My Chihuahua is Anxious! What Should I Do?
Just like humans, dogs can experience different levels of anxiety. Our Chihuahua friends are notorious for being nervous and stressed-out, making them prone to anxiety disorders. Let’s discuss how you can calm your pup down if the following question has ever entered your mind: My Chihuahua is anxious! What should I do?
- Physical contact
- Music therapy
- Calming clothes
- Alternative therapies
If your little pooch is suffering from anxiety, taking them out for a quick run can do wonders for their mental health! Just like humans, dogs release endorphins when exercising, which calms them down and improves their mood. On top of that, your pooch will be in better physical health, so it’s a win-win situation!
If your pup is stressed when going out, don’t worry. Exercise doesn’t have to be a walk in the park or a long hike. Playing with your pup, running around the home, and even giving your pooch toys to chew count as exercise!
Don’t underestimate the benefits of a puppy massage. Yes, dogs can be massaged too, and it’s great for their mental and physical health! Anxiety can cause your Chi’s muscles to tense up, and a nice massage is a great way to release some of that tension.
However, keep in mind that Chihuahuas are very small and fragile dogs. As a result, you don’t want to be too harsh when massaging your pup. Gently but firmly slide your hand from your dog’s neck through its spine.
For best results, you should hold your Chi with one hand, while using the other to massage it. Your pooch will quickly relax and start enjoying the whole process. However, if your dog is a bit stressed out with massages, don’t force it - as you may only make the anxiety worse.
For dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, the owner’s touch is everything they need to calm down! If that sounds like your pup, you know what to do. An anxiety attack can be debilitating, but you can easily soothe your dog’s nerves with a nice petting session.
Chihuahuas, in particular, are very attached to their owners. Luckily, they are so small, it’s easy for you to pick your Chi up and put it on your chest. Your pup will feel warm, secure, and loved - making all of its worries go away.
Studies have shown that music therapy isn’t only beneficial to us, but to our canine friends as well! As a result, try calming your anxious pup down by playing some therapeutic songs. In general, you can’t go wrong with classical music, though you may need to shuffle through genres until you find the perfect sound your dog loves.
Music therapy is also a great solution if your Chi’s anxiety is triggered by outside noises, as it can help mask the scary sounds. Whether you’re just lounging at home or going on a road trip, make sure you always have a playlist ready in case your pooch gets anxious and needs a little reassurance.
You may think that dog wear is just for show, but it’s so much more than that. Not only do clothes keep your dog warm and cozy, but studies have also shown that they help reduce anxiety.
Just like how babies are swaddled to sleep better, puppies also reap the benefits of a cozy outfit. With a tight (but comfortable!) shirt, your Chi will feel like it’s being hugged, as it comforts and soothes them.
If your little pooch is acting out and you think it can use a time-out, isolation may be the key to reducing your pup’s anxiety. Take your dog to a dimly lit room or a crate, with no external stimuli (such as sounds, lights, or strong smells) and leave it there for some time. Your dog will feel safe and calm down.
However, some dogs may become even more anxious when left alone for a long period of time. As a result, we don’t recommend isolation for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, as it may make things worse.
Alternative therapies, by default, haven’t been proven to effectively work every time. However, they aren’t harmful to your dog, so it doesn’t hurt to try a few homeopathic remedies. These include supplements, aromatherapy, sprays, pheromone, etc.
Nevertheless, we highly recommend consulting with your vet before administering any kind of alternative medicine to your dog.
How Do I know If My Dog Is Anxious?
Now that we’ve discussed some effective ways to calm your Chi down during an anxiety attack, it’s also important that you notice when your dog is experiencing high levels of stress and fear. Anxiety can manifest in different ways for different pups, so make sure to keep a close eye on how your pooch reacts to things it’s scared of.
The most common signs of anxiety in Chihuahuas are:
- Barking and howling
- Destructive behavior (chewing on furniture)
- Shivering or tremors
- Excessive licking and chewing
- Low appetite
- Frequent urination
- Running away
- General irritability
Types Of Anxiety In Dogs
Dogs can develop anxiety over a few different things. However, the most common causes of anxiety in Chihuahuas are:
Fear-related anxiety refers to the stress response of external stimuli, such as strange noises, unfamiliar people, and other dogs. Being scared of the unknown is completely normal, however, dogs who experience high levels of anxiety may be scared more often and more intensely.
Older dogs are more prone to developing an anxiety disorder. Much like humans, as dogs age, their cognitive functions deteriorate, causing confusion and fear. This type of anxiety is most commonly associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which affects over 60% of dogs over the age of 15.
Separation anxiety is also extremely common in dogs, especially Chihuahuas. Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety are terrified of being left alone, making them more anxious, territorial, and overly-attached to their owners.
Anxiety in dogs can be debilitating. Not only does your dog experience high levels of stress (which is harmful to their health), but you may also have a hard time training and bonding with your dog, as it’s exhibiting bad behavior more frequently. As a result, the best course of action is to make long-term solutions to prevent your dog from developing an anxiety disorder.
The best way to prevent anxiety in Chihuahuas is by training, socializing, desensitizing, and conditioning. A properly socialized pooch should be exposed to external stimuli from an early age, making it less likely to develop a fear of the unknown. If your dog is already of age, try conditioning it not to respond to scary stimuli by distracting your Chi and rewarding it for keeping calm during a stressful situation.
Finally, your dog is less likely to develop a disorder if it’s healthy. As a result, make sure to take your pooch out for lots of exercise, feed it healthy and delicious food, and spend a lot of time playing with your Chi.
To sum up, an anxious Chihuahua can be difficult to deal with. Whether your dog is stressed out, old, or fears being left alone - it will show typical symptoms of anxiety, such as excessive barking, tremors, or aggression.
However, there are steps you can take to reduce anxiety in your dog. From a long exercise session to gentle dog massages, there are many effective ways to temporarily calm your pooch down. Nonetheless, making long-term solutions is the most important thing,
Finally, anxiety can be a real health issue that needs to be addressed by a professional. As a result, if you have reason to believe your Chihuahua suffers from any type of anxiety, consult a vet to find the best solution, so your dog can live a long and happy, carefree life!