Dogs, just like humans, can sometimes become anxious. The reasons for their anxiety can be very varied, so it is sometimes hard to pinpoint what exactly is causing anxiety in your dog.
The first thing to do if you notice your dog has developed anxiety is to take them to the vet to have a full health check done.
The reason for this is that sometimes medical conditions can cause anxiety, and your vet can diagnose this and prescribe an appropriate treatment.
Most of the time, anxiety in dogs is not caused by a medical issue but is a behavioral one instead. There are so many things that a dog can become anxious about, from certain types of noises like thunder, fireworks, and motorbikes, to be left at home without their owner, from someone carrying an umbrella or wearing a hat, to other dogs.
Your vet will be able to recommend a behaviorist to help retrain your dog, and may also prescribe some anti-anxiety medication to help them get through their day more calmly.
Signs Of Anxiety
The signs of anxiety in dogs can vary from dog to dog. You will be the best person to start spotting the signs, as you know your dog better than anyone else.
Anxiety symptoms in dogs can vary from subtle to very obvious.
The subtle signs can be things like licking their lips, drooling, pulling their ears back, avoiding eye contact, or keeping eye contact with very wide eyes, often showing the whites all around. Trembling, cowering, and keeping their tail between their legs are also other signs.
More obvious signs of anxiety can be urinating and defecating inappropriately within the home, destroying furniture and soft furnishings, becoming aggressive, barking more than usual, or hiding away within their house.
How Calming Dog Beds Can Help
There are many different things you can do to help your dog feel less anxious at home, and one of those can be to provide somewhere safe for them to sleep and retreat to when they are starting to feel anxious.
Calming dog beds are specifically designed to help soothe dogs who are feeling stressed and make them feel protected and secure.
There are many different types of beds to help calm your dog, and some dogs will prefer one type over another.
Doughnut Style Beds
These beds are one of the most well-known types of calming dog beds. They are made of a very soft, comforting material that your anxious dog will love to sleep in.
They are very comfortable, and it mimics the feeling of being snuggled up to other dogs, which can add to the feeling of being protected.
The sides on these types of beds are raised, so from the top, they look like a doughnut, hence the name. The raised sides add another layer of security, and your dog will feel protected from the world.
These beds allow your dog to burrow into the soft material and get really snuggled in, similar to how their wild ancestors would get comfortable for a night’s sleep.
Igloo Style Beds
The igloo style beds, also called caved beds, are similar in some ways to the doughnut beds, in that they are very comfortable and are lined with a very soft, comfortable material.
The main difference is that instead of just being raised at the sides, they are also raised at the top, allowing your dog to feel fully protected from all sides and from above.
These beds have an entrance in the front to allow your dog entry, and they can then get as comfortable as they can, and they can see out, whilst no one can surprise them from coming from behind, which can make your dog feel much better.
These beds can also be slightly darker, as they only have one way of entry, and some dogs find less light more secure.
Igloo style beds are very good for those very anxious dogs that need a real hideaway to feel safe.
Both igloo and doughnut beds should be large enough that your dog can curl up in them and fit snuggly, but not too big that there is lots of excess space around them, as this would defeat the object.
Orthopedic Mattress Beds
Mattress beds are exactly as they sound, a large square or rectangular bed, and in the case of orthopedic beds, filled with a memory foam type material.
These beds may not be the obvious choice of beds as they don’t have the raised sides, however, if your dog is anxious because they suffer from joint pain, these beds can be really useful as it takes the pressure off those painful joints, allowing your dog to get some rest in peace.
Mattress beds should be big enough that your dog can stretch out fully without any of their limbs falling off of the bed. You want all of their joints to be padded at all times.
What Else Should You Look For In A Dog Bed?
Once you have decided what sort of dog bed to choose, there are some other considerations to take into account.
The cover of the bed should be machine washable, and preferably water-resistant, as many nervous and older dogs will urinate when they are anxious, so you want to be able to easily wash the cover without it soaking into the inner material.
The beds should be non-slip, as it will only add to your dog’s sense of unease if the bed moves around easily, making it feel less secure.
Place your dog’s bed somewhere in the home where it is not too busy so that they can get some rest in peace, without being woken up constantly by the noises of a busy household.
If you have more than one dog, provide them with at least one bed each, so that they don’t have to share if they don’t want to.
It is also worth considering putting your dog’s bed in a room that is away from the outside of the house, so they won’t be disturbed by loud noises or lights from outside.
A calming dog bed is a good investment for a nervous dog, but it is always worth having them checked by a vet first to ensure they are fit and healthy.