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After The Storm: PTSD In Dogs

November 1, 2022
Although it’s been over a month since Hurricane Ian made landfall, the effects of the devastating storm are still very visible, and will take a long time to recover from. Fierce storms are terrifying not just for people, but also for our canine companions. In fact, that fear and trauma can have a lasting effect on Fido. A Sarasota, FL discusses PTSD in dogs below.

Events

Hurricanes aren’t the only possible cause of PTSD in dogs. Military dogs often come back with emotional scars from battle. Fido can also be traumatized by accidents, such as car accidents; abuse; abandonment; injuries; or by being rehomed and/or spending time in a shelter. Our canine buddies can also be severely affected by the loss of a beloved human companion.

Signs Of PTSD

Indications of PTSD vary from pup to pup. Some signs to watch for are dilated pupils, panting, drooling, shivering, rapid breathing, pacing, flat ears, a tucked tail, barking, whining, growling, refusing to eat, hiding, cowering, and general uneasiness. Some dogs become reluctant to urinate: others release their bladders out of fear. Some pooches become aggressive, while others are prone to bolting and running. Fido may also act up, and may chew, dig, or soil inappropriately.

Helping Fido Cope

Pets that have PTSD can become fearful, anxious, or even aggressive when triggered. Fortunately, there are ways to help your furry friend cope. One is to offer a safe space. That may be a crate, or a comfy bed in a quiet room or corner. Make sure that Fido has plenty of toys, and that he’s getting enough exercise and playtime. Keeping your pooch on a steady routine will also be beneficial. In severe cases, your vet may also recommend pet-calming products and/or medication. This may be modern drugs or Chinese herbal medicine, which can also be helpful in soothing nervous pooches. Ask your vet for more information.

Comfort

Dogs often seek comfort from their humans when they’re scared. That’s a wonderful thing in general, but be careful. If you shower Fido with attention whenever he gets frightened, you’ll actually be reinforcing his nervous behavior. Offer a cuddle, a treat, or a toy, but don’t go too crazy. The biggest thing is to be calm and positive. Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Sarasota, FL pet clinic, today!
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