Image Source: Pexels
Dogs are intelligent creatures, as any owner will know, and their range of emotions is incredibly diverse, often matching humans in terms of how they react to situations, whether that’s with joy and delight, or anxiety and fear.
As a result, our four-legged companions can also be afflicted by the fallout of trauma-inducing events, and require care and attention to move down the road to recovery. You can do your bit to help them on their journey, so here are a few ways to empower dogs as they work through post-traumatic stress.
Table of Contents
Helping Your Dog Through Traumatic Times – What to Do and When
When a dog experiences trauma, it’s important to provide the right care in order for your pup to recover.
Start by creating a safe environment with minimal distractions. Speak softly and calmly while providing treats or other rewards when they display desirable behaviors, such as following commands.
If you’re able to identify what triggered the traumatic experience, try avoiding those situations altogether if possible. If not, gradually expose them back into that setting, but be sure to take things slow so as not overwhelm your pet with too much at once. Going back to normal too soon can actually cause more harm than good.
Involvement of professional canine behaviorists may also prove useful in certain cases where additional help is needed beyond basic training routines. Consider finding obedience-training classes nearby, or pay for private sessions conducted one-on-one with an experienced trainer who specializes in PTSD treatment plans for dogs.
CBD Oil for Pets: Is It Safe and Will it Work?
Plenty of people espouse the use of CBD oil for treating all sorts of mental health issues in humans, including PTSD. Unsurprisingly, pet-safe CBD oil has become increasingly popular as an alternative treatment option for dogs with post-traumatic stress. So what is it exactly?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant, known to reduce anxiety and improve cognitive functioning without any intoxicating side effects. While human studies are still limited due to legal restrictions, anecdotal evidence suggests that this natural remedy can also benefit our furry friends in similar ways by promoting relaxation of both body and mind. You can buy pet-safe CBD oil from Honest Paws and other reputable outlets, so it’s an intriguing dietary supplement and potential treatment to explore.
Before considering CBD oil for your pet’s PTSD, be sure to consult your veterinarian first, as they will be able to provide professional advice on whether or not this form of therapy is suitable based on their overall health.
Exercise Solutions for Dogs with PTSD
Physical activity is a key component of any effective treatment plan for dogs suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Exercise can help to reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with fear and anxiety, while simultaneously increasing serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and well being.
Not only that, but regular physical activity and outdoor games will also allow your pup to release pent up energy in a healthy way, rather than resorting to destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture or barking excessively due to PTSD symptoms.
Before embarking on an exercise routine for your canine companion, it’s important to assess their current level of fitness first so you know what kind of activities are safe and appropriate based on age and size. For example, long walks may be ideal, but swimming could prove too strenuous if they’re not used to this type of workout!
As always when dealing with anxiety issues in animals, take things slow and be sure to keep the sessions short and sweet in order to maximize their enjoyment of physical activity.
The bottom line is that your dog doesn’t have to face down post-traumatic stress alone. Speak to a vet, work with a professional trainer if necessary, and consider supplements as well to support them successfully.