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Anxiety in your dog

Help alleviate the effects with a proper diet

Does your dog seem stressed, fearful, or anxious? Concerned about their long-term emotional and physical welfare? Of course you are! You want your dog to be happy and healthy—mentally and physically. By feeding Fido a proper diet and following our behavioural recommendations, you can help your little worrier feel better and more balanced.
Our Globalvet veterinary teams have all the advice you need on specialty foods to ease your dog’s anxiety and stress.

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Anxiety and stress: Normal, but potentially problematic

Just like a human, your dog can experience fear, stress, and anxiety.

Fear is an emotional response to a threat. It’s a survival mechanism that actually helps your dog make safe decisions.

Stress, by comparison, is a physiological response to a situation your dog finds troubling. This manifests in symptoms that are usually short-lived, like heart palpitations and sweating. But if your dog is under stress repeatedly or for extended periods, they may be suffering from chronic stress.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a lingering condition marked by uncontrollable fear of a perceived threat.

Although different, there is a correlation between the two: Stress can make your dog anxious and anxiety can stress them out.

Fear, stress, and anxiety may have long-term implications for your dog’s health. Physically, these conditions can cause:

  • Hypervigilance
  • Fatigue
  • Trembling
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Depending on your dog’s personality, chronic stress-related neuroendocrine reactions can also cause behavioural problems such as:

  • Excessive vocalization
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Aggression
  • Excessive licking
  • Accidents in the house
  • Feeling secluded

What causes fear, stress, and anxiety in dogs? Any number of triggers, including:

  • Changes in living conditions:
    • A new house
    • A long kennel stay
  • Temporary changes in their environment, such as:
    • Unexpected noises from storms, fireworks, etc.
    • More time spent alone
  • An unfriendly environment:
    • Lack of stimulation
    • Not enough space
  • Negative experiences:
    • Forced contact with a stranger
    • Being bitten by another dog
  • Changes in routine:
    • Walk schedule
    • Meal times

And that’s just the tip of the anxiety iceberg. Genetic predisposition is also a major factor.

Is your dog the stressed-out type? It can take a toll on their health, e.g., by suppressing their immune system. Stress can also lead to changes in your dog’s appetite, skin, and coat and cause chronic stomach upset.

Luckily, there are things you can do to ease your dog’s stress and anxiety—and your own. How? By addressing the problem through a multimodal approach based on your unique situation and your four-legged friend’s personality. This may include:

  • Behavioural therapy
  • Natural calming products
  • Dietary supplements
  • Soothing pheromones
  • Prescription drugs (anxiolytics, etc.)
  • Environmental changes

Your veterinarian can also recommend nutritional solutions. The right ingredients served up the right way can give your anxious dog lots of support and help them feel better faster.

Want to understand your dog’s anxiety better or need more advice on the subject? Read our page in the Behaviour section on Anxiety in dogs.

Tailoring your dog’s diet to their anxiety: How and why?

Keep stress and anxiety under control

That’s right—some vet-recommended foods are formulated to help manage your dog’s stress and anxiety. How? By using ingredients, nutrients, and supplements that can have physiological benefits.

They often contain Vitamin B, which can have an indirect impact on anxiety, and alpha-casozepine and L-tryptophan, ingredients known to act on neurotransmitters in the brain to create a calming effect.

Tryptophan goes from your dog’s bloodstream to the brain (passing through the blood-brain barrier) and can be used as a precursor in the synthesis of serotonin, which plays an essential role in regulating mood, anxiety, appetite, and sleep. In that way, tryptophan acts as a natural antidepressant.

Alpha-casozepine, on the other hand, is a milk-derived bioactive peptide with a selective affinity for certain receptors in the brain, called GABA-A receptors. Through this affinity, casozepine can have an anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) effect.

Obviously, vet-recommended calming food contains enough of these ingredients for your dog (and you!) to experience the benefits.

But be aware that the active ingredient content may be calibrated for a specific weight. Ask your vet to help you pick the right food for your fretful four-legged friend.

To learn more about alpha-casozepine or L-tryptophan, read this informative post, The role of L-tryptophan/alpha-casozepine, on the Veterinary Practice website.

Keep anxiety and stress from impacting your pet’s physical health

As we mentioned, stress and anxiety can have physical consequences for your dog. Food formulated for dogs with these conditions takes this into account.

Therapeutic foods contain ingredients that can help prevent or alleviate negative side effects. Stress and anxiety can throw off your canine companion’s digestive system and make it harder to absorb vital nutrients, so it’s important to make sure their body is able to process what they eat.

To that end, specialty foods support digestion and protect your dog’s gastrointestinal system. This effectively reduces the risk of vomiting and diarrhea stress can cause.

These balanced formulas include high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, fibres, and fats—nutrients that are easier to digest and therefore less likely to cause tummy trouble.

Support your dog’s mental health

Combined with behavioural therapy and follow-up care by your vet, a therapeutic diet specially designed for anxiety can improve your dog’s quality of life.


Vet-approved foods will boost your dog’s physical health and help mitigate the stress response so they feel better in body and mind.

A common ingredient in these formulations is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 found primarily in fish oil and shown to play an important role in regulating mood. DHA deficiency is associated with:

  • Altering the transmission of key neurotransmitters at work in anxiety such as:
    • Serotonin
    • Noradrenaline
    • Dopamine
  • Cognitive decline and depression in dogs (and humans!)

Dog foods designed for anxiety contain enough omega-3s to prevent DHA deficiency and to help regulate your four-legged friend’s mood.

But be aware that the active ingredient content may be calibrated for dogs of a certain weight. Talk to your vet to find out which food is best for your dog.

Find the best therapeutic food for your anxious dog in our stores

Every Globalvet clinic store carries multiple lines of specialty food for your canine anxiety sufferer. Get the one your vet recommends in store or online.

Need advice on pet food?

Contact your local clinic or visit our online store.


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