Just like humans, dogs can suffer from anxiety. While mild forms of anxiety are rarely a cause for concern, serious anxiety can be detrimental to your dog’s overall health and happiness.
If you are looking for ways to treat your dog’s anxiety, we can help. We have provided this guide, which we believe will answer any questions you have about potential anxiety medications you can use to help keep your dog calm. While dog anxiety medication is not always the answer, it can help treat severe cases of anxiety.
As always, you can always schedule an appointment with a virtual vet if you have any questions about identifying anxiety issues or if you would like to know more about anti-anxiety medications that are safe for dogs.
What Does it Mean if Your Dog Follows You Excessively?
You may find that your dog is following you around everywhere you go. While this can seem somewhat flattering or like your dog just loves you, it can indicate an anxiety issue.
As it turns out, excessive following and fear to leave a particular individual’s side are some of the first signs of anxiety in animals.
One of the most common types of anxiety diagnosed in dogs is called separation anxiety, which occurs when a dog becomes anxious, stressed, and scared when they are not in the presence of their owner. Canine separation anxiety can lead to destructive behavior when the animal is left alone, such as ripping up carpets and baseboards but can also lead to more concerning behaviors, like self-trauma and generalized fear.
For more information, read our Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere? guide!
How Do Dogs Express Anxiety?
Just as in people, anxiety in dogs is very dependent on the individual. What causes a dog to feel anxious and how a dog expresses that anxiety is very different from one dog to another.
In some severe cases, anxiety can be so traumatizing to dogs that they find it extremely difficult to go outside for a walk or feel comfortable if their owner is out of sight for more than a few moments. If you feel as if this could be something that your dog is experiencing, a Hello Ralphie online veterinarian may be able to help. One of our virtual veterinarians will provide a behavior consultation and develop a custom plan to help treat your anxious dog.
How Can Hello Ralphie Help My Dog’s Anxiety?
One of our telemedicine consultations will be used to discuss possible treatment options for your dog. There is no one silver bullet for anxiety, it often requires a combination of treatments. These treatments could include training advice, tips you can use to create a less anxiety-inducing environment for your dog, and different anti-anxiety supplements and medications available to help dogs that suffer from a severe anxiety disorder.
Prescription Anxiety Medications for Dogs
Just because your dog suffers from anxiety does not mean it cannot lead a more normal life. Anti-anxiety medications in dogs act very similarly to those used to help people. They help your dog feel much less stressed overall so that they can continue to perform normal day-to-day activities without feeling scared, stressed, and anxious.
Many of the anti-anxiety medications used for dogs are only available with a prescription. They are usually an oral medication that is given once or twice per day. These are behavior-modifying drugs, which is why a veterinarian must prescribe them.
If you do not feel as if a prescription medication is the right route to treat your dog’s anxiety and prefer a more natural remedy, one of our virtual veterinarians can discuss alternative options with you as well. Some over-the-counter supplements can sometimes help with anxiety in dogs, but they tend to be less effective at treating the more severe cases.
Supplements, such as melatonin, have been used to treat anxiety and are available in most pharmacies and grocery stores. A Hello Ralphie veterinarian can discuss the proper use of melatonin, as well as the dose you can give your dog based on its size.
There are also numerous non-prescription products available through pet stores that you can use as anxiety treatment for dogs. Most of these products use pheromone therapy to reduce stress. An example is the Adaptil Collar, a collar infused with a calming pheromone, which helps calm and relax dogs. It is activated by the dog’s body heat which causes it to release a constant stream of a calming pheromone.
Another product that is available through most pet stores is the Thunder Shirt. The ThunderShirt operates in a similar way to a weighted blanket. Essentially, they are jackets that fit snugly around your dog, and it feels the sensation of comfort and safety during times of elevated stress, like thunderstorms and fireworks displays.
Speak with one of our virtual veterinarians for more information regarding these options by scheduling a Hello Ralphie online vet consultation today!
Diets for Anxiety Treatment
Alternatively, some medicated prescription diets are available that are proven to help reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. A Hello Ralphie online veterinarian can discuss this option with you and determine if it could be the right fit for your dog.
These diets are prescription-only, meaning that a veterinarian must diagnose anxiety in your dog before prescribing it. They contain many natural ingredients, such as milk-derived protein casein, proven to help regulate stress. Other ingredients used in these diets include the well-known protein tryptophan. Tryptophan is one of the proteins found in poultry, which causes people to experience sleepiness after eating it. It helps with anxiety and stress by stimulating the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that causes happiness. Increasing the levels of serotonin in your dog can help it feel happier and significantly less anxious.
What Else Can I Do to Help with My Dog’s Anxiety?
Oral prescription medications, anxiety-easing supplements, and diets formulated to treat anxiety can help lower your dog’s stress levels, but they are often not enough on their own.
Behavior modifying training can also go a long way towards helping your dog feel less anxious. Speak to one of our virtual veterinarians about seeing a behaviorist for your dog. Training can help desensitize your dog to things that could be triggering and causing its anxiety. Proper socialization and gentle exposure can help when it comes to treating anxiety.
For more information, read through our detailed Understanding Dog Anxiety guide!