How to Treat Dogs With Anxiety

chin down anxious dog fluffy face

It can be easy to assume that dogs don’t have a care in the world, but that is certainly not the case for all of them; plenty of pups can become anxious for a variety of reasons, and there are even some that are just generally anxious most of the time. Not only is that hard on them, but it can be just as stressful, trying, and even heartbreaking for their owners as well. 

Fortunately, there are ways to address anxiety issues in dogs: Some involve training or conditioning, some involve useful anti-anxiety products, and others include medication. In any case, if you’re looking to help your nervous pet feel more comfortable, have a look at the following comprehensive guide to treating anxiety in dogs.

What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that there are, indeed, many reasons why a dog may become anxious. These causes can typically be sorted into three major categories, which are as follows:


Fear-based anxiety can come from all kinds of places. Two of the most common triggers are thunderstorms and fireworks, but many other things, like strangers, other animals, car rides, and vet visits, can cause a dog’s anxiety to spike out of fear.


Certain dogs can become nervous and uncomfortable when left alone or otherwise separated from their owners, and it is a particular form of anxiety that can be the most destructive one of all: Dogs who are uncomfortable with separation may use the bathroom indoors, chew on things they’re not supposed to, and bark continuously.


Given their decline in cognitive function, dogs can become confused or scared more easily as they age.

Signs of Anxiety

Not all signs of anxiety in dogs are as obvious as you might assume. With that said, if your furry friend exhibits any of the following symptoms or behaviors, they may be suffering from some form of anxiety: 

  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Destroying objects
  • Excessive chewing
  • Excessive barking
  • Using the bathroom indoors
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Drooling and panting 

Symptoms of depression can also correlate to anxiety in a dog. If you notice things like lethargy or a lack of eating by your dog alongside any of the signs listed above, consider seeking treatment in order to improve the quality of both your dog’s life and your own.

eyes of a good boy feeling a bit blue

Potential Treatments for Dog Anxiety

If your dog suffers from anxiety consistently enough that it negatively impacts both of your lives, it’s best to consider the following treatment options as you look for solutions:

Training Methods

You can work to treat your dog’s anxiety with one of a few different training methods; that said, how you choose to approach your dog’s training will depend on the source of their anxiety. 

If the anxiety is caused by the presence of people, other animals, or certain objects, introduce them to the stimuli slowly and safely so that they can grow more accustomed to them. You can also work to recondition them by rewarding good behavior so that they replace their dog-anxiety attacks with positive reactions.  

Anti-Anxiety Products

Many different products are available that can help anxious dogs feel calmer and there are OTC options for treating anxiety. Some of the most popular include the following:

Dog Anxiety Vest

These vests are placed on a dog during stressful events like thunderstorms to provide a calming effect akin to getting under a comfortable blanket. Research into the full range of effects of these products is inconclusive as of now, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that supports their claims.

Anti-Anxiety Dog Bed

An anti-anxiety dog bed is designed to be more comforting and supportive in order to provide a calming effect. Some are even shaped like little caves, which can work to make some dogs feel protected from their anxiety-causing stimuli.

High-Anxiety Dog Crate

Unlike the previous two options, a high-anxiety dog crate isn’t meant to provide calming effects or cure dogs of their nervous disposition; instead, it is designed to provide a safe and comfortable space for your pal while you continue to train them to be less anxious.

Dog Anxiety Medication

As disappointing as it may sound, it’s possible that all the training in the world may not relieve your dog of their anxiety; nevertheless, that doesn’t mean they have to continue to suffer all the time. 

There are several dog anxiety meds that you can use to make your pet feel more at ease. Some of these will require a prescription from your vet, but there is plenty of over-the-counter dog medication for anxiety as well; for instance, many vets will recommend Benadryl for dog anxiety, as it produces a calming, drowsy effect. 

However, while the medication and others can work miracles for some pet owners, it’s critical that you carefully follow the orders of your veterinarian when using them; your dog is relying on you to carefully regiment these meds in a way that is helpful, not harmful.

CBD for Dog Anxiety

CBD is a chemical compound derived from the hemp plant that is believed to have a calming effect on both humans and dogs. It has become one of the most popular options for treating dog anxiety in recent years, largely because it offers an all-natural alternative to prescription medications that can have unpleasant side effects and potentially pose a danger to your dog. 

Research into the efficacy of these products is still ongoing, but there have been some exciting results to go with a lot of anecdotal evidence to support these amazing claims; that said, before you run out in search of the best CBD for dog anxiety, first consider that they can still have some unpleasant side effects if taken in excess, including diarrhea, drowsiness, and dry mouth. Always make sure to follow instructions carefully when determining dosage.

You Can Help Your Anxious Pup

It can be both stressful and heartbreaking to see your dog deal with anxiety, but all hope is not lost. Following the tips above and working with your vet and a dog trainer can raise your odds of helping your dog feel less nervous and more confident over time.

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Paul Buonopane

Have you ever heard the adage, "Once a cat person, always a cat person"? Well, prepare to have that myth charmingly dispelled! I grew up a cat lover but these good boys just couldn't be denied and I'm officially a convert.