ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Treat Anxious Dogs

Updated on December 5, 2011
Anxious dogs are often on the alert.
Anxious dogs are often on the alert. | Source

The everyday hustle and bustle of modern day life has begun to affect many furry friends as well. While dogs do not go through stressful events such as filing for divorce or reporting bankruptcy, they still are prone to anxiety due to various factors. The culprit of anxiety in dogs could be just about anything that disrupts their life style: a recent move, a new pet or the fear of being left alone at home. Many times anxiety is treatable if owners try to solve it before it set roots in the dog's mind and become a loyal companion.

In some cases, the owners are a bit to blame for reinforcing anxiety in dogs. For instance, what do most owners do when their dog seems to fear thunder? They will hug, pet, baby talk, and do what they can in an attempt to reassure their dog. This of course is done in good faith to try to help the pet overcome their fears. This scenario is often seen in veterinary offices, where dogs shiver in fear, tail between their legs and are tenderly held by their owners.

What any owners do not know is that what this does is actually encourage dogs to act as fearful. Instead of interpreting the owner's hugs as a way to feel reassured they interpret the extra attention as a praise to continue the behavior. In a dog's mind the owner's actions may be interpreted as saying ''It's OK to be anxious, therefore I can continue this behavior every time something frightens me''.

So what to do in such a scenario? A neutral display may ultimately be much more helpful to the dog. The dog will notice on its own that the source of their fears is not that intimidating by realizing nothing harmful really has happened. As an alternative, if the dog is fearful of something like a vacuum cleaner he can be told ironically ''Silly dog, that's the vacuum it will not suck you up its hose!''. The dog should therefore left free to inspect on its own the source of its fears. The dog may be helped to realize the vacuum is non threatening by placing a few treats on it so the dog learns that not only it is not threatening but that actually it can be a treat dispenser!

A good way to teach a dog how to cope with anxiety is a process called desensitization. In this case, the dog is exposed to the source of its fears over and over until he or she ultimately learns to accept it as a normal part of life. For instance, some dogs that fear thunder may benefit to listening over and over during the day a recording of thunder. After the dog gets used to it and appears much more relaxed, the record may be played while the dog is fed, pet and engaged in games.

Treatment of Anxious Dogs

Particularly anxious dogs may benefit from natural remedies such as Rescue Remedy or Bach flowers. In some cases, pheromone dispensers may be plugged in the home to help the dog calm down. Much success has been associated with the use of thunder-shirt for anxious dogs, with success rates as high as 80%!

However, there are some severe cases of anxiety that may ultimately require medication. Medications should be therefore prescribed by a veterinarian only when all other methods have failed. Common prescribed medications in the veterinary field consist of Fluoxetine, Clomicalm and Amitryptaline.

Often medications are given temporarily along with behavior modification programs and the dog is slowly weaned off as he or she shows signs of improvement. Medications for anxiety should be always used as a last resort and with caution. Never try to self medicate your pet without the consultation of your veterinarian. Your pet will have to be carefully evaluated and given precise dosage instructions to prevent potential complications.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)