September 09, 2019 4 min read

An all too popular way of thinking about dogs is that they are here for us. The phrase “Man’s best friend” is spoken in such a way that many people consider them complementary for our lives and not the other way around. And while it is true that thousands of regular household dogs do help their owners, just like service dogs do, there are many dogs that need our help in order to live comfortable lives.

For many pet owners, dog anxiety is a big problem in their households. Rescued dogs, as well as adopted and purebred dogs, suffer from dog anxiety for any number of reasons. In the case of rescued dogs, they may have endured abuse or a difficult environment while growing up, which in turn encouraged fear, anxiety, and bad behaviors. For other dogs, anxiety could simply be genetic, in the same way that many people are more predisposed to experience the ailment than others.

In either case, there are things we can do in our homes to make our dogs’ lives easier. Fearful dog rehabilitation is not something that is exclusive to veterinary practices. With proper habits and planning, all pet owners can turn their animals’ lives around for the better and encourage feelings of calm and safety. We’ll get it into it below.

Pet Rehabilitation - How to Reduce Anxiety in Rescued Dogs

Pet anxiety & pet rehabilitation

The reasons for pet anxiety are numerous. As mentioned earlier, the cause can be environmental or it can be genetic. For rescued or adopted dogs, it may be that their previous owners were abusive or ignorant. With these dogs, you’ll notice their fear and anxiety almost immediately. Often, when they are first adopted, they display reclusive behaviors, are afraid of being touched, and are generally unsociable.

The first step in dog rehabilitation in these cases is to be patient. Dog owners have to understand that their pets may have had difficult early life experiences that scarred them. These dogs need time in order to understand they are now in a safe space, with people around them who won’t swarm them for attention. Of course, it is always difficult to restrain yourself from playing with an animal you adore, but with anxious dogs, it is a must.

The ultimate goal in fearful dog rehabilitation is to develop not just an amicable pet, but a loving household where all members feel safe and secure. Remember, one possible behavior scared animals may exhibit is sudden aggressive behavior. The last thing you want is to have your dog strike out without warning, nipping your fingers or those of any children in the house. In that sense, rehabilitation is just as much about you as it is about your pet.

Dog Rehabilitation - How to Reduce Dog Anxiety in Rescued Dogs

Pet anxiety fixes

Make your pet feel acknowledged:

When we say you ought to acknowledge your dog, we don’t mean that you should play with him or her all day. We mean you should acknowledge its fears and issues, and prepare yourself to make things better for your dog. It is also a good idea to keep the dog within your field of sight, that way you know what they’re getting up to, and they know that you know. It is vital that you and your dog develop this bond early on. They need to understand that they depend on you, and you need to reinforce that.

Learn your dog’s body language

All dogs have different ways of expressing themselves. Often, the tell-tale signs include the way they arch their back, hold their tail, make eye contact, etc. Since your dog is unable to directly communicate the way they’re feeling, it is extremely important that you get to know their body language so that the two of you are on the same page emotionally. It shouldn’t be a secret how the dog is feeling. This is a recipe for problems.

Develop a shared interest

Obviously you and your dog won’t be going to the movies together any time soon. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t take specific walks together, whether that means on the streets, on a playground, or through a local state or national park. The sooner your dog understands that you have a genuine interest in doing things for them, the sooner they will acclimate to their environment and lose their anxiety. Remember not to try and make your dog become the dog you imagined before meeting them; let your dog be who he or she is, and adapt to that.

Make use of herbs and medicines

There are a number of herbs that are known to ease dog anxiety. Some of these include chamomile, valerian root, and St. John’s Wort. These are safe, herbal sedatives that are well-known to have a mild to moderate ameliorative effect on people and dogs with anxiety and depression. For dosing, we recommend contacting your trusted veterinarian.

Perhaps the best natural product known to decrease dog anxiety and aid in pet rehabilitation is CBD oil. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound is a new alternative to pharmaceutical products, and more and more it is being turned to as an easy and consequence-free tonic for ailments like anxiety, chronic pain, fatigue, arthritis, dizziness, asthma, seizures, and more. We won’t go as far as calling it a miracle tonic, but as far as all-natural substances go, it is right up there. CBD oil and other products work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating animals’ moods via serotonin. This is the same pathway by which SSRI antidepressants work, but the difference here is, CBD is all-natural and without any negative side effects.

If you have a dog or cat with pet anxiety and need help finding a way to bring your pet back to happiness, contact King Kanine for advice regarding the most effective CBD oils and products.