How to cope with anxiety caused by being a new dog owner? 

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This blog answers: How to cope with anxiety caused by being a new dog owner? Is it common to experience anxiety over being a new dog owner? What are the reasons to experience anxiety after getting a dog? Which dog breeds are difficult to train? What are the main triggers of anxiety after getting a new dog? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety upon being a new dog owner? What are some other ways to manage anxiety experienced after getting a new dog? What are the therapy options for anxiety experienced upon being a new dog owner?

How to cope with anxiety caused by being a new dog owner? 

Some ways to cope with the anxiety caused as a new dog owner requires individuals to consider some factors like: 

Be aware of the financial bearing 

Dogs are very expensive, and this expenditure is a lifetime one which could possibly cause a financial strain in the long-term leading to anxiety. It begins at the initial adoption phase and goes on to vaccinations, deworming, feeding, and medication.

This expenditure particularly goes up as the dogs grow older and as medication and hospitalization become more expensive.  

Hence people must consider their financial standing before getting a dog to avoid anxiety related to finances in relation to their pets.

Collect facts about the breed 

Another tip to keep in mind is to do appropriate research on which breed you are planning to buy. The breed you are looking to buy should match your lifestyle as well as your surroundings or it might lead to extreme stress.

One must also consider the family structure and living arrangements and accordingly decide on a small or big breed and consequently the temperament of the breed in order to find the right fit and welcome the dog into the family without any anxiousness. 

Plan out your “dog time”

It is important to spend adequate time with your dog. Walking them, playing with them, cuddling, and most importantly training them. While on the other hand, it is also crucial to make time for veterinary appointments.

Before getting a dog, one must remember that dogs cannot be kept alone for too long as they may become aggressive and insecure leading to trust issues. 

Check the children’s compatibility

An important tip to keep in mind before getting a dog is to understand if the children at home like the idea of having a dog. Often parents might want to surprise their children with the gift of a dog, however, it is important to see how the child reacts and interact with the dog to know if they are well suited for each other. 

Talk to other dog owners 

Before getting a dog individuals must consider speaking to other pet owners who have the same pet as they plan to get. This helps them to not the pros and cons of their decision to have a pet and take mindful decisions to avoid further anxiety. 

Is it common to experience anxiety over being a new dog owner? 

 

It is very common and natural for individuals to experience anxiety after being a new dog for the first time. This anxiety is at its peak during the initial weeks of having a new pet however subsides after the training period.

However, new dog owners might experience anxiety occasionally due to various reasons concerning their dogs even after the initial weeks. 

This might involve separation-related anxiety where individuals experience a sense of discomfort even with the thought of separating themselves from the dog due to the attachment that they hold with them within a short time.

The most common phrase ‘dog can be a man’s closest friend” might explain why getting a new dog can cause anxiety. Many individuals do not look at their dogs as pets but as family members.

Any sense of threat to their pet might significantly impact their mental stability and lead to increased distress and anxiety.

What are the reasons to experience anxiety after getting a dog?

Some reasons to experience anxiety after getting a dog are: 

  • Changes in daily routine 
  • Mental and physical strain 
  • Increased financial strain 
  • Difficulty balancing work and pet responsibility 
  • Difficulties faced during the training period 
  • Negative behaviors of the pet due to various reasons 
  • Increased expectations 
  • Health diagnosis of the pet 
  • Lack of freedom 
  • Regret getting a pet.

Which dog breeds are difficult to train? 

Some dog breeds that can be difficult to train and lead to increased levels of anxiety are: 

  • Rottweiler
  • Borzoi
  • Chow Chow
  • Afghan Hound
  • Basenji
  • Beagle
  • Bloodhound
  • Bulldog
  • Irish Setter
  • Dalmation

What are the main triggers of anxiety after getting a new dog?

Even though anxiety is seen among many individuals certain triggers make some people more vulnerable to anxiety than others upon being a new dog owner. 

Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:

Health diagnosis

An individual is more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety in the presence of serious health diagnoses of the dog or themselves.

In the first case, a diagnosis of the dog might be heartbreaking and unacceptable for the owner making it difficult to process the unfortunate.

While in the second case where the owner has a serious diagnosis might leave them worrying about the dog’s care in their absence or any negligence caused due to their health issue.

Anxiety can also be triggered due to a sense of separation upon finding ones diagnosis.

Triggers associated with health diagnosis tend to have a strong impact on an individual because of the strong negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with it.

Use of caffeine

Even though it is said that the use of caffeine helps to activate an individual’s system studies show that over usage of caffeine might lead to adverse effects such as anxiety or even depression.

Apart from the overuse withdrawal from caffeine may also lead to anxiety. Hence it is suggested that individuals take conscious amounts of caffeine per day.

Negative thinking

An individual’s behavior and emotions are widely controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts about their new ownership of a dog leads to discomforting emotions and detrimental thoughts causing a vicious cycle.

These negative thoughts are then projected to various areas of an individual’s life creating an overall sense of lack of control over oneself and the environment which triggers anxiety.

Stress

Daily stressors as simple as their new dog’s unexplainable behavior on certain days might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety attacks.

However long term or chronic stress leads to long term anxiety and a build-up of negative taught processes and emotions that impact an individual’s mental health

Conflict

Individuals might also experience anxiety as a result of interpersonal or intrapersonal conflicts after getting a new dog. this might also include regret about getting a new dog or problems associated with getting a dog into an unwelcoming family

The inability to resolve these conflicts might lead to the buildup of negative thoughts, emotions that overwhelm an individual and triggers anxiety.

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety upon being a new dog owner?

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of joking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

What are some other ways to manage anxiety experienced after getting a new dog?

Relaxation techniques

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Socialization

A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety experienced upon being a new dog owner?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Group therapy

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Medication

Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief.

Conclusion

A growing number of people believe in having pets as family members. The most welcomed pet worldwide are dogs and cats. However, parenting pet or puppyhood can be most stressful and anxiety-provoking than newborn babies.

Various factors might contribute to one’s buildup of anxiety after getting a new dog. These might include their initial adjustments in their lifestyle to accommodate their new dog, health-related issues of the dog, pressure over the right training for the initial periods that is provided to the dog such as toilet training.

It is important that individuals take mindful decisions about having a pet at home and also doing the required homework and study about the difficulties and challenges that one can face after getting a new dog.

Frequently asked questions: How to cope with anxiety caused by being a new dog owner? 

Is it normal to feel anxious after being a new dog?

It is very normal for new pet owners to feel anxious and overwhelmed during the first few weeks or months of parenting their pets.

Most anxiousness related to puppyhood resolve with training and time.

Is it normal to regret adopting a dog?

Studies indicate that about 20% of dogs who were adopted were returned for several reasons by the owner. Experiencing a dilemma or regret within the initial few weeks or months after adopting a new dog is very common.

How can I stop worrying about my dog?

  • Some ways to stop feeling anxious about once dog are:
  • Actively distract yourself from negative thoughts
  • Take a break from parenting the pet
  • Seek professional help
  • Schedule feelings with close family and friends
  • Carry out relaxation techniques
  • Maintain a journal
  • Interact with other pet parents.

How long do the puppy Blues last?

Evidence indicates that puppy Blues are very intense during the first three weeks following their onset. However, the symptoms may subside or become manageable within three months.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-triggers
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10634350/
https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/family-and-parenting/10-breeds-of-dog-that-are-most-difficult-to-train-3364570

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