anxiety in Dogs
A few precautions and steps can help your dog stay happy and relaxed even in stressful situations. You may try the following to prevent your dog from getting anxious:
- Learn to read your dog’s body language. It will help you realize when your pet is starting to feel stressed and avoid such triggers or situations.
- Make sure your dog socializes a lot. Expose your canine friend to new people, animals, and places to help it adjust to different situations comfortably.
- Keep your dog well-exercised. You should also ensure proper nutrition for your pet for better physical and mental health.
Dogs need a similar approach to humans to manage anxiety. You should expose them to anxiety triggers gradually and in low doses. In addition, invest in behavior training and reward positive outcomes. You can also try calming supplements like CBD for dogs to provide relaxation.
Additionally, read our blog for more informative articles to keep your dog healthy and happy.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.