Anxiety is dreadful and the number of anxiety victims is sadly rising. Imagine you’re sitting in a plane that’s about to crash. A lot of scary thoughts are running through your head. You are panicking. You are terrified. That’s how anxiety feels like.
Dogs can also be exposed to anxiety – especially in a big city with a lot of new impressions and loud sounds. Fortunately, you can help your dog being more comfortable. In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how you can deal with an anxious dog:
Adaption – nice and easy
Living in a big city often means a lot of traffic, tons of people and new impressions everywhere. An anxious dog may not enjoy this – but don’t worry – you can teach him to get used to it! Let’s give you some examples:
Fido may not like walking down 5th avenue from the beginning. If you think he feels scared try to walk him a short distance. Take a short walk in the nearby park or down to the local grocery shop. He needs to get used to the surroundings. Slowly, he will realize that walking isn’t threatening but relaxing and fun.
Dogs can be anxious when they’re left by themselves. It can be even worse if you live in an apartment. In an apartment, your pup can’t, for instance, go out and do his faecal matter on his own. This can be stressful. Some dogs also feel scared simply by being left alone – so what do you do? Train him to be alone and do it as soon as possible. Try to leave him completely in a minute or two and slowly extend the length. And don’t give in if he begins barking. However, go in and praise him briefly in a matter-of-fact tone when he calms down. He needs to get comfortable and feel safe on his own. You can find more “house training tips” here.
Avoid too crowded places
If your dog suffers from being anxious it’s a good idea avoiding too crowded places. An example is public transport during rush hours. A warm summer day in a burning hot and overcrowded metro is not your woof’s biggest wish. Your dog will feel extremely intimidated. Even more, if he’s not the super social type. Instead, bring him along if you’re going to a nearby cafe – I guarantee you that he would enjoy that much more. The point is that you need to carefully pick locations and activities if your dog is anxious. And if you really insist on dragging him into the metro then bring some treats. Thus, he will feel a bit safer.
Healthy dog food combats anxiety
Nutrition plays a role when it comes to anxiety. Some foods have a calming effect on your pup, for instance, pumpkin seeds. A pumpkin seed contains L-tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid, and glutamate. L-tryptophan and glutamate can help prevent a deficiency in GABA (a neurotransmitter in the brain). One of GABA’s main tasks is to calm the brain and a deficiency of this may result in anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin E, which contains the antioxidant, selenium. If your dog has a lack of selenium it can result in increased anxiety and depression.
Papaya is also a great example of anxiety-relieving food. The papaya contains a great amount of vitamin E, but also vitamin B5 and B9. These vitamins enable the production of anti-stress hormones. You can check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the benefits papaya have for your pup.
It’s important to point out that diet alone won’t cure your dog’s anxiety. However, it can give a push in the right direction.
How do I know if my dog is anxious?
It can be difficult to tell if your dog suffers from anxiety. But there are signs that are important to look after if you’re suspicious:
- Avoidance behaviour, for instance, if he tries hiding behind you every time you walk outside.
- The tail is between the legs. We all know this is a bad sign – it really indicates your dog is afraid.
- Ears back. This may look cute, but that’s not the purpose. Your dog tries to tell you he’s uncomfortable.
- Self-harm, for instance, if your dog keeps biting at his paws or skin.
This is four classic examples of anxiety. You can find other examples on anxiety-behaviour if you click here.
Don’t lose hope
Adapting your pup to life in a big city may difficult challenge to overcome for you and your dog. Having an anxious dog in a noisy city isn’t easy. It’s important you have patience and keep on training your dog to get used to the surroundings. In the worst case scenario, you can contact your vet and work out a solution.
Lastly, it’s essential for us to emphasize that it’s good your dog tells you he’s anxious. Don’t punish him for that. This will only make the problem worse.
You may like:
- The Best Places to Bring Your Dog in KL & PJ
- The Difference Between a Kibble & Air-Dried Pet Food
- Having a Dog In a Big City
PledgeCare’s blog posts are designed to help and inspire dog parents who wish a healthier every day for their dogs. If you’re curious about our air-dried raw, Malaysian, human-grade and super healthy dog food, check out: https://pledgecare.org/recipe/