Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dog Anxiety Remedies

A few weeks ago I posted a plea on facebook for advice re: Andi’s sudden fear of wind. Yes, wind. Any kind of breeze, any noise caused by wind, any creaking caused by the slight sway of branches causes her to completely lose her mind and do insane things including but not limited to: attempting to dig out of the apartment (see: scratched wood floors), chewing the LOCK OFF THE FRONT DOOR (see: no security deposit return), chugging water until she throws up, running around the house panting and shaking, pacing for hours (again, wood floors + dog pacing = no sleep for anyone). Here is the advice I got and tried:

1. The Thundershirt: I ordered this for Andi and my review is so-so. She calms down a little bit for awhile when she has it on and is definitely a little more subdued. When I came home from work on a particularly windy day last week the balcony door had been left open, meaning there was wind in the apartment (Andi’s worst nightmare), and there was no visible damage to the apartment. She always shakes when I leave for work, so I have been trying it out for that but she still shakes. If you’re ordering a Thundershirt for your dog I definitely suggest ordering through their website because they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back, so if it doesn’t work you get a full refund.

2. Lavender Oil or Spray: My friend told me they put lavender oil on their dog’s food, on her fur and on her bed and it has a great calming affect. I even read that vets sometimes diffuse lavender oil in their offices and waiting rooms to calm dogs. It also comes in a spray that you can pretty much use anywhere.

3. EXERCISE: I check every day to see if there is any possibility of wind. When there is, I take Andi out the night before for an extra long walk or run (usually 2-3 miles) and take her to a field where she can kick it into 5th gear. The goal is to get her so tired that she sleeps through the wind. This doesn’t work 100%, but it definitely helps.

4. Doggy Day Care: Same idea as a #3, dogs can get so worn out at doggy daycare that they don’t have the energy to be scared. Doggy Daycare isn’t in my budget this year, but definitely keeping it in mind for the future. In DC? Here's what I found for DC doggy day cares

5. Desensitizing: I did some reading on desensitizing dogs to the things that scare them. This article from WebMD has some good tips. This is a tough one to do with wind, I guess I could bring in a huge fan for a day and work on this haha? The video above shows a vacuum cleaner example with tips. PS youtube has tons of dog training resources- I'm going to try this for leash pulling and this for separation anxiety (I know she's a mess. Really it's not her it's me).  

This is Andi at the vet. Look at that mean mug. #dramaqueen
6. Get Checked for Ear Infections: If dogs suddenly become scared of noises that didn’t bother them before, it could be an ear infection or something else that is easily solved by the vet. Definitely worth looking into, plus the vet could have some good ideas for your dog and breed. See the picture above for how much Andi loves going to the vet.

7. Meds: This is my last resort. If we get into the new house and Andi’s situation doesn’t improve (I’m hoping not being on the 7th floor of an old building will make wind less scary?), we are going to try this out. I have a lot of friends whose dogs take Valium and other anti-anxiety meds so it is indeed a thing.

What do you do for your dog's anxiety? Have you heard of anything that works??

And a bonus: DOG GIFS!



    1. interesting - i dont have a dog, but i will keep this in mind when we get one! one of my cats loves the outside (in my arms only, we dont let them go) and the other is fine unless there is wind. so maybe i'll try some of these things on her, lol

    2. All the doggie gifs make me so happy. My dog has separation anxiety. I had to get her another dog. lol.

    3. Andy is a beauty! Thanks for these tips. Scout has a horribel time with thunderstorms! This is something he just developed and he'll be 5 on the 16th!!

      ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

    4. Aw. Poor Pup!

      We had a neurotic Boston Terrier... we just learned to love his quirks!
      We called him "special" a lot.

      You have to let me know what worked on calming down your furbaby

    5. When I saw your post I did wonder if you meant a dog that had anxiety or a person who was afraid of dogs (me, raising hands here. I had to stop walking the neighborhood because some people were just letting their dogs run.) My poor son had horrible anxiety over wind though! It was a couple years ago and we tried desensitization, therapy and finally did turn to some medication. He's off it now, but as the Spring storms come, I am very aware of his fears hitting again. I hung a blanket over his bedroom window to block out any visual of the wind, it helps a little with sound too. Sometimes I'd put headphones on him and have him watch a show on the Ipad to try and distract him. I guess dogs are even harder to reason with than children!

    6. So cool. My dog lives with my parents and I am convinced he is anxious because of trauma in the past (I rescued him while he still should have been nursing from his mum, he was a runt and abandoned and we found him). He is a gorgeous dog but noone ever told me about puppy anxiety. What exactly does the vest do though? I wouldn't want it to restrain him from being a carefree pup that's why I'm asking.

    7. That thundercoat thing. I was going to buy that for my dog. I was also just telling one of my coworkers about that yesterday. My dog has bad anxiety.I feel like she gets it from me.

    8. Yay for dog tips! Our dog, Kaos, is still in her first year and she's quite a handful so any tips on training, pet care, etc. are super helpful for me!

      ♥ Duckie.

    9. Lavender oil works well for everyone :-)

    10. I have heard great things about Rescue Remedy. They make it for animals and for people! Similar to the lavender oil, you can put it on the dog's food, water, fur, etc.


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