Trauma in humans often leads to anxiety and depression. Fortunately, effective treatments exist that have allowed many of us to see past our traumas and manage to lead a normal and healthy life.
But what happens when our furry, innocent dogs are dealing with trauma? When have they been subjected to abusive environments and neglect in the past? How do we help them through their trauma?
It is difficult to recognize and treat the symptoms in creatures that can’t tell us what happened in the past. However, help is available in the form of behavioral experts, veterinaries, and loving pet owners.
Here’s what you can do to help your traumatized dog:
1. Develop and Routine and Stick to It
Dogs thrive on routine, especially those with traumatic pasts. Knowing what to expect, when to expect it puts them at ease and eliminates the fear of the unknown. A dog with trauma is suspicious of everything and everyone and is always questioning and fearful of what might come next. Having a very strict routine helps them with this particular aftereffect of trauma. If you are taking care of a traumatized dog, we suggest you help them make sense of this world by maintaining the order of things. Walking, feeding, relaxing, crate time should all happen at the same time every day.
When you see the dog settling down in the new routine and shows minimum symptoms of stress and anxiety, you can introduce new things gradually to ease them to it
2. Let Them Have Their Safe Space
Trauma often leaves the furry animals feeling vulnerable and unsafe, which keeps their senses on high alert at all times. When taking care of a dog with PTSD, we suggest giving them that one safe space that they feel comfortable in. For instance, laying blankets in a crate and keeping the latch open will give them a place where they can retreat and hide every time they feel scared and unsure. The first thing you need to do when you bring a dog with PTSD to your home is to introduce them to their safe zone.
3. Make Positive Association with Everything
Certain experiences and actions increase the intensity of anxiety and stress in dogs. Still, these experiences could be unavoidable, such as a bath, cutting nails, a car ride, or a visit to the vet. If nails trimming gives your dog anxiety, explore other options such as filing. Or give them the option to walk away whenever they want. Or better yet, give them a treat every time your trim the nails.
PTSD treatments for dogs often include a combination of behavioral and medical treatments. Make sure you take the right route and see your dog conquer its fear and the trauma of the past.