Nobody likes to see a loved one looking anxious, especially when it’s our beautiful Boston Terriers that are anxious!
Anxiety in dogs is prevalent, especially among smaller breeds like Boston Terriers.
Anxiety in dogs is prevalent, especially among smaller breeds like Boston Terriers. According to the Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine, separation anxiety is thought to affect 20 to 40 percent of dogs.
My Boston Terrier, Nickel, has a particularly hard time with loud noises, whether that is me vacuuming or loud thunder.
We’ve tried multiple things to relax her, which I’ll be sharing later on!
How Do I Know My Boston Terrier Is Anxious?
Some of our Boston Terriers are easy to read, while others will try to hide their agitation and anxiety.
Here are a few symptoms of anxiety in dogs that you can look out for:
- Hiding or crouching (Nickel will hide under my bed)
- Relieving themselves inside the house
- Barking or howling
- Unusual destruction, whether that is chewing things up, digging, or destroying objects
- Being attached to the hip with you or preventing you from leaving them
- Coprophagia – When your Boston Terrier defecates then consumes it, typically when you are away or out of the room
Other than these signs, always trust your gut as you will know what is most unusual for your Boston Terrier!
It’s also prudent to have your Boston Terrier regularly checked out to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing these symptoms.
Anxiety #1 Loud Noises
Loud noises can be jarring for anyone, humans and dogs alike. We’ve all jumped at a sudden crash or loud thunder, which is why it’s so essential for us to be kind to our nervous, furry friends.
Loud noises are considered fear-related anxiety because to our Boston Terriers, the sound is unexplained and potentially harmful to them.
When I’m vacuuming, Nickel is aware of where the noise is coming from, but she doesn’t understand that the vacuum won’t run up and hurt her in any way.
This kind of auditory stimuli creates fear, and it’s vital that we calmly react to the noise ourselves and comfort our Boston Terrier.
Anxiety #2 The Veterinarian
One common anxiety in dogs is going to the veterinarian for their regular checkups.
While this isn’t something Nickel experiences, as she adores meeting people and the attention from our friendly veterinary clinic. Many dogs do experience heightened anxiety at the veterinary office.
The main reason for their anxiety is likely due to the new environment, new people, and being poked and prodded.
I can definitely relate to that last one!
Canine Professionals recommends something counterintuitive when dealing with your anxious Boston Terrier…
What Not To Do At The Veterinarians
DO NOT pet your Boston Terrier to try and soothe them. This often sets off alarms for them that something terrible might be coming, or it could reward their scared behavior over time.
The Canine Professionals witnessed one woman’s dog progressively increase in fearfulness after she constantly petted her dog to calm them down.
They recommend not petting your dog or not increasing the frequency that you would pet them to avoid encouraging their nervousness.
What To Do At The Veterinarian’s Office Instead
If you have a Boston Terrier who is fearful of the vet, you need to do these three things when heading to the clinic.
- Go For A Long Walk Before Leaving Your Home
- Pet, Rub, and Play Before Getting In The Car
- Explore The Area Around The Vet’s Offices Before Going In
Go For A Long Walk Before Leaving Your Home
Going for a long walk before going to the veterinarian will help tire your Boston, causing them to become relaxed. Ideally, you will take them for a 30-minute walk.
Pet, Rub, and Play Before Getting In The Car
The goal of this step is to help eliminate the need for pets and rubs at the veterinarian’s office. Remember, petting your Boston at the office could help reinforce the fear.
Explore The Area Around The Vet’s Offices Before Going In
Exploring the veterinarian’s office surroundings allows for several things. First, it gives your dog time to become familiar with the area.
Second, your Boston is getting a little more exercise, allowing her to calm a bit more before walking into the office.
Lastly, now your Boston can associate the animal clinic with some fun exploration.
Anxiety #3 Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety occurs when an owner or “safe person” is away from their Boston Terrier.
Separation anxiety may also occur from a change in schedule, such as someone working longer or unusual hours while their Boston is at home waiting for them.
If you are the sole owner and provider for your Boston Terrier with no other pets, you are at an increased risk of having a Boston who develops separation anxiety.
For more tips specific to separation anxiety, check out our other article How To Help Your Boston Terrier With Separation Anxiety.
Anxiety #4 Storms And Precipitation
Some Boston Terriers, like my Nickel, are not only anxious about the loud noises that storms can bring, but they’re also concerned about walking or being in the rain.
When I try to take Nickel out to relieve herself, and the ground is wet, she is very nervous and will try to drag me back inside.
She also hides, even when the rain is not noisy.
What We Do To Help
What we have done to improve this is to give Nickel melatonin treats. They have a low dose of melatonin that visibly calms her down and also helps her to sleep through storms.
My favorite brand is Naturvet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog Soft Chews, which are rated as an Amazon favorite with over 2100 reviews!
These work amazingly for Nickel!
Anxiety #5 Age-Related Anxiety
It’s unfortunately common for some Boston Terriers to develop geriatric anxiety as they age. This late-onset anxiety comes with a steady increase in irritability and sensitivity in older dogs.
According to the American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (ASPCA), the following symptoms could be a sign your Boston Terrier is developing geriatric behavioral problems, including anxiety:
- Anxiety before you leave, signs like trembling, sadness, panting, and pacing
- Destruction of household things, especially at exit points like windows and doors
- Not eating unless you are around
- Soiling inside the house or their crate
- Loud vocalizing as you leave
Many of these symptoms are a result of increased fear of new people, pets, or noise sensitivity. This causes them to be more vocal, and decreased tolerance of touch or being restrained in their usual crate.
If you believe your Boston Terrier might be experiencing geriatric anxiety. You must have them checked out by your trusted veterinary technician to rule out other possible health issues that could be causing this development of anxiety.
Remedies For Your Boston Terrier’s Anxiety
Fortunately, there are many ways to soothe your Boston Terrier when they have anxiety!
This can range from supplements to medications to environmental changes.
Treatment Options For Your Boston Terrier:
- Melatonin – As we discussed earlier, I give Nickel melatonin treats to soothe her during loud storms or occasionally when I’m vacuuming. The NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Dog Aid Soft Chews are recommended for thunderstorms, fireworks, travel, and more. We find these work great!
- Give Your Boston Terrier “Jobs” – make sure they have plenty to do! Provide them with toys, exercise, puzzle toys, and new activities to keep them stimulated and distracted.
- Hemp Oil – Hemp oil is currently a hot topic for humans and animals alike. Many find the effects of this oil very calming and good for joint pain too!
- Watch YOUR Behavior – if you punish your Boston Terrier for their anxiety, this is more apt to make them fearful. They are not destroying things or soiling the house for fun, but out of intense stress. Relax and reassure them that everything is okay.
- Crate Training – Make their crate a safe place that they love and look forward to being in. This may resolve some of their fear when you are away or be comforting to them during a storm.
- Anti-anxiety medication – Talk to your veterinary professional and see if this is a good option for your Boston Terrier’s anxiety.
Anxiety is a horrible thing to feel, and watching your beloved Boston Terrier have anxiety can be very upsetting.
Overall, I’ve found Nickel’s anxiety over loud noises to decrease significantly with a melatonin-soft chew. As well as a safe place (usually my bed with plenty of blankets), and a patient & calm demeanor from me when I’m interacting with her.
Be patient with your Boston Terrier as you work through the best treatment for their anxiety, and you will have their eternal thanks!