Has anyone else noticed a change in their canine’s behavior over the last few weeks?
From our first week in quarantine, our dog’s personality flipped. Suddenly our happy, lazy Macie (a lab/collie mix) became incredibly anxious, needy and unpredictable.
The cycle went something like this:
- Intermittent periods of shaking uncontrollably
- Demanding hours of outside time to lay in the grass or on the porch
- Scratching at the door incessantly to go outside for a walk
- Scratching at humans for constant attention (while shaking uncontrollably)
We were beside ourselves. The early weeks weren’t filled with anxiety for ether my husband or I. (Or so we thought.) We weren’t obsessive news watchers or arguers. In fact, we just quietly went to work in our respective areas and not much fuss was made about the new arrangement at all.
Yet, without fail, our dog began her cycle the minute we got up in the morning with shaking and straight up refusal to come back inside the house.
So heart wrenching!
A few phone calls and visits to the vet resulted in the acceptance that our dog was not seriously ill but rather had a whopping dose of ANXIETY. Now I knew that pets had the ability to feel just like humans, I’d just never witnessed it in my own.
We learned that studies have shown that humans secrete odors that communicate emotions to dogs, which allows them to be uniquely tuned in to how we’re feeling; this is how our dogs alway seems to know when we’re feeling sad.
As you can imagine, we’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing options with our vet and trying them out on our own puppy. If this is something you’re also experiencing, you’ll be happy to know that there are quite a few options out there that may provide relief!
Products That Can Help An Anxious Dog
- Adaptil – This uses Pheromone to help relax your pet. There are a few options you can choose from – collars, sprays and air diffusers. Of note: the collars are more effective for thin coated breeds.
- ThunderShirt – This jacket may potentially help with stress by giving a comforting hug to your pet. We used this and she seems to settle a bit when it is on her.
- Solliquin Soft Chews – These are calming pills that contain a unique combination of ingredients such as L-Theanine, Magnolia and Phellodendron extracts that may help with dog and cat anxiety.
- Purina Calming Care – A probiotic supplement for dogs that manages anxiety and stress-related behaviors. Purina Calming Care is designed to help reduce anxious behavior by targeting the gastrointestinal tract. It contains a proprietary strain of probiotic which manages the balance of bacteria in the gut to influence the brain.
Actions You Can Take To Relieve Anxiety
- Dogs, like us, just need time to adjust to the lifestyle change. This adjustment period can be sped up if you put into place, as soon as you can, a consistent at-home routine. Take them for walks at the same times every day, feed them on a normal schedule, give them regular bouts of attention. They’ll learn the routine.
- Increase pet’s exercise can improve the release of endorphin which are feel good hormones. Use different types of play/exercise each week to prevent pet from getting bored.
- Take them for a walk as often as possible. Just like you, they need to get outside into the world.
- During thunderstorms or fireworks, you may want to use different types of devices such as TV, music and toys (Kong) to distract your dog. Closing the doors/windows will help muffle the sounds as well.
- Consider spending at least an hour a day away from your animal or else they could develop separation anxiety. (This is especially true of puppies.)
Here’s hoping these ideas help you if you’re dealing with the same symptoms at home! Please feel free to leave a comment if you have some additional suggestions to add to the list!