When you adopt a dog, you quickly realize they’re not so different from humans than you would think. Each dog has their own different personality and quirks, are afraid of things, have favorite toys and food and are particular about certain things.

These things are the unique attributes that make us fall in love with our dogs. Unfortunately, like humans, dogs are susceptible to psychological issues as well.

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A common psychological issue in dogs is separation anxiety. This could be for a number of reasons. Dogs are social animals that need to be engaged physically and mentally. If they are left at home for too long, it can prohibit them from doing those things, which may lead to anxiety. A dog could have been taken from its mother too early. It’s a frequent occurrence (especially within puppy mills) that raises their risk for behavioral problems as adults.

No matter the reason, having an anxious dog can be stressful for both dog and guardian. There are, however, different natural ways you can help your dog with anxiety.

 1. Give Your Dog Plenty of Exercise

We’ve all heard the magic endorphins can do for humans, same goes with dogs. It may seem like a no-brainer, but exercise not only delivers endorphins to your dog, but it is mentally and physically stimulating to them. Plus, they get to bond with their favorite person.

2. Try Natural Herbs

Pet stores sell a number of herbal supplements for dog anxiety. You can pick one up there or you can take the next step and go completely natural. Chamomile is a natural herb that is safe for both humans and dogs. It calms nerves and the stomach, which could be upset as a result of anxiety. It is also a natural sedative, so if your dog has trouble with you leaving the house, give them some chamomile about 45 minutes before you leave to calm them. Be sure to consult with your vet first.

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3. Try a Comfort Zone Plug-In

Comfort Zone Plug-Ins are best for those dogs who were taken from their mothers too early, as they mimic the mother’s natural pheromones. You can plug this specialty product in a room where your dog spends the most time to help calm their stress response.

4. Buy a Pheromone Collar

If the pheromone trick works for your dog, you can also buy a collar that has the same natural pheromone chemicals as the plug-in. This is especially helpful in case your dog gets anxious outside of the house.

5. Try a Pressure Wrap

Pressure wraps such as Thundershirt and Anxiety Wrap have recently gained a great deal of popularity. These wraps, originally designed to help animals cope with loud noises like those associated with thunderstorms, have a soothing effect on anxious dogs and cats alike. The wraps not only make the animal feel secure, but hit pressure points to aid in calming your pet down. Behaviorists and vets alike are recommending these wraps for use in the house, car rides and any other stressful situation your pet may face.

6. See a Behavioral Specialist

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It’s obvious dogs can’t talk to us. They can’t tell us how they feel, what stresses them out or what they are afraid of. There are people, however, that are trained to help dogs with psychological issues. If you are having trouble with your dog, professional advice and help might be what’s best for both of you. These professionals know triggers and signs dogs exhibit that we many times overlook. By taking your dog to see a specialist, you will be able to communicate and understand your buddy in a whole new way.

Image source: Chris Favero/Flickr

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