Recognizing Fear, Anxiety and Stress in Your Dog


Most certainly if you have an anxious dog, sometimes you know it. Sometimes, though, it may not be a clear as you think. I offer some telltale signs of fear, anxiety and stress.

As one example, did you know yawning might mean your dog is tired (same as we yawn to increase oxygen), or even boredom – but as likely might be a sign of stress.

Fear Free is an initiative which, for one thing, simply offers good information to pet owners. However, much of what is offered is specifically targeted at lowering fear, anxiety and stress. Learn more at Fear Free Happy Homes.

For example one “easy win” is to plug in an Adaptil diffuser. Adaptal is a copy of a pheromone found in a mother’s dog milk which helps to calm/soothe, ultimately helping a dog feel more comfortable in his or her own environment. 

Other ideas include two nutraceuticals:

Solliquin: L-theanine, an amino acid found naturally in green tea which stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, supporting relation and mental awareness.

Zentrol  (formerly named Harmonease): A non-sedating, non-pharmaceutical formulation for natural stress management and alleviation of fear behaviors in dogs associated with boarding, traveling, separation anxiety, etc.

Studies have now demonstrated that music can help calm dogs (and cats)…..There’s even a preferred play list. Check out icalm pet (new 4.0 edition now available; cost varies depending on purchase).  Mostly studies confirm that it’s classical or calming music you may expect. However, one study demonstrate reggae music is the most calming to dogs, likely giving Marley and me and entirely new meaning.

Distraction/play can take your mind off whatever is worrying your dog. And Vitabone Inspired treat or any treat your dog loves may help. After all if you dog is having fun, your dog can’t simultaneously be anxious.

If you feel you need help, you just might. Contact a veterinary behaviorist or a certified dog behavior consultant. 









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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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