Do you experience anxiety over a new dog?
It is very common and natural for individuals to experience anxiety after getting a new dog. This anxiety is at its peak during the initial weeks however subsides after the training period.
However, dog owners might experience anxiety occasionally due to various reasons concerning their dogs. 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.
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 a family member.
Any sense of threat to this new family member or their pet might significantly impact their mental stability and lead to increased distress and anxiety.
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 with a new dog. Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:
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 devastating for the owner making it difficult to process and accept.
while in the second case where the owner itself 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 once 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.
An individual’s behavior and emotions are widely controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts about the new dog and their care and routine it further 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.
Daily stressors as simple as their new dog’s strange behavior on certain days might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety and 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
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.
Personal triggers can be as minor as a smell, place, or even a song that reminds an individual of negative and discomforting experiences. Personal triggers can remind an individual of an unconscious or conscious dramatic event in an individual’s life that triggers their anxiety.
If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and learn to cope with them. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.
what are the tips for identifying triggers of anxiety?
Start a journal.
Write down when your anxiety is noticeable and record what you think might have led to the trigger
Work with a therapist.
Some anxiety triggers can be difficult to identify, but a mental health specialist can help you. They may use talk therapy, journaling, other methods to find triggers.
Be honest with yourself.
Anxiety can cause negative thoughts and poor self-assessments post getting a new dog. This can make identifying triggers difficult because of the anxious reactions. Be willing to explore things in your past to identify how they may affect you today.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety experienced after getting a new dog?
Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:
- 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
These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.
What are some ways to manage anxiety experienced after getting a new dog?
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.
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 after getting a new dog?
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.
Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.
As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.
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.
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.
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 believed that even though individuals get pets volunteered many times after spending the initial time with them they regret their decisions and not being able to reverse this decision might also lead to increased levels of anxiety.
it is important that individuals take mindful decisions about having a pet at home and also doing the required homework and studying about the difficulties and challenges that one can face after getting a new dog.
However, it is always advisable that individuals seek professional help in cases where managing their anxiety resulting from a new dog gets out of control.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
- Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night. An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.
Frequently asked questions
Is it normal to feel anxious after getting 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.