If you’re saying: “My dog is ruining my mental health.”, get the help you need below.
It seems like my dog has become a source of stress and anxiety instead of the source of comfort and companionship that I had hoped for. My dog is destructive, disobedient, and just generally unpleasant to be around. He always seems to be getting into trouble and never listens when I tell him to stop. He has even started to exhibit aggressive behavior toward me and my family members, which is extremely concerning. I have tried to train him in obedience and have taken him to the vet for a checkup, but nothing seems to be helping. I find myself getting increasingly frustrated and anxious when I’m around him, which is affecting my mental health. I’m constantly worrying about what he’s going to do next and it’s making it difficult for me to concentrate and feel relaxed. I’m not sure what to do at this point. I can’t keep living like this and don’t feel like I can give him away. I love my dog, but I’m not sure I can sacrifice my mental health for him.
If you’re struggling with your dog and it’s ruining your mental health, Dog Ownership Guide can help.
Reasons Your Dog Is Ruining Your Mental Health
There are many reasons dogs ruin people’s mental health. Understanding those reasons can help you cope better with your dog’s behavior.
One of the most common issues people have with their pups is separation anxiety. This type of anxiety can cause dogs to be a nightmare.
Many dog owners come home to ripped-up couches, chewed furniture, and puppy droppings everywhere. All because of separation anxiety.
Solving the root of the problem can help your mental health. One way to resolve separation anxiety is to try CBD for dogs.
CBD for separation anxiety in dogs is safe and effective. CBD has calming effects, so your dog won’t be so anxious while you’re away. This can help your dog’s behavior greatly.
You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about a possible anxiety disorder. Just like people, some pet dogs suffer from generalized anxiety. Prescription medication can help with that and can be combined with CBD oil.
Learn More: How Much CBD for Dog with Anxiety
House Training Troubles
One of the most frustrating parts of pet ownership is potty training. When you have a new puppy, it can be incredibly difficult to juggle pre-puppy responsibilities with the new ones such as potty training.
If there are other family members that can help with training the new puppy, elicit their help. It can make a world of difference if you can get some relief from taking your puppy out every 30 to 60 minutes.
If you’ve tried everything and your puppy is still having accidents, read Last Resort for Potty Training.
Even if your dog is potty trained, he/she is still soiling the house. This is something many pet owners deal with and there is a way to stop it.
Belly bands for male dogs are a great way to keep urine from ruining floors, furniture, and other areas of the home. Unfortunately, it’s only for male dogs.
Learn more: Pros and Cons of Belly Bands for Dogs
Female dogs may benefit from diapers. This way when you see that it’s wet, you can simply replace it with a clean one.
Even when you’re home, your new dog rips apart everything. You simply can’t take it anymore.
One thing to try if this is your situation is buying toys that provide mental stimulation. A bored pet is usually a bad pet. You can improve your dog’s behavior by keeping him/her occupied with positive behaviors such as playing with interesting toys.
The following are some of the best toys that provide a good amount of mental stimulation.
TOMAHAUK Snuffle Mat for Dogs
KADTC Pet Puzzle Toy
Dog Chew Suction Cup Tug of War Toy
Aggressive behavior towards you and others is scary and can be a huge problem legally if he/she bites someone. It’s no wonder your mental health is suffering because of our aggressive dog.
The best thing you can do to help yourself and your aggressive dog is to seek professional dog training. Professional trainers know how to communicate with a dog to teach what is right and wrong.
Always keep in mind that your dog isn’t trying to be bad. Your dog is trying to protect his territory. A trainer can help a dog understand that his territory is safe and there’s no need to be aggressive.
In addition to helping with aggression, a dog trainer can help with other behavior problems such as destructive chewing that comes from a dog’s anxiety.
If professional dog training isn’t in your budget, you may want to see if you can find some training classes. They are usually less expensive and still effective.
Dogs Can Make Depression and Anxiety Worse
Carri Westgarth, a senior lecturer in Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Liverpool conducted a study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Westworth found that people who had strong bonds with their dogs had more positive incomes like greater emotional support and companionship. Unfortunately, those that had more interactions with their dogs had worse depression and anxiety. Westgarth concluded that dogs are “not the solution for those suffering from depression and anxiety – in fact, it may make it worse in some contexts.”
How to Improve Mental Health With Your Dog
Despite the issues you’re facing, you still love your dog or you wouldn’t be here looking for a solution.
The following tips can help you if your dog is ruining your mental health.
Spending more time with your pup may help you improve your mental health and ease the negative emotions you have towards your pup. If your dog behaves at dog parks (i.e. isn’t aggressive towards other dogs), take your pup to the dog park for some friendly fun. This will not only entertain you, but it will tire your dog out so he/she will behave much better at home.
Take a Puppy Break
When you’ve been through the trenches of puppyhood, a break may be necessary. Dog sitters are available in nearly all areas of the United States and throughout the world. Find someone you trust and go on a trip.
It’s amazing how much your mental health will improve when you can step away. It’s not because you don’t want or need your dog in your life, but it’s because your batteries have to recharge.
When you return home, your pup will be so unbelievably excited to see you and you’ll likely feel the same way. If you aren’t happy when you come back, it’s because you’re still holding on to negative emotions.
Try to think through everything you’ve been dealing with your pup and remind yourself that young dogs are just like children. They don’t truly understand what is right and wrong – no matter how many times you’ve scolded them and used positive training methods.
The good thing about mental health issues is that you can work through them if you work through them. Keep that in mind during your break.
It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters. When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it. – Epictetus
Put Your Dog’s Behavior in Perspective
When you have a new dog, there is a lot going on with both you and the dog. You’re learning how to care for your new dog. Your dog is trying to learn how to live in a new house with new people.
Imagine yourself as your dog. How would you react? Chances are high that you would have a hard time adjusting as well.
It may be why it seems your new dog has an anxiety disorder or doesn’t sleep through the night. Give your pup to adjust and while it can be hard since it takes a while, know that things will calm down and you both will learn how to live with one another.
The benefits of dog ownership far exceed the temporary mental health issues that can come up as two beings learn how to love one another.
Talk to a Mental Health Professional
Puppy blues are real, but if those puppy blues start to interfere greatly in your life where you’re unable to take care of yourself, work/study, etc. talk to a mental health professional.
You may have had some mental health issues pre-puppy blues that needed to be solved. The puppy blues just exasperated them. Some people don’t realize they are suffering from a mental illness until it has become severe. Pay attention to your actions and thoughts. Do what you need to do to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, please dial the mental health hotline at 988. It’s completely confidential and they can help you. Please call them (even if you think what you’re going through isn’t that bad).
Puppies are fun and a lot of work. Even after puppyhood, some dogs continue to need a lot of coaching to understand how to behave. Give yourself time to adjust to a new stage in your pup’s life.
Post-puppy blues aren’t just about being sad because your furbaby is no longer technically a baby. It’s about looking at the situation as if your pup is self-sufficient and doesn’t need as much help. This is a myth and dog owners must know that puppy training can continue far past puppyhood.
Older Dog Bad Days
This article was mainly about puppies and adult dogs, but older dogs can be a hand full as well. There are many issues that can arise as dogs become seniors, such as incontinence and sadness over the end of your furry friend’s life.
It’s hard work to care for an older dog, but it’s worth it. Your pup has been a highlight of your life for many years. Now, you have the honor of making sure his last days on Earth are good ones – even if it takes a lot of hard work to do it.
Never be afraid to ask for help. Many pet parents hire dog sitters and/or dog walkers to help with the care of their older dogs. Since older dogs can only hold their urine for short periods, it’s good to have someone who can take your pup for a walk several times a day when you can’t do it.
Also, don’t forget your dog’s behavior can change as he/she grows older. This can mean that your daily routine may change. Be accepting of it instead of resentful towards it. It will make this time much easier to handle.
Happy Dog ~ Happy Owner
Don’t allow your pet’s behavior problems to get in the way of your mental health. Dog Ownership Guide believes Happy Dog ~ Happy Owner and that’s why we want to help you as much as possible solve the issues your pup has so you can truly enjoy life with your dog.
If you’ve tried for a really long time to make it work with your dog, it may not be the right fit. DO NOT be hard on yourself or your dog. It happens and that’s why people rehome their dogs.
For support and information on rehoming your dog, read:
We hope you’ll be able to work through the troubles you’re dealing with concerning your dog and mental health. Lean on mental health professionals and veterinarians during this difficult time.
You can even chat with a veterinarian online. Click here to learn more about that. Use code: HAPPYPETS for a free month.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions are ones that people who struggle with mental health issues because of their dog.
Can a dog make your mental health worse?
What to do if you can't cope with your dog?
Can having a dog make you depressed?