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Dog making your anxiety worse? This is what to do about it

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Throughout the pandemic period, many people adopted dogs for some company and support. Now that things are opening up and slowly returning to normal, many of those same people are now finding that their furry friend has started to cause more stress than happiness, and could even be causing them some serious anxiety issues. In fact, the BBC recently reported that there was a 35% increase in calls related to giving up dogs in towards the end of 2021. We wanted to dig into why this might be happening, and what you can do about it if you find yourself in this situation.

How can dogs make you feel anxious?

The main reasons a dog might start to make you feel anxious would include the following:

     

  • Not behaving

This isn't rocket science, but if your dog isn't behaving then it can seriously impact your mental health and can cause real anxiety issues. The main source of anxiety could be that every time you take your dog outside for a walk, you're worried about how they'll behave towards other people and dogs. It could be as simple as just barking at other dogs, but could be as serious as potentially attacking someone, even a child. If your dog is having behavior issues then it's no surprise that anxiety issues could follow for you.

  • Costing you money

Again, not rocket science. Most people should know that a dog will cost money, but sometimes dogs can be a lot more expensive than anticipated. It can be really bad if your dog is injured as a puppy, not only because of the harm caused to the dog but also because of the bills incurred by you, and then the anxiety that follows you for the rest of the dog's life as you worry about another injury causing more harm and costing you more money.

  • Shorter life

This is a little different from the 2 above because the more you love your dog the worse this can be for your anxiety. It is no secret that dogs tend to die before humans, and if your dog is your number 1 companion in life, then the thought of life without your dog can be a serious source of anxiety.

What can you do about it?

We've spoken previously about exercises that you can use to try and reduce anxiety such as the 3-3-3 rule, but if you're looking for specific things to do when a dog is causing you anxiety then maybe try these:

 

Training 
Training a dog can sometimes be expensive, but if your dog's behaviour is causing you to feel anxious then training is one of the best investments you'll ever make. To be honest, you can learn huge amounts from YouTube channels such as Zak George's Dog Training Revolution, so start with those and see how you get on.

 

Pet Insurance 
It always amazes us how many people choose not to take out pet insurance, especially given how expensive vet bills can be. But if your anxiety is stemming from the cost of your dog, taking out pet insurance is a good way to have some of these big bills covered.

 

Chat with other owners
Sometimes it can feel like you're the worst dog owner in the world, and this feeling of helplessness can make you feel depressed and anxious. But if you take the time to chat with other owners, you'll quickly find that even the most experienced dog owners encounter lots of the same issues with their dogs as you. This can help you to realise that nothing is going to be perfect and you shouldn't be so hard on yourself.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you to get to the bottom of how dogs can cause you anxiety, and what you can do about it. Let us know how you get on!

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