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Do you cause your dog anxiety?
If you’re not sure or are sure that you don’t you’re prolly freaking him out already. Let’s face it – human beings can be an anxious bunch. We are unruly, inconsistent, and sometimes extremely unaware. And who has to deal with it without a word of complaint? Pets. Now, if you have an issue free pet feel free to skip straight to posting pet photos in the comments section. But if you have a dog who just can’t contain her excitement (read: urine) or barks all day while you’re at work then this post is for you.
Of course, your pet’s anxiety may not be your fault. Some breeds of dog are prone to anxiety. Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety in dogs include
1. excessive licking
3. frequent barking
if you have an issue free pet feel free to skip straight to posting pet photos in the comments
4. over frequent urination
5. urinating or defecating in the house.
One of the most common forms of pet anxiety is
but some dogs also develop anxiety related to specific fears like
Bonus: 8. Woody Allen flicks.
If it’s the latter, he may just be concerned about your taste in movies.
[Anxiety prone breeds: Great Danes, German short-haired pointers, German shepherd dogs, bull terriers, Jack Russell terriers, Dalmatians, Bouvier de Flanders, salukis, Cairn terriers, basset hounds, and soft-coated Wheaton terriers.]
So, what do you do if your dog has separation anxiety? You could buy a baby bjorn and pack him around with you everywhere you go. For some, that may be the answer (please, please, please post a pic if this is you) but for those of you who want to maintain a sane facade I’ll briefly summarize the options.
Usually the first step in any kind of anxiety treatment for a dog is to make sure she is getting lots of exercise. Then make sure that there is a daily routine which incorporates feeding, walking, and playtime. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety specifically, you should learn about behavior modification for dogs and use some desensitization techniques to get her used to your absence. These techniques typically start with brief periods of separation (like walking to the next room and then returning), gradually increasing the time of separation as your dog becomes more comfortable. Also, eliminating triggers like your I’m-about-to-leave routine (you know… coat, keys, phone, wallet, door) and not fussing over your pet when you come home are good ways to avoid reinforcing your dog’s anxious behavior. For a great overview on separation anxiety in pets, visit http://www.thepawblog.com/severe-pet-anxiety .
If your pet just isn’t responding to behavioral techniques or is reacting well to the training but still needs more help, some vets recommend medication. According to www.vetinfo.com, there are four main categories of medications used for treating anxiety in dogs.1) Acemaprozine: Acemaprozine is a dog tranquilizer most commonly used during surgery to prevent vomiting but it is also used to relax excitable dogs.
2) Tricyclic antidepressants: The main drugs used from this category are Amitriptyline (Elavil) and Clomipramine (Clomicalm). These drugs shouldn’t be used if your dog has been on MAOIs within the previous two weeks. Side effects include constipation, dry eyes, dizziness, dry mouth, lethargy, appetite loss, nausea, and urinary retention.
3) Flouxetine: Prozac or Reconcile are SSRIs and suppress Seratonin. These drugs shouldn’t be used if your dog is pregnant, nursing, or taking MAO inhibitors. Side effects include cold-like symptoms, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, and weight loss.
4) Vistaril: Vistaril is an allergy medication that is generally used to treat allergies but sometimes used as a sedative for dogs with anxiety. Side effects include dizziness, lethargy, blurred vision, confusion, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting. http://www.vetinfo.com/dog-anxiety-medication.html
If you’re not too keen on the idea of giving your special fur person medications with so many potential side effects, you may want to investigate natural remedies. Popular natural remedies include homeopathy, aromatherapy, flower essences, natural diets, and ancient Chinese herbal medicine. Many pet owners have chosen alternative treatment options with great success. Follow this link for an interesting article about Dr. Kathy King, a Kansas vet who specializes in holistic medicine: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/aug/31/natural-pet-care-acupuncture-herbs-alternative-tre .
[“[Dr. King] put together this whole regimen of homeopathic and herbal medicines and acupuncture, and my dog is just doing well,” the Topeka resident says. “It’s been a year and a half (since the diagnosis) and, as far as we know, she’s cancer-free.”] – One of Dr. King’s veterinary clients quoted in Natural pet care: Acupuncture, herbs alternative treatments for animals, by Sarah Henning.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety specifically, you should learn about
So, if your dog pees on your bed every day while you’re at work, he may be trying to tell you something. If your spouse pees on your bed… well, that’s another topic altogether. Please be aware that there is more than one approach to treatment if your dog is suffering from anxiety and be sure to investigate all of your options. If you have experience with this topic (the dog, not the spouse) please share your wisdom by commenting on this post below. We might just credit you and quote you in our next blog post.
In fact, even if you have no wisdom at all feel free to share stories and pics of your anxious pets, or just ask questions. We read your comments. We do!