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Nervousness in dogs and how to manage it

As dog owners, we all want to provide the best care for our furry friends.

So when they start displaying nervousness – whether it’s from a visit to the vet or when you leave them at home alone – it can be incredibly distressing.

Whilst it’s normal for dogs to experience anxiety from time to time, left untreated it can cause a host of unwanted destructive behaviours that can stay with them over their lifetime.

The good news is that nervousness in dogs can be treated.

Signs of nervousness in dogs

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Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety. It’s a normal primal response to potential danger that can affect all dog breeds.

There are a number of tell-tale signs that you can look for in your dog:

  • Self-harm, including excessive licking or biting
  • Barking or howling when you leave the house
  • Digging
  • Escaping the backyard
  • Urinating and defecating in the house
  • Panting and pacing (even when it’s not hot)
  • Shivering or trembling
  • Tail tucked
  • Hiding and withdrawal

Get expert advice to treat nervousness in your dog

The best approach for treating nervousness in your dog is to talk with your vet. They can help in a number of ways, including to:

  • identify the type of anxiety and possible causes and triggers
  • determine if the anxiety is simply situational or an overwhelming issue for your dog
  • rule out any other medical conditions or concerns
  • prepare a treatment plan including training strategies customised to your dog’s needs

If your dog experiences anxiety visiting a veterinary practice, you should try using a mobile vet service, like Vetaround. This can help to reduce any stress inducing responses, allowing you to get expert advice and support in the comfort of your home.

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Preventing nervousness in your puppy

Separation anxiety is a common cause of nervousness in dogs. Being left alone in the house can be incredibly distressing – especially for a young puppy.

That’s why it’s crucial to begin introducing good training strategies early on.

It might feel difficult at first, but leaving your puppy for short periods of time every day is the best strategy to start.

Make sure they have access to a safe, secure space or crate with water and toys.

Each day you can increase the period of time you leave. This will help your puppy to gain confidence in being alone and prevent nervousness as he or she grows.

Managing your dog’s nervousness when you are away

Separation anxiety isn’t exclusive to puppies. All dogs can experience it at any age.

If that is the case for your dog, here are some helpful training strategies you can use:

  • Exercise your dog before you leave the house so they are tired.
  • Start off with leaving the house for short periods of time and increase the duration.
  • Change your ‘leaving’ signals. Use a different door when leaving, put your shoes on but don’t leave for 10 minutes, leave your keys/handbag in a different location.
  • Leave your dog with recently worn clothes that smell like you.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of leaving and returning home – ignore your dog for the first 10 minutes before calmly petting him or her.
  • Leave stimulating toys such as Kong balls so your dog has a distraction to keep them busy while you are gone.

Managing your dog’s nervousness when working from home

Working from home and being around your dog can seem like a dream come true for many dog owners. However, for your dog the sudden change of routine can feel disruptive and overwhelming.

Here are some helpful training strategies to consider when you start working from home:

  • Just like humans, dogs thrive on structure. The best thing you can do is keep a similar structure and schedule with them as if you’re going to work.
  • A tired dog is a good dog. Provide your dog with lots of physical and mental stimulation, including extra walks and structured playing inside the house, such as using tug toys or their favourite ball – the time away from your work will be good for both of you!
  • Provide your dog with their own dedicated space, whether it’s a dog bed or a crate, where they can go to rest while you work.
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Helping your dog lead a more stress-free life

Treating your dog for nervousness will ultimately help them to lead a more confident and comfortable life. With the support of a qualified vet you can introduce strategies and treatments to effectively treat their anxiety.

Vetaround Sydney Mobile Vet Service provides high quality, comprehensive and personalised pet veterinary care in the comfort of your own home. This can be particularly helpful if your dog gets anxious visiting a vet practice.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help treat nervousness in your dog.

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