Mental health has become a hot topic as more and more research has been released, detailing the harmful effects of stress and anxiety in humans. However, you should know that mental health isn’t just restricted to humans. It also plays an important role for man’s best friends: our dogs.
Anxiety and panic can have a dire impact on our dogs as well. You might not realize it, but your dog is likely to get stressed in different situations. For example, if a stranger visits your house or if there are firecrackers outside, your dog is likely to get stressed and scared. More importantly, you should know that dogs suffer from separation anxiety as well.
Understanding Anxiety and Stress in Dogs
In animals, stress usually comes from their survival instincts. It’s the same for humans too. When you know that the situation is stacked against you and you have a feeling that it could cause harm, you automatically become stressed. It’s simply your mind and body telling you to get out of that situation.
The dog’s instincts work in a similar manner. If the threat poses a real and potential danger, such as an aggressive dog confronting your animal, it could create a fight or flight response. On the other hand, in most cases, the threat is mostly a figment of the dog’s imagination. It could be firecrackers, or the ringing of a bell.
Dogs are creatures of habit, so even a minuscule change in their daily routine could trigger stress in the animal. Understanding the potential causes of stress and anxiety in your dog can help you treat the problem in a much more effective manner. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it will be difficult to treat the problem.
Common Causes of Anxiety
There are some pretty common triggers that can lead to your dog becoming visibly stressed. For instance, loud noises caused by fireworks or thunderstorms, or even car horns are a problem. Dogs like quiet and calm, and these loud noises will definitely trigger them.
Secondly, if you move your dog to an unfamiliar environment, such as a boarding kennel or simply move to a new house, you will notice the animal stressing out for a few days. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is a visit to the vet. Dogs hate going to the vet, and many animals also hate car rides.
It takes a while for them to understand that cars aren’t harmful. Bringing new people or other pets in the house, especially near the dog, is also likely to trigger stress and anxiety in the animal. Visual changes, such as its owner growing a beard or changing their hairstyle, could also cause anxiety.
Anxiety as a Result of Age
You should know that animals tend to experience anxiety as a result of their age as well. As your dog grows older, you will realize that their anxiety will continue to increase. Many experts think of it as a similarly progressive condition such as Alzheimer’s, which affects humans. As your dog grows older, its memory and perception are going to decline.
Dogs usually tend to suffer from separation anxiety. If the dog is excessively dependent on its owners and likes to spend most of its time with its owners, you should know that it is going to get incredibly anxious and stressed when it is left alone. This usually happens when the owner leaves for work.
Separation anxiety is a serious problem and can cause your animal to lash out as well. When dogs are left alone, they often start chewing on furniture and can wreak havoc in the house. It’s their way of trying to gain attention. That is why you should consider giving them some of the best calming treats for dogs.
What Are Calming Treats?
Calming treats are simply nonmedical treats that contain ingredients that will help bring down the anxiety levels in your dog. These are ideal for tackling stressful situations, and you don’t have to worry about any harmful side effects caused due to drugs as well. Most of these treats are made using vitamins and herbs, so you will know that you are only giving all-natural things to your dog.
If you are looking for calming treats for your dog, there are several important things that you need to keep in mind. First of all, you need to look for some common ingredients. These are the ingredients that are going to result in a calming effect and bring your dog’s temper down. Here are some of the key ingredients that you should look out for.
Melatonin: Melatonin is a natural hormone that is used primarily for aiding in sleep. Calming treats that contain melatonin will make your dog a bit drowsy.
Chamomile: Chamomile is a type of plant that is used for making teas. It’s been used for eons as an aid for bringing about a calming effect.
Hemp oil: Hemp oil is extracted from the cannabis plant. There is considerable research that has shown how effective it is for treating anxiety in both animals and dogs.
L-tryptophan: This is an amino acid that helps in improving sleep.
L-theanine: This is another amino acid that considerably promotes relaxation and greatly improves sleep quality.
Valerian root: Valerian root is a very common ingredient that is used in natural herbs and many other supplements. The Valerian root greatly improves relaxation.
Passion flower: Passion flower is a kind of plant that reduces brain activity, and ultimately helps in bringing down stress. This greatly promotes relaxation as well.
These are the main ingredients that you should look for when buying calming treats.
How to Buy Calming Treats
Ideally, you should look for calming treats that do not contain any GMOs. All-natural ingredients are the best choice and they should also not contain any preservatives or additives. As long as you are able to find something that’s all natural, you will be able to make your dog feel more relaxed and calm within a short while.
It might be a wise idea to first talk to your vet and figure out whether giving calming treats is a good idea or not. More importantly, you should also talk to the vet about the frequency with which you should give these treats. Don’t constantly feed the dog these treats if you think it’s too hyper!