Some of you may not know that animals can have some of the same mental illnesses that humans develop. My dog Scamp, who is seven-years-old, has had anxiety his whole life. For us humans, ways we deal with anxiety may be playing with our hair, biting our nails or pacing back and forth, but dogs deal with it differently.
There are a few things that really get my dog going. The first one is when there is a storm or any other loud noise, such as fireworks. As soon as the bad weather hits, we know that he is going to start panicking. Symptoms he shows are shaking non-stop, panting and drooling. He will do all of these until he feels safe again, even if that means staying up the whole entire night. Another thing that sets off his anxiety is when he's in his kennel. He shows some of the same symptoms--shaking, drooling and panting, but he also continually chews on the bars, while breathing heavily. The one sign from anxiety that I am so thankful he doesn't have is going to the bathroom in the house. This is another sign that other dogs with anxiety have, but Scamp doesn't have this problem.
There are many ways to help your anxious dog. The number one thing you should never do is punish your dog. Scolding and making them feel bad does not make the situation any better. It only makes it worse. The best thing to do is create a calm situation for them. With Scamp, I've noticed if we pet him and make sure we don't have loud voices, he seems to calm down a little. It doesn't make it go away, he still shakes, but it lets him know that we are there for him and are making him feel better.
Another thing you can do for a dog with anxiety is take them to the vet and get the veterinarian to prescribe medication for them. The number one thing to remember with the medication solution is to never give your dog human over the counter drugs. Always consult with your vet before giving your dog any type of medication. Dog's bodies are completely different from humans and for dogs the dosage is regulated by their weight. There are three different types of medications you can get your dog prescribed on, but there are always side effects you should be aware of.
Our dog Scamp is a big part of our life, just like anyone's dog is to them. We try to do the best we can to help him feel better while he's having his anxiety attacks. It is not something that is fun to deal with, but the most important thing to remember is to always put him first when he is having an attack, and do whatever we can to make the situation as comfortable as we can for him.