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Maggie Tails: Three treatments for dog anxiety

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Culture & Entertainment

Maggie Tails: Three treatments for dog anxiety

After reading this headline you're probably thinking I'm crazy to say my dog, Maggie Mae, has anxiety. But I'm not some crazy dog lady, your pet can have anxiety. The Canadian Veterinarian Pet Association states that dogs, like humans, have phobias and can develop anxiety whenever faced with that fear. Many dogs are afraid of thunder and lightening. Other dogs have separation anxiety. An anxious dog often pants, shakes, hides or pees. Thankfully Maggie doesn't pee when she gets anxious, but there's a lot of panting. Maggie's anxiety comes out whenever she has to go in the car. This is a problem for her because she loves going up to the cottage, evident from the photo above. But she can't go for long boat rides unless she first braves the two-hour car ride. She actually dislikes the car so much she will sit down on the grass, hoping her 80 pounds of weight will be too heavy for you to lift into the car. Unfortunately for her it's not and she goes through two hours of pacing and panting. This is hard to do if you're a large dog cooped up in the back-seat. And it's unpleasant for the driver because she pants in their ear—two hours of hot dog breath, oh joy. We've tried lots of things to help Maggie with her car anxiety. We've brought water. We got her a pillow, thinking she couldn't get comfortable. We even give her a window seat so she can look at all the cars. Nothing helps. So after talking to our family vet, we've discovered three remedies for anxious dogs. 1. Thundershirt Clearly, Maggie isn't a fan of her Thundershirt. But it works! Thundershirts are a great investment for anxious pets because the shirt tightly wraps around them,  like a calming hug. The shirt doesn't complete eliminate Maggie's anxiety, but it definitely helps. And they're available for anxious cats too. 2. Dog appeasing pheromones Along with Maggie's Thundershirt, we spray a dog appeasing pheromone in the car. Our vet recommended we try this spray because it smells like a dog's mother's milk, which has a calming effect. Weirdly it works and has a very appealing smell to humans too. Ask your vet which pheromone spray they recommend for your dog's anxiety. 3. Beneadryl We haven't gotten to the point where we need to drug Maggie to get her through a car ride. The combination of the shirt and spray seems to calm her enough to get her to lie down for most of the trip. But our vet has suggested we try sedating her with some Benedryl. Before you do this you should call your vet to get the right dosage for your dog's size. I'm hoping Maggie can manage her anxiety without this, but when she's shaking and looking at me with her sweet eyes, I can't help but think "Give this poor thing some drugs!" Hopefully these tips help you calm your anxious pet. Do you have an anxious pet? Share your stories with us.   
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Maggie Tails: Three treatments for dog anxiety

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