For many pet owners, dealing with canine anxiety can feel like a full-time job. Micromanaging separation, new interactions, play dates, and exposure to stimuli can be exhausting, yet worth the emotional toll to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy. Commonly, dog anxiety medicines are prescribed by veterinarians to help control anxious behavior; yet, these medications are expensive and can have dangerous side effects. Here, alternatives to dog anxiety medicines will be discussed.
There are many reasons a pet may require dog anxiety medicines. These include:
If your dog was abused, attacked by another animal, or has a negative association with a traumatic experience, your pet may experience anxiety when encountering similar situations. For instance, a dog that was attacked by a Chihuahua as a puppy may be fearful of all Chihuahuas they encounter in the future.
Certain breeds are naturally more anxious than others. The dog breeds most likely to suffer from separation anxiety include Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shorthaired Pointers, among others. Breeds that are most prone to depression and anxiety include Border Collies, Bassett Hounds, and Cocker Spaniels.
Socialization, which includes introducing your dog to as many new experiences as possible, is important because it helps dogs create coping mechanisms for stressful situations. Without proper socialization, dogs can feel anxious when exposed to new stimuli, which can cause them to react aggressively or to show signs of distress, such as pacing, whining, barking, lunging, growling, and avoidance. Dogs that lack socialization are often prescribed dog anxiety medicines for disorders such as noise anxiety or situational anxiety.
The most commonly prescribed dog anxiety medicines include:
Anxiety medications should never be given to dogs without a prescription or without veterinarian supervision. There are many considerations to make when determining which dog anxiety medicines are best for your pet, such as the dog’s symptoms, pre-existing conditions, duration of treatment, and potential side effects.
Not all dogs are good candidates for dog anxiety medicines. Reasons to avoid anti-anxiety meds for dogs include severe side effects (lethargy/sedation, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, etc.), cost, the need for regular bloodwork to monitor organ function, and the fact that medication is sometimes a band-aid and not a cure for a fixable problem.
Chronic inflammation can create or worsen anxiety in pets and is caused by disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, allergies, chronic stress, and serious injury. The link between anxiety and inflammation can manifest in several ways. For instance, inflammation in the gut can interact with signals to the brain, causing stress and anxiety for the dog. Inflammation can also cause pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, which can create fear and anxiety for the pet. Finally, chronic inflammation can create physiological signs of stress, such as a racing heart, which makes the pet mistakenly believe a threat exists.
Reducing chronic inflammation can create a calmer mind and fewer behavioral problems in dogs. Ways to reduce systemic inflammation include:
Stress causes inflammation in a dog’s body due to cortisol production. Even if the stress is good stress, such as a car ride, dogs can experience inflammation from too much cortisol production. Common sources of stress include separation, loud noises, resource guarding, veterinary appointments, grooming appointments, new stimuli, play dates, car rides, exploring new places, and interactions with household animals. Identifying what types of activities create stress for your dog and reducing or eliminating them from your pet’s day to day life can greatly reduce anxious behaviors.
Sometimes pet owners don’t know what causes chronic stress and inflammation in dogs and finding the root cause can be a long process. Providing your dog a natural anti-inflammatory is a great solution to chronic inflammation because it addresses the root cause of the symptoms without the side effects of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
WINPRO Focus utilizes the power of animal blood proteins to fight inflammation naturally and without side effects. The proprietary K-Thrive Formula D blend found in WINPRO Focus contains science-backed animal blood proteins that go straight to the source to alleviate inflammation in the dog’s body. In addition to animal blood proteins, WINPRO Focus contains taurine and theanine which help reduce anxiety and promote mental calmness, all without drowsiness. WINPRO products are fast and effective, and many pet owners report improvement of symptoms within days of first use. Unlike other supplements, WINPRO Focus can be used alone or in conjunction with dog anxiety medicines without adverse effects.
When a dog has a specific fear, such as new people, objects, or unfamiliar dogs, a trainer that specializes in socialization can help. Socialization training involves slowly introducing your pet to new stimuli and teaching them, through positive reinforcement, that these objects/people/animals are not scary. Socialization also helps your pet develop coping mechanisms for dealing with stress to minimize the cortisol response. Since socialization can take a long time, this form of training may be performed in conjunction with dog anxiety medications and/or WINPRO Focus soft chews.
The quality of the food you feed your pet is important – especially given the relatively short lifespan of a dog. Preservatives, fillers, food dyes, and low-quality ingredients can all cause inflammation in dogs. Additionally, many dogs that are suffering from inflammation and anxiety have undiagnosed food allergies or sensitivities. The most common allergens for dogs are meat proteins, soy, dairy, and eggs. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet as well as certain amino acids, such as taurine and theanine that are already found in WINPRO Focus, can also help minimize your dog’s inflammation levels.
Ultimately, minimizing chronic inflammation in a dog’s body is a useful way to mitigate anxiety, particularly because up to 70% of canine aggression can be linked to anxiety in dogs. Maintaining a low-stress environment, feeding an anti-inflammatory diet, and reducing inflammation naturally with the animal blood proteins found in WINPRO Focus can lessen a dog’s reliance on dog anxiety medicines.