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Anxiety help needed please

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Angela04, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Angela04

    Angela04 New Member Registered

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    Morning,

    I have a 5 year old Cavapoo who in the last 12 months has developed an awful level of anxiety. Prepare yourselves, this is a long one!!

    If I go back a few years - there were early signs of strange behaviour. When he ate his dinner he would slope off in to the garden, lay down and whimper for a good 20 minutes. Sometimes he would get his lipstick out to the absolute max, to a point where (if you hadn't seen it before) you'd think it was never going to fit back inside. It was pretty horrific and not great for the kids to see. I sought advice from the vets and basically got absolutely nothing so we've just come to accept it over the years. He still cries after eating but it's not every day and the lipstick thing is much less too.

    Fast forward to last summer, I spent £2k at the vets because he went through a stage for a month of passing the worst stools you've ever seen in your life. I mean this was runny, mucus and bloody. So bloody it would literally drip out of his backside as he was walking.

    I was scared stiff he was seriously ill, I genuinely thought he was on his way out.

    After various blood tests, urine sample, stool sample, camera down his throat etc - nothing. No diagnosis!!! Can you believe that? They queried colitis and bowel disease but never confirmed it. We changed his dog food to a more specialised type in case he was allergic to particular ingredients and he started improving day on day so we got back to normal.

    However, bearing in mind the diet he is on, there is no way every so often he should have an "episode" he only has pure meat treats and it's the same stuff every single day, he never gets titbits off our plates etc so how can he keep having this bowel trouble????

    This is where anxiety comes in to it. My dog is a stress head! I do take partial blame for this as I work from home and he's always beside me so if we're going out, he hates it BUT he never messes in the house and the neighbours only ever hear him if he's barking at something outside (fair enough with that)

    However, he is far worse if we all go out (me, wife and kids) he paces, pants, cries and jumps up at me as if he's begging me to either take him with or don't go at all! In addition to this, he spends an awful lot of time with my step-daughter. When she gets home from school, he excitedly follows her up to her bedroom and you don't see him again until he wants his dinner! The downside to this is when the kids go to stay at their Dad's he misses them terribly. When they go, he goes to get his teddy, takes it to the top of the stairs and lays there with it and his head is slightly hanging over the top so he can see straight down the stairs. He'd stay there all night if we didn't make him come down.

    The other thing is the suitcase. If he sees that, panic mode sets in and you can tell he's working himself up.

    We were in Cornwall for a few days this week and had to come back early as he scared the living daylights out of my sister-in-law because he was having an episode, a bloody one at that. No sooner had we arrived to collect him did he go out to the garden and do a poo that was 80% normal. My sister-in-law was gobsmacked because only hours earlier had it been so loose, watery and bloody.

    So to me, to us, we think it's anxiety making him have these god awful episodes and I desperately want to help him. I haven't been to the vets yet for one reason - money. Sometimes I feel like it's about what they can get you to pay for and ideally I don't want to start pumping him with drugs.

    So that's why I'm here asking for your help - because it's independent and one of you may have had similar experiences with your dog?

    I'm thinking of getting the Adaptil diffuser and then a little remedy to put in his water but there are so many I don't know where to start. Who even knew Holland & Barrett sold something I can put in his water??

    Sorry that was so long winded but I felt it was important to give as much info as possible.

    Please help...
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    This gets good reviews

    Product - Dorwest

    Some dogs, like people, are very stressy. Do you know what his parents' temperaments were like? The tablets above might help take the edge off his anxiety. Then it *might* be possible to help by doing some confidence building activities. One of the main things for anxious dogs in my view is to make sure you step in when he is having an episode so he knows you have his back - some people will advocate exposing the dog to lots of stimuli to let him experience stuff and face his fears. To me, that's like throwing a person into a snake pit.

    You might find it helpful to get some help from a behaviourist. Please choose someone who uses modern, force free methods. Your insurance may cover it.

    Emma Judson is one of the UK's experts in SA and she can do online consultations at a very reasonable rate.

    thecanineconsultants

    Meantime this article might help - I add a link as a Google search also brings up articles written by a 'behaviourist ' that I would avoid like the plague.

    Building Your Dog's Confidence Up | Whole Dog Journal

    To get him to be more independent you can get him used to you walking out of the room then immediately back in again, preferably when he is occupied with something like a Kong. Try to make no fuss, you don't want to prepare him into thinking "oh no this means they are going out" - the aim is for him to barely register you coming and going - ideally for him to have a 'oh, you're back, I didn't notice you leave' reaction. Very, very gradually build up time. This will be hard work but put the work in and it will pay off later. If he gets distressed though you have gone too fast, and created anxiety and that is not what you want. Stair gates are also useful to allow him to see you pottering about in another room, but without being glued to your feet.

    You can also reward independent behaviour - praise when your dog is not actively engaged with you, which is actually quite hard to remember to do because we sort of don't notice when it happens!

    There are other things you can do like picking up keys and putting on outdoor clothes then not actually going out, to desensitise him to the triggers that signal you leaving.
     
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  3. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Well-Known Member Registered

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    First the bowel problem. Just a suggestion but my friend collie had the same. He was diagnosed after a year with B12 deficiency and started on B12 injections which he now has monthly, these are for life. He is also having raw food. He still gets episodes but not so often. He is not an anxious dog. I visit him daily during the week because his owners work so I am quite involved with him.
    My own little dog has some anxiety problems. I was in hospital for two weeks this year and he was walked by various friends and stayed with other people (dog owners) when my husband visited.
    It has taken a while for him to forgive me.
    We basically only ever leave him alone for an hour or so while we shop. He has a Kong with treats in and we have a Dogcam. He copes with this and settles until we get home.
    If we need to go out for longer we have a dog sitter (the same one each time).
    He comes on holiday with us.
    I know this is working round him and not dealing with the problem but it works for us.
    I am sure you will get lots of advice and will work out what is right for you and your dog
     
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  4. Angela04

    Angela04 New Member Registered

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    Thank you for your reply, I'll have a look at those tablets
     
  5. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Good Morning,

    I’m sorry to hear that your dog has been struggling so much with this. I feel genuinely sorry for you for having to go through this distress.

    You mentioned that you did take your dog to the vet and they ran some tests but never diagnosed anything.

    I would recommend going to a PDSA clinic - https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet . They thrive on donations but if you’re unable to pay in full then they don’t mind. This could be a really good option for you if it is a finical issue for unable to go to the vets. The PDSA have an online symptom checker where I have wrote your dog’s symptoms in and all of them have come up with urgent see a vet immediately… This is the link ~ http://www.vethelpdirect.com/dashboard/selfhelpguide/pdsa/selfHelpGuide.php?petId=2


    I would recommend giving him a probiotic supplement. Something similar to this - YuDIGEST-Digestive-Supplement.

    Also if a dogs diarrhea persists I it could be a leading cause of an intolerance to food, in these cases it can be necessary to put your dog on a veterinary prescribed diet.

    IBS – stress is to be a big factor in IBS, treatment involves dietary changes, stress relief and medications.

    This could be potentially be anything so I would recommend going to a PDSA clinical branch and see if they can help you.

    Hope This Helps – Violet
     
  6. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I need to post and run, but what food are you giving him now, and does he get anything else in the form of treats and leftovers?

    If you had a couple of weeks of practically stress-free life, never being left, all the family there, and so on, what would he and his digestion be like then? This is really a question of whether you're dealing with a physical or mental problem (or a combination) and if physical, whether it's a food intolerance or something else going on. Ideally you'd throw money at the problem with specialist vets, scans, behaviourists, etc. but that's not always possible. Do consider the PDSA, as Violet suggested, if you'd qualify. Is he insured?
     
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  7. Chris Mc

    Chris Mc New Member Registered

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    Robbie is what another called a stress-head. Social anxiety and extremely reactive. I got him at 18 months. I did the breeding research someone else suggested after buying him, found that from a litter of 8, there was only him and another left (a line/temperament/closely bred thing) and Robbie had been kept with his Mum until 6 months in a country setting. I tried the daps, the holistic stuff, the low protein diets; anti-depressants and anxiolytics from the vet; 3 bonfire night sedatives have little impact, and 20 mg diazepam doesn't stop his constant barking in the car. So. I'm part of the dawn and dusk dog walkers brigade, he is strictly managed and he's a brilliant house dog. Took me years to accept that he's just the way he is (and a lot of money paying the top behaviourists in the country at the time). If Robbie was not great in the house, I would have had to think about whether it would have been fair to him to keep him alive in a world that he wasn't wired to cope in, in any environment. I'm not saying this is your situation, but believe me, I know how you feel worrying about how best you can solve your dog's problem. Your drive will be motivated by not wanting the problems to impact severely on how you want to live. I'm just saying that IF (hopefully not) you travel a long road ahead of solution finding (and don't find one), it's a relief actually, as you get to the point where you can just accept them for what they are and 'work around him" (though adapting your lifestyle can feel depressing sometimes).
     
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  8. Angela04

    Angela04 New Member Registered

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    Hi everyone,

    I thought I'd give an update so my post would get bumped and maybe someone else will see it who has other advice or suggestions.

    I bought the Adaptil diffuser and NOTHING!!! No change in his behaviour in any way, shape or form.

    Can I just say at this point that my reason for being dubious about going to the vets isn't because I haven't got the money - I meant I didn't want to go and waste more money but I think that's potentially what I'm going to have to do as I'm all out of ideas.

    We went out today and a friend came to pick us up. She was early so came in for 10 minutes and I knew instantly this was going to cause a problem. The dog got really excited to see her and then when he realised we were all going out, the panting started. Fast forward to us coming home and he's messed all in his bed and on the dining room floor. I've then put him outside where he's carried on with savage diarrhoea which turned bloody.

    I'm 99.9% sure this is purely down to anxiety, it's not a medical condition because he had all the tests etc last year and they were clear.

    I was thinking of trying a home made thunder shirt together with getting his crate back out covering it with a blanket to give him a dark and quiet space of his own.

    Maybe try the calms stuff in his water too?
    Anyone else got any ideas?

    Thanks
     
  9. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    You have nothing to lose but try whatever you can. Look at Bachflower remedies too, rescue remedy may be a good place to start in his water, as well as herbal remedies for stress, either added to food or pet remedy do a spray. But ultimately he is not coping with being left, for whatever reason, and seeking a good vets advice would be worthy as well as maybe a behaviourist to work along side any complementary / alternative therapies you may try.
     
  10. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    My feeling is that natural calmers like Adaptil, Bach Flower remedies, scullcap & valerian, etc., are a little like paracetamol - it will take the edge off pain, but it won't help if you chop a finger off. They're not going to stop a highly stressed dog from panicking. Having said that, the Thundershirt is worth a try - I don't know how easy it is to make one yourself though.

    The way to address separation anxiety is to start of by never leaving your dog, till he stops worrying about being left. Then you start things like picking up keys and putting them down, putting shoes/coat on and taking them off, walking to the door and sitting back down again.... you could spend a couple of weeks getting to the stage where you put your shoes on, open the door, step outside and come back in. And then you build up time outside the house, starting with seconds and building up to minutes and hopefully, eventually, a couple of hours. It's not easy, and your situation is harder too as the children will be coming and going. But it does usually get good results if you can stick with it religiously and never push too hard. It helps if there's someone else your dog can be left with of course.

    Has your vet suggested medication for stress? I know it can go against the grain, but some people really need drugs like Prozac to help them feel normal. Someone I know started anti-anxiety meds and told me they don't feel 'drugged', they feel that this is how people are meant to feel. I once had a cat who went on diazepam for anxiety and once we'd got the dosage right she was happy and content. So it may well be the right thing for your dog.

    Some vets do seem to want to throw the diagnostic kitchen sink at the dogs and then charge you an arm and a leg, but some are more conservative - there is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your vet you'd like a second opinion and asking for copies of all the test results to show another vet. You might be able to get some recommendations from dog walking friends. If you can find a vet behaviourist, all the better.

    If you do want to look further into addressing separation anxiety, I second @JoanneF 's recommendation of Emma Judson at Canine Consultants. There's also a good book by Patricia McDonnell called I'll Be Home Soon.
     
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  11. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .


    Dr Overall is a DVM in the U-S, & a vet-behaviorist -
    after 12 years of college, doctorate, & internship / more study, she’s Board certified as a diplomate of the Am. College of Veterinary Behaviorists, a post-doctorate specialty.

    She has written a number of step-by-step behavioral protocols which have been posted online, by a nonprofit rescue.
    U have to begin with the foundation protocol, then U can continue with whichever other protocol addresses the specific issue/s.

    The protocols are lengthy & look horribly complex; they are not, but they are very specific so that directions will be followed accurately. Don’t let the appearance daunt U, just start at the beginning & follow each step as written. :)

    This is the relaxation protocol, the foundation:
    https://www.boulderhumane.org/sites/default/files/ProtocolforRelaxation.pdf

    For all the others, see Boulder Humane’s website at boulderhumane.org
    Probly the most critical one for Ur dog is the protocol for disconnecting departure cues. :)

    - terry

    .
     
  12. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    This sounds so awful for you both. Can I ask if your dog has been Syringomyelia tested? It is a long shot but it does occur in cavapoos as well as pure-bred cavs.

    "It often causes intense pain and headaches in affected dogs, as well as stiffness in the neck, back and limbs. It can also cause weakness and numbness in the limbs, and a range of other potential affects including loss of bladder or bowel control, an inability to regulate the body temperature, and overheating. Syringomyelia is a highly painful and unpleasant condition for dogs."

    Really hoping you can find some resolution to this.
     
  13. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Sorry to hear your situation @Angela04 :-(

    I think my boy is suffering at the moment with some anxiety (which he’s never had before) he doesn’t get loose stalls but when he has an episode he won’t stop panting, trying to go into rooms he’s not interested in usually and being more clingy than usual. It’s awful to witness and nothing soothes him completely - sometimes holding him tightly helps. We’ve been to the vets and he thinks it’s an age thing.

    Sorry I haven’t actually been much help but I really understand where you’re coming from and your frustrations.

    I think @JudyN has really good points though so I would definitely try them.

    Has he always been anxious?
     
  14. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    Over the years, I have used many OTC / nonprescription calmatives, for my clients’ dogs, for foster dogs, or for dogs who were deemed unadoptable w/o major B-mod;
    among others, i’ve used DAP, Anxiety Wrap, Rescue Remedy liquid - never use the sugar tablets, which contain Xylitol, potentially lethal to dogs - super-stretchy snug T-shirts with at least 10% Lycra in the fiber content, Calming Caps that reduce a dog’s visual radius & vision acuity, aromatherapy, massage, T-touch, umbilical training, & more.

    Some general info & how-to:


    * DAP, also called Adaptil or Comfort -Zone for Dogs
    I would not recommend the plug-in version; when it first hit the market, other USA-apdt trainers who used the diffuser complained that it took, on average, 3 weeks to see any improvement in behavior.
    I use the pump-spray, which is portable, can be refreshed anywhere & anytime, & is not restricted to the immediate vicinity of a wall socket in the house. :D

    The spray does not go on the dog, but on objects or surfaces around or on the dog: collar/ harness, the leash a hand’s-length from the clip (so that each time it swings by their nose, the dog gets a whiff), the upholstery of the car seat where the dog sits, the sill of the crate door or on the latch side door-jamb of the crate, their dog bed or mat, etc, etc.

    The effect lasts about 90-mins, one spritz is a measured “dose”, & it can be renewed ad lib, with no worry about interactions, overdose, or any other of the concerns that come with medications.
    Any washable fabric or surface is DAP-safe; don’t apply DAP to antiques, collectibles, “dry clean only”, or varnished finishes. // Modern wood, floor, & other finishes are fine; pre-1960s finishes may be damaged.
    If in doubt, apply a small amount to a hidden area, & check the spot 24 to 48 hours later for running dyes, hazing, clouding, cracking, or any other changes. :)

    Leather is a special case: smooth leathers (shoes, boots, leashes...) are generally safe; smooth garment leathers are typically not DAP-safe.
    Smooth leather upholstery, as in autos or on sofas / chairs, is also usually fine, but test if U are at all worried. SUEDE, however, is a no-no!

    DAP is most effective when applied prior to the stressor; so 10 to 15 mins before U plan to leave for that leashed walk, or the scary car-ride, or the vet appt, take the collar off, spritz one side 1x, turn 90 degrees & spritz the opp side, put it back on the dog, & give a tidbit.
    Let the dog relax for a few minutes; then, begin to gather what U need for the errand.
    If something unexpected happens (a leashed dog pops out between parked cars, & Ur dog is reactive...), apply DAP as soon as possible**, & walk briskly away from the site of the event.

    (** not necessarily in that order:
    If U have a previously trained, fluent emergency U-turn, which I would urge U to teach to Ur anxious dog ASAP, I would cue that, then i’d walk or even JOG away from the problem, & finally, when at a safe distance, i’d apply the DAP.)

    When working with anxious or excitable dogs (DAP is not only for fears, it is also helpful with overarousal), I have spritzed DAP on:
    my gloves, on the back of the hands
    my shirt cuffs or coat sleeves, outside seams
    my shoes or boots, on the toe of the uppers & at the ankles on the outside
    my pants, at ankles & knees, on the outside seams

    Dogs often check our shoes 1st, when they meet us for the 1st time; I am fairly certain that DAP on my footwear & clothing has saved me from at least 3 or 4 bites, when I was entering the homes of highly territorial, aggro dogs, or when I worked with extremely timid dogs in the noisy chaos of a city shelter. :)

    - terry

    .
     

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