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Dealing With Canine Anxiety
Posted on : 03/13/2015 07:17:51 PM

As parents, we hope our children will live long, fulfilling lives free from pain or chronic illness. That sentiment extends to our four-legged children too. Naturally, new parents are unfailingly optimistic. After all, who ever anticipates her children will be less than perfect?

With the growing number of animals in humane societies and rescues, adoption is an excellent way to find a new family pet. However, most shelter animals do not come with medical documentation or known histories. A dog that may initially seem to be fun loving and healthy may turn out to have anxiety or fear once he settles down in the household. Behaviors such as panting, barking, or pacing may seem trivial at first, but they may be early indications of something insidious.

Correct Bad Behavior with Professional Training

Dogs demand discipline and structure. Without some sense of order in her life, a dog will begin to act out, and bad behaviors will be reinforced through an owner’s inaction or neglect. Anxious or fearful dogs that are left to their unruliness tend to worsen their mental illnesses, leaving their owners to wonder what went wrong.

If you suspect your pup has behavioral issues due to anxiety, enroll her in an obedience class. It will be the first—perhaps, best—step toward correcting unwanted behavior.

Choosing to Medicate

If your little one is not responding to training, he should be taken to your veterinarian. The vet will examine your pup to determine his overall health. Blood and urine analyses may be required to rule out any physical diseases that might be responsible for stress. If medication becomes a viable option, please proceed with caution.

For anxiety, fluoxetine (Prozac) is the standard. Though usually prescribed for depression, fluoxetine has anti-anxiety properties. Sedatives, such as the benzodiazepines Xanax or Valium, can also be successfully used to calm or quell anxiety.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to medicate your dog without consulting your veterinarian first.

Keep Yourself Informed

Anxiety manifests itself in subtle or severe ways, and may be brought on by any number of factors. Patience and understanding, on your part, is key. Knowing how to recognize anxiety is invaluable. Take advantage of the myriad resources out there on the Internet. By doing your due diligence, you could potentially save yourself and your pup a lot of heartache and frustration.
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