Many dog breeds are incredibly energetic. Most of the time this energy comes from either a lack of physical activity or various mental disorders.
Sometimes, a little pup seeking your attention is cute, but if it becomes a habit, it can also cause problems.
Pooches that have too much vitality may become violent, hurting their owner or other people. Moreover, they might hurt themselves trying to release this energy. If you have your dog inside your house, it may also break things by running around blindly.
Read on to find out the best ways to calm your dog down with and without medication.
Hyperactivity In Dogs
Hyperactivity in dogs can be defined as a dog’s complete and unconstrained desire to engage in activities that place excessive stress on the body. Known as Hyperkinesis in dogs, it is a state of being abnormally energetic. Such dogs are unable to keep focus or stay still. As a result, teaching tricks or cleaning such pups is challenging.
Obtaining appropriate medical evaluation for hyperkinesis in dogs is vital to determine the underlying cause(s) for this behavior and the best treatment option. While some owners attribute hyperactivity to age, others point out that this symptom is present in puppyhood and can be corrected with appropriate early training and programming.
Symptoms Of Hyperactivity
Following are some of the symptoms you may notice in your dog if it is suffering from hyperactivity:
- Abnormally energetic
- Not being able to focus
- Easily becoming distracted
- Barking and howling too much
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you should consult your regular vet, who knows the pet’s history.
Causes Of Hyperactivity
Not all dogs who are excited are necessarily excited. For example, some dogs may simply get more exercise than others, leading to an increased need for stimulation. The same could be said for dogs who are overly wired or have anxiety issues.
When these factors come together, it can lead to your dog becoming excited about the outside world but displaying an inappropriate level of focus or control.
Some of the factors that may cause hyperactivity are as follows:
- Youth – young dogs tend to have a lot of energy
- Breed – some breeds like Golden Retrievers are more energetic than others
- Lack of physical activity
There are many reasons a dog might be hyperactive. It could be due to a medical condition or environment. For example, dogs might become hyper during times of stress. Or it could be simply because they enjoy running around and playing tug-of-war with their owner.
However, if left unaddressed, hyperactivity can become a severe problem. Furthermore, your pooch could end up injuring himself as a result of walking/jumping around frantically.
Ways To Calm Your Dog Down Without Medication
Many people try to avoid medicine as much as they can because of potential side effects. So if you want to calm your dog down without using drugs, you can refer to some of the following methods!
● Increase Physical Activity
Dogs tend to have a lot of energy. One of the best ways to release this pent-up energy is to train your dog and increase its daily physical activity. Something you should know before teaching your dog is their breed. Some breeds have more energy than others and require more training. For these dogs, a walk around the block won’t be enough.
You can train your dog by any means possible. Take a treat in your hand and make him learn new tricks. From shaking hands to learning amusing tricks, dogs are intelligent beings who can learn anything. Don’t forget to reward your pup after a long play session, as it will motivate them to keep learning new things.
Exercise is a great way to remove an excessive amount of energy. If you don’t have time to walk your dog, you should think twice before buying one. Some breeds require longer walks than others. For example, a Siberian Husky, if trained well, can run 125 miles per day.
If you notice symptoms of hyperactivity in your pup, increasing its physical activity is a good idea. If you used to run 1km, try 2km the next time you go out. These activities will help bring your pup’s energy to a relatively lower level, benefiting both you and your pooch.
● Balanced Diet
Dogs require a healthy and nutritious diet. Some foods are suitable for one breed while not for another. Constipation, ulcers, inflammation of the stomach, etc., are common in dogs with a non-nutritious diet.
Take special care to provide food to your pet per its daily activities. For example, two dogs of the same breed, one running 2 miles a day and the other running 5 miles a day, should not be given the same amount of food. Moreover, if you decide to increase your pup’s daily activities, increase the amount of its food plate as well. A full belly will make them drowsy and lazy.
Visit your vet to learn the optimum diet plan for your pooch. You may be feeding your dog the wrong food this entire time. The meal should be rich in minerals and vitamins.
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Use supplements if needed, but the use of too many supplements may cause problems. In addition, these supplements may have side effects that may harm your pet. Consult your vet before giving any type of drug to your dog.
● Discourage Aggressive Behavior
If your dog shows aggressive behavior, don’t give it too much attention. Dogs are pretty similar to spoiled children. They try to get your attention by barking, howling, or hovering around you. If you give them what they want every single time, they will just ask for more. You need to care for them but giving them too much attention is not suitable for them in the long run.
Dogs are loyal and loving animals. They love their owners, but they don’t understand when you’ve had a tiring day at work and need to rest. These small things account for much larger matters and can easily be taught.
When you get home after a long day at work, and they start hovering around you, try to avoid eye contact as much as possible. However, don’t be rude, as that could lead to depression in your dog.
● Follow A Strict Schedule
Following a tight schedule will help make your dog less anxious about things. By carrying out daily activities every day at the same time, you can get them accustomed to a routine, which will benefit both you and your pet. Giving them breakfast at 7, taking them out on a walk at 6, and making them go to bed at 11 is an example of a fixed schedule.
There are several benefits to maintaining a tight schedule. Your dog will have a lighter mind knowing that he will get food every day at a particular time. He will know the time to go for a walk and the time to empty its bowels. As a result, he will understand when to exert energy and when to calm down, giving you peace of mind. A strict schedule would also help you potty train your pooch.
● Your Behavior Matters
Dogs are intelligent animals. Like kids, they can also pick up good and bad habits from their owners as they grow up. If you are overly energetic, violent, or aggressive, they will become aggressive too. If you remain calm and encourage such behavior, they will also follow behind.
Moreover, you can try teaching your pet to obey your verbal command. One of the easiest and most effective methods is teaching your dog basic obedience. Once your dog knows the commands ‘SIT’ and ‘STAY,’ you can introduce different commands such as ‘WALK’ or ‘OOF’ which signal calmness or demand attention. When they try to do something wrong, “NO” followed by their name would make them calm down over time.
When your dog starts paying attention to you instead of the objects around you, he will become more interested in playing and staying interested in his toy or activity. This is similar to how people get tired when they drink too much alcohol or take certain medications.
Ways To Calm Your Dog With Medication
If the above methods don’t succeed in calming your dog, you may move on to the next option, medication. There are many drugs to calm down dogs. However, these medicines may work on one breed and not on another.
In addition, you should always consult your vet before using any drugs, as some may have harmful effects on your pooch. Following are some of the medicines you can use to calm your dog:
Diazepam has many uses as a medicine in both humans and dogs. It is mainly used to relax muscles in dogs, treat anxiety, and control some mental disorders like seizures. Diazepam is generally given in the form of a tablet.
- Helps relax muscles
- Aids in curing some behavioral disorders
- Reduces aggression
- Acts as an anticonvulsant
- It may backfire and cause increased activity
- Can lead to an increased appetite in your pooch
- May cause weakness and wobbliness
Amitriptyline is a drug that is mainly used for dogs with a behavioral disorder known as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is what your dog develops when separated from the owner for an extended period.
Separation anxiety is common in young dogs, making it hard for the owner to leave the dog alone. Amitriptyline is helpful in such cases and can also be used for other purposes, such as general anxiety disorders. However, it can’t be used in dogs with diabetes. This drug is also available in the form of tablets.
- Can cure separation anxiety
- Used to treat depression and anxiety in small animals such as dogs and cats
- Prevent and treat urinary tract infections
- Treat several other behavioral disorders
- Dry mouth (common)
- Constipation in dogs (common)
- Drowsiness and weakness
- Irregular heartbeat (rare)
- Seizures (sometimes)
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Lorazepam is a drug used to treat situational anxiety. It is given before a specific event that causes stress in the dog. For example, if thunder noise causes anxiety in a dog, the drug would be given before the thunderstorm starts. Moreover, it also acts as an effective sedative for dogs.
- It reduces stress on the dog
- Relaxes certain parts of the central nervous system, resulting in a feeling of comfort
- It can be used to treat seizures
- Muscle weakness in dogs
- Yellowing of the eyes, gums, etc. (Rare)
Dogs are generally energetic by nature. However, their excessive energy can also be caused by some diseases. You can try non-medicated or medicated methods to help your pup release this pent-up energy.
However, in the case of medicated methods, you should always consult your vet before feeding your dog any kind of drug. These medicines may cause allergic reactions in some breeds, which can be fatal.