Dogs have very sharp senses that help them survive, but that awareness can also make them develop fears and phobias.
While some breeds are more prone to suffer from anxiety, the majority of phobias in dogs are due to negative experiences.
Today, we'll talk about the most common fear and phobias in dogs and how to help your canine friend overcome these:
Thunder: Dog hearing is three times more sensitive than ours. That's why these are one of the most common fears in dogs.
Recent studies have found that thunderstorms also alter the atmosphere, releasing a large amount of static electricity into the air. Dogs experience this static as a tingling throughout their hair coat and may even receive multiple shocks before the storm lifts.
If you know that a storm is coming and you aren't going to be home, try to take your pup to a basement, bathtub or any enclosed space.
Those places tend to have less static electricity and will help your pup feel safer.
If you are home during the thunderstorm, make sure to hug your canine friend and to talk to them in a calm voice. Sounds simple, but it helps in most cases.
Fireworks: A 2013 study by the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences found fireworks to be the number one trigger for fearful behavior in dogs. Not only because they are extremely loud, but they also cause frightening odors and visual effects.
What to do?
Comfort Fido, give him all the love and all the cuddles until he starts to calm down.
Car Rides: Cars are big, loud and they move way too fast. In addition, a lot of pups develop motion sickness during road trips. So, it's pretty obvious why a lot of dogs aren't fans.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between car sickness and true vehicle anxiety so you need to address both. Desensitization training and anti-anxiety medications are helpful for fearful pups, but motion sickness is a bit more complicated.
Protect your dog from nausea in the car by restraining him with a seatbelt or a crate. Cracking a window in order to balance the air pressure inside the vehicle also helps.
But, if nothing seems to work, try withholding food for several hours before a drive.
The Vet: Who doesn't feel nervous in a place where they poke you, touch you too much and they do a ton of scary medical things on you? If it's a lot for you, imagine how it is for your dog, who doesn't understand why this is happening.
If your dog is terrified of vet visits, try stopping by for non-medical visits. Plan ahead so the staff knows you are coming and ask them to love on your pup, play with him, and offer his favorite treats.
A few of these “happy visits,” will hopefully teach your dog that the vet staff is not out to get him!
Being Alone: Several factors can trigger separation anxiety in dogs including abandonment, the death of a previous owner, moving to a new home, or experiencing a drastic change in their schedule or lifestyle.
Separation anxiety often shows with destructive behaviors every time you leave the house.
Since you can't stop going to work because your dog has separation anxiety, we recommend that you seek the help of a dog trainer.
They will help you understand your pup better and give you the tools to help him through it. It takes time, but it will be worth it.
Strangers: Dogs are social animals so it is quite rare for them to be frightened of all humans unless they have been severely abused or neglected. However, the fear of specific humans is a prevalent phobia in dogs.
Like separation anxiety, nervousness around strangers can be an inherited trait, but research shows proper socialization can overcome genetics. Even adult rescue dogs can become well socialized with a bit of extra effort.
Phobias in dogs are a serious issue that can cause aggression, destructive behavior, and a decreased quality of life.
If your dog is suffering from a fear of any of these or any other common stimuli, contact your veterinary or a professional trainer.
If nothing seems to make your precious furry friend feel better, try giving him tasty some CBD. This might help Fido feel a bit more relaxed during stressful situations.