Anxiety in dogs: How you can prevent it and how we help
This Mental Health Awareness Week we are raising awareness about anxiety in dogs. Although our dogs bring us so much joy, they too can suffer mentally and emotionally, just like humans can.
What is dog anxiety?
Anxiety is an unpleasant apprehensive feeling of nervous anticipation about something that might, or might not, happen. This is why most dogs will benefit from a general daily routine, because being able to predict what is happening around, or to, them and when, can help them to feel safe and secure.
Life can present lots of challenges to our beloved pet dogs – for example there are times when they might need to spend short periods all by themselves, times when they experience loud, unexpected and unexplainable noises, or times when we might not be able to give them the attention they would like. If a dog isn’t sure how to cope with this, they might become worried and distressed. Prolonged anxiety can also result in stress-related illness and poor physical health.
How to prevent anxiety in your dog
It’s important to help our dogs learn to cope when things don’t happen as they expect, however just like us dogs are individuals, and some dogs are likely to find this more challenging. Fortunately, we’re here to help them out and grow in confidence.
At our Dog Schools, we teach lots of ways to prevent dogs from developing anxiety, equipping dogs with vital skills for all sorts of situations, and ultimately less overall anxiety. We also have some fun training ideas for you to try out at home.
How we help
As well as running Dog School classes to help equip dogs to deal with challenges they might face, some of our dogs currently looking for their forever homes have issues with anxiety. Our Training and Behaviour Advisors will work closely with the dogs to help teach them to cope, but this can take time so we will need to work with their new owners to continue their training.
This week we are putting a spotlight on some of our dogs with anxiety who are currently looking for forever homes. Despite their sensitive or nervous nature, these wonderful dogs will still be the most fantastic and loving pets.
Gorgeous boy Freddie is a very shy boy with a sweet, sensitive heart. He gets anxiety when around doorways, busy areas and traffic.
As he is such a sensitive boy, he is looking for a forever home with another dog to help boost his confidence. His ideal new home would be calm and quiet and he can live with children who are over 16. He is a very loving boy and wants to make friends, but everything needs to be done at his pace and he should not be rushed. Freddie is currently living in a foster home, so please call the Darlington Rehoming Centre before visiting.
Jake is a 5-year-old American Bulldog who, despite his size, is a worried soul and quite insecure. He can suffer with anxiety when in new situations and surroundings. H e does enjoy the company of other dogs, so would benefit with socialisation with dogs on his walks. The team at Dogs Trust Loughborough have worked closely with him and are beginning to see improvements!
Jake would like to be the only pet in the home and new owners should keep in mind that he is a big, strong dog. Jake lives in a quieter area of the Loughborough Centre that visitors can't access, so get in touch with the centre first before visiting.
Clever Trevor is a handsome 4-year-old Crossbreed who is looking for a quiet but active adult only home with owners who are experience in working with dogs who suffer from anxiety.
He loves learning new things and using his nose to find a tasty treat. Trevor loves interacting with dogs so would want to live with another dog in his new home. Trevor is also deaf so will need extra support from his new owners to help him with his training. He loves playing off lead and chasing a toy around so would need a secure garden.
Tyra, a beautiful 11-year-old Jack Russell, suffers with separation anxiety. She was originally handed over to us as she was being left for 18-24 hours at a time which has now led to her anxiety troubles. However, she really is an amazing dog, full of fun and loves to chase a ball or squeaky toy.
She is super friendly and happy when she meets new people and is housetrained. She loves going out for long walks and would love to have a secure garden to play and sunbathe in. Tyra can live with children aged 10 and over, but would prefer to be the only pet in the home. Tyra is living in a foster home, so get in touch with the Glasgow Rehoming Centre for more information.
Sweet Meg is a very loving Labrador who came into our care last month after her owner sadly passed away. Since then, she has suffered with anxiety and is looking for a forever home that can offer her consistency, predictability and stability.
She's a very a affectionate girl who loves to sit by your side at night, and adores human company. Meg has previously lived with rabbits, but she has some anxiety around other dogs. Lots of support will be available from our training team to help manage this at home. Meg can live with children over the age of 14.
Meet Jess, a 4-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross Husky. Lovely Jess is very friendly and a big softie, who loves getting lots of attention. However, she can get a little worried and anxious when she is left alone so she is looking for an owner who is home most of the time to keep her company.
Jess prefers to keep all the attention on herself, so would like to be the only dog in her new home. She would like a secure garden to play in and access to quieter walks where there are not too many other dogs. She absolutely loves travelling in the car and is very happy to curl up next to you on the sofa for lots of cuddles and belly rubs.
Going to his forever home this week: Benji
Gorgeous greyhound Benji has been with Dogs Trust for two years, and we are absolutely thrilled that he is going to his forever home this week.
When Benji came to Dogs Trust Newbury, he had very little knowledge of the world – he hadn’t even seen a collar or a lead – so understandably he could become quite anxious in new situations. The training team have been working with him to prepare him for his forever home, starting from the basics of introducing a collar and a lead so he could go on walks. He’s now completed all his training and is off to his new home. His new owners have worked closed with our team to build up trust with Benji and we can’t wait for him to relax and enjoy his home comforts and a life of fun.
We provide lifelong post-adoption behavioural support for all our rehomed dogs, but if you ever feel that your dog is behaving in a way that you feel uncomfortable about, please do seek help. Start with a vet check first to rule out any medical components and then contact a behaviourist.
How else we are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week
Homeless people are nearly twice as likely as the general population to experience mental health problems. We support homeless dog owners through our Hope Project by funding vet treatment and encouraging hostels to accept dogs.