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How to help a scared and overwhelmed dog

How can you to tell if a dog is scared?

Just like humans, dogs can experience a wide range of emotions. Unfortunately that includes fear and anxiety. Understanding the signs and behaviours that indicate your dog is scared is the first important step in taking action to manage and soothe your dog. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Lip licking
  • Trembling
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Tail tucked between their hind legs
  • Pacing
  • Hiding
  • Barking
  • Cowering
  • Growling
  • Uncontrolled bladder or bowel movements
  • Whining

What causes fear in dogs?

Every dog is different and has different reasons for being scared. Here are some common causes of fear in dogs:

  • Experiencing unfamiliar things – for example a dog being scared of thunder or being scared of new locations;
  • Past trauma;
  • Panic – due to not being able to get away from the cause of fear, such being locked crate;
  • Separation anxiety

What is the best treatment for a scared dog?

It is important to be patient. Your companion is under a lot of stress and it will take time to change their innate reactions. For immediate and short-acting treatment, distracting the dog with treats or obedience commands may be helpful. However, seeking professional help from a vet will give you the best chance at seeing a change in behaviour. Vets can assist you in understanding why your dog is reacting this way and create a treatment plan to properly work on altering their behaviour.

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