Anxiety in older dogs.
Older dogs can develop anxiety due to a number of reasons. As they get older, they may find it harder to adapt to daily life. The main cause for anxiety is suffering and pain caused by joint problems like arthritis, or neurological diseases, which affect the nervous system.
Mobility problems might make your older dog cautious of being handled. Things like sight and hearing loss can be very distressing, causing dogs to rely on their owners. They begin losing their independence, so being away from their owners often causes separation anxiety in older dogs.
Changes in environment
This can also a cause anxiety in older dogs, who have gotten used to the same daily routine. Being taken out of one environment and put into a new one will make them feel very unsafe and insecure.
Dementia can be another reason for older dogs to become anxious. It’s found in dogs as well as humans. If your dog develops dementia they will become very confused, daily routines will seem hard for them they will not have any sense of time. This often ruins their sleep pattern and toilet training. Consequently. They become very frustrated and restless.
A lack of exercise can cause your dog a lot of anxiety. Being closed and trapped indoors all day is not ideal for any dog. Senior dogs still need their exercise to maintain a healthy and balanced life.
As our dogs get older it is very important to provide them with the right food and enough exercise. Keeping your older dog socialised is very important too, so that they can keep their brain stimulated and enjoy being around other dogs.
Owners find it hard to cope
Owners can find it very stressful when their beloved elderly dog becomes anxious. They may find themselves limited doing normal things and scared to make changes (e.g. holidays, new pets and children may add stress to your older dog).
From experience we tend to become more sensitive ourselves as our dogs become old and ill we dread thinking about life without them , seeing them stressed and anxious can be heart breaking. All we can do is make our lovely old pals are as comfortable as possible, and support them in their old age.
What to do if your older dog develops anxiety.
If your dog is getting older and is showing signs of anxiety, it is advised to take a trip to the vet and examine your dog to eliminate any health conditions. If your dog is suffering from a medical condition, they may need treatment to make them feel more comfortable and relieve their symptoms.
Once you have ruled out any medical issues, you might want to look at the behavioural side of things. Getting a dog behaviourist to come and make an assessment on your dog’s anxiety may help, they should be able to give you some advice and training tips.
There are many natural remedies and treatments available for dogs with anxiety. They range from natural oils, thunder jackets helping your dog feel secure again, to providing them with a calming peaceful place to relax. Put your dog in a quiet low lit room, use a blanket and wrap your dog up, this will work a similar way to the thunder jacket. Also using calming music to relax your dog until they fall asleep will also help.
A new stress reliever for your dog is a massage, there are several canine massage therapists throughout the country. Acupuncture has also been shown to help dogs suffering with anxiety. Acupuncture involves insertion of needles into body tissue where the nerves bundle and blood vessels come together. This promotes the body to heal itself and relieves any aches or pains your dog may be suffering from.
Another good therapy for dogs with anxiety is swimming or hydrotherapy. When dogs exercise, they release and flush toxins out of their body. Exercise helps distract the brain and keep the body busy reducing stress.