As a nation of dog lovers, our precious pups are like members of the family – big or small, we value the companionship that all dogs can provide. However, sometimes it’s easy to forget that dogs are not humans and our behaviour or the situations we’re in can have a different meaning for canines. On many occasions, when dogs have a change in their usual behaviour, it’s down to feeling anxious – as owners, it’s important that you’re aware of this so you can communicate to your dog that there is no threat, and keep them calm.
This blog will explain four common situations when your pup may feel nervous and how you can help.
When you’re out and about, you’re likely to come across passersby who want to pet your dog – I mean who can resist a cute dog? However, not all animals like to be touched by people they don’t know, and even those that do may react n an unexpected way if they’re approached differently. Encourage new people to pet your dog along the side of their body, as other areas such as the head can seem scary – you can then see how they react and if they seem nervous politely tell the person petting them to stop. And, if you want to pet someone else’s dog, you should get in the habit of asking their owner if it’s okay first.
Bustling roads and busy walkways can be overwhelming for humans, let alone our dogs. Remember, dogs are much smaller than us, meaning they are closer to the road, and therefore, the experience is a lot more intense. When crossing the road use a cheery tone and implement positive reinforcement once your dog has calmed down to show them you recognise what they’ve done. Never try and force your dog into these situations, instead, gradually build up to it by opening windows so they get used to the noises of cars and loud children, and take quieter routes so traffic can be seen at a distance without striking fear.
Fireworks and Thunder
It’s not uncommon for fireworks and stormy weather to leave dogs in a state of panic, but if you get prepared you can make the situation a lot less stressful for your pups. According to the RSPCA, dogs can be kept calm by creating a safe and quiet area for them in the home where they can feel in control – this area should include their bed and blanket, favourite toy and an item of your clothing could also make them less anxious. In the run-up to fireworks night, make sure you walk your dog during the day so you don’t risk being out when fireworks are being let off, keep windows and doors shut or speak to your vet about pheromone products that can make them feel calm.
Dogs are sociable animals who enjoy living alongside humans, so going to work or even popping out of the house can cause them stress. Signs that your dog is becoming distressed include shaking, increased breathing rate, panting and dribbling. If you have a puppy, help them get used to being alone for short periods as this will show them they have nothing to fear. Get in touch with your vet or a behavioural specialist who can inform you of other ways you can help your dog having separation anxiety.
Abbey Vet Centre, with locations in Grimsby, Immingham and Caistor, is the experienced veterinary practice you need. With a team of expert vets on hand to assess your animal, we’ll put your pet at ease and provide high-quality care that will keep your pet safe and healthy. Get in touch today for more information about our services.