Anxiety can greatly impact the health and well-being of dogs, making them stressed, miserable and more vulnerable to diseases. The resulting ‘bad’ behavior can interfere with a loving relationship, which may end with surrender to an animal shelter or euthanasia.
The Top 7 Types of Anxiety in Dogs
A study of 13,700 pet dogs in Finland has determined the most prevalent causes of their anxiety.
- Noise sensitivity (32%)
- Fear of surfaces and heights
- Separation related behaviour
”Due to the high prevalence of noise sensitivity and fear, they were the most common comorbidities,” says the research report, Prevalence, Comorbidity, and Breed Differences in Canine Anxiety in 13,700 Finnish Pet Dogs. “However, when comparing the relative risk, the largest risk ratios were seen between hyperactivity/inattention, separation related behaviour and compulsion, and between fear and aggression.
What is Comorbidity?
“In medicine, comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional conditions often co-occurring with a primary condition” explains Wikipedia. “Comorbidity describes the effect of all other conditions an individual patient might have, other than the primary condition of interest, and can be physiological or psychological. In the context of mental health, comorbidity often refers to disorders that are often coexistent with each other, such as depression and anxiety disorders.”
Natural Remedies for Anxiety in Dogs & Cats
Pet parents of anxious dogs have a full range of natural products available for them to try. It will probably take a little trial & error to find out which one works best for your dog.
You’ll need a professional diagnosis before deciding on a natural treatment plan. It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to make sure you don’t aggravate existing conditions and to avoid drug interactions.
Your vet will also eliminate or diagnose physical problems that may cause (or contribute to) anxiety, such as adrenal gland problems, vitamin deficiencies, parasites, chemical imbalances in the brain, and diseases such as cancer or diabetes.
Natural ‘remedies’ for anxiety in dogs may include:
- Dietary changes
- Herbs and their extracts, often found in combined solutions such as Stress Gold for Dogs.
- Essential oils and aromatherapy
- Flower essences
- CBD oil
- Homeopathic remedies
- Anti-anxiety products, such as the Thundershirt.
- Positive training
Learn more about these natural alternatives in our post, 7 Natural Remedies For Anxiety, Nervousness Or Fear In Dogs And Cats.
Anxiety-related traits varied among dog breeds, suggesting the answer may be preventative breeding by selection. Responsible breeders already use selective breeding practices to reduce undesirable traits, such as medical conditions or aggression. Modified breeding practices that focus on elimating anxiety-related behaviour, could significantly reduce the prevalence of anxiety in dogs.
”Anxious animals may suffer from chronic stress and thus, modified breeding policies could improve the welfare of our companion dogs,” concludes the study.
Dreschel, N. A. The effects of fear and anxiety on health and lifespan in pet dogs. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 125, 157–162 (2010).
Salonen, M., Sulkama, S., Mikkola, S. et al. Prevalence, comorbidity, and breed differences in canine anxiety in 13,700 Finnish pet dogs. Sci Rep 10, 2962 (2020).
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