Anxiety in small dogs: how to treat it
If your dog has anxiety, don’t be alarmed. Anxiety in small dog breeds is very common. After all, our tiny friends see the world so much bigger than us. Can we blame them for getting a little shaky every time they see a fully-grown German Shepherd bounding over to them at the dog park?
As a full serviced dog boarding facility on The Northern Beaches Sydney, we see anxiety in small dog breeds daily; there are so many breeds living within our local area in Sydney.
Learning how to identify anxiety and stress in small breeds is the first step to treating it properly.
The signs of anxiety in small dog breeds
Where do we start? Anxiety in small dog breeds can be evident in many different forms. Let’s face it; we’ve all been nipped by a terrified and trembling Chihuahua every once in a while. But signs and symptoms of anxiety don’t just stop there.
Some signs and symptoms include:
- Nervous urinating: does your small dog pee in spots he or she is not meant to? This is a very common sign of anxiety. It can happen after you’ve been separated from your pet for a couple of hours or when your dog has been subjected to a new environment. Your dog might pee in one spot or lower his or her head and scurry across the living room floor, leaving a trail of urine behind them.
- Panting: And no; we’re not talking about when your dog pants as he or she reaches the top of a massive flight of stairs! We’re talking about when your dog pants – and ofter drools at the same time – for no reason.
- Shaking: It’s never comforting to see your dog tremble in distress, knowing they’re uncomfortable but not knowing how to fix it. Your dog might tremble when they’re getting a pat from a stranger or even during big storms. At our dog boarding facility on The Northern Beaches, we treat shaking very seriously with our furry guests, especially when they’re around dogs all day long.
- Belly crouching: Does your dog sometimes creep towards you with a lowered belly and dipped gaze? Your dog might be portraying a submissive gesture and is feeling uncomfortable in some way.
- Snapping: Many small dog owners mistake snapping for other more volatile behavioural issues, but a lot of the time, it could be that their dog is simply nervous. Your dog might snap at other passing dogs, people or anyone they see as a potential threat to their safety.
How to treat it
First thing’s first; if your dog is experiencing any signs of social, separation or behavioural anxiety, you must speak to your vet. He or she will have your dog’s medical history on file and can diagnose your dog’s condition professionally. Do not self-diagnose your pets!
Once you’ve taken your dog to the vet (plenty of reputable Northern Beaches vets can be found here) and he or she has been diagnosed with anxiety, there are things you can do to make his or her treatment process easier and quicker.
- Overexcited greetings: if your dog greets you with a loud and persistent bark and some tail wags in a frenzied hype, then don’t return the favour. Playing down the overexcitement will teach your dog that his or her actions won’t be reciprocated. Ignore your dog for a while, at least while you drop the grocery shopping in the kitchen, before kneeling down and giving that belly a scratch!
- Be consistent: How can we expect our little fury dogs to feel comfortable when we’re always changing our minds? Be consistent and diligent in your discipline, so you’re dog knows exactly what’s expected of them. If they bark aggressively at a passer-by, then meet that display of anger with a firm “NO”, as opposed to physical punishment that will only instil more fear in them. As owners, we are our dog’s masters, so let them lean on us for security and surety.
- Distract them: Is something scaring your pup? Give them something to distract them. Take them to another room or give him or her one of their favourite toys to play with. If your dog doesn’t agree with thunder and lightning, then make them feel secure by closing the blinds and shutters and muffling the rumbling thunder with calming and meditative music.
- Medicate: the last but certainly not the least important tip is to take medication seriously. If your vet finds a cause to medicate your small dog, then take direction from a professional. Some vets may prescribe sedatives to give your dog during times when you know they’ll most likely get anxious, such as in cars, at the dog park or during storms. You could even try some herbal remedies or an Adaptil Anti-Anxiety Collar from Pet Stock on The Northern Beaches Sydney. But most importantly, whatever you decide to give your small dog to aid their anxiety, make sure you run it past your vet first!
Eradicating anxiety in small dogs can be a challenge. In many cases, it’s not easily treated, especially if your dog has experienced anxiety through to adulthood without proper treatment. But, it’s never too late to do something about it, especially if you see signs of anxiety in your small dog worsening. The first step in treating your dog’s anxiety is recognising the signs and addressing the situation.
Are you looking for friendly and caring dog boarding for small dogs in Northern Beaches, Sydney? Dawgy Hotel make sure all dogs – big and small – are taken care of according to their unique emotional and physical needs. Give us a call today to learn more about us.