The Shar Pei dog is a regal and powerful looking canine. The medium-sized dog breed has a rich ancestry that dates back centuries. They are known for their unique features, tough demeanor, and steadfast loyalty to family. However, just because they are a strong dog breed doesn't mean a pet owner should overlook signs of depression, stress, or anxiety.
Any dog owner should be concerned if their Shar Pei begins to exhibit changes in their devotion or personality. A better understanding of the Shar Pei breed's roots can help manage their anxiety.
Your Intelligent and Loyal Shar Pei
According to the American Kennel Club, the Chinese Shar Pei is an outstanding guard dog because they are loyal and protective.
The Shar Pei breed is an ancient breed that goes back more than two millennia to the Han Dynasty of China. That history is a significant part of their appeal to dog lovers across the globe. Also, who can resist the cuteness factor of a Shar Pei puppy?
Shar Pei dogs are also intelligent creatures, their intellect comparable to the golden retriever, Basset hound, or Belgian Malinois. The Shar Pei is also considered compact for its size and praised for its glossy, short hair.
The Shar Pei is a wise and proud breed, but they can still experience mental health issues. You have to pay close attention to them, whether they are a rescue dog, service animal, or purebred puppy. A general understanding of dog anxiety will better prepare you for unwanted behavior or unexplained personality changes.
Signs Your Shar Pei May Have Anxiety
General symptoms of canine anxiety include but aren't limited to: chewing on furniture, tearing through the garbage, or ruining your sofa cushions, mattresses, clothing, and shoes.
Other symptoms of dog anxiety include excessive whining, barking, drooling, defecating or urinating around the house, howling, digging, pacing, panting, or trying to escape.
A behavior problem you should pay attention to is increased aggression towards you, household members, or other pets. Depending on the intensity of the aggressive behavior, your veterinarian may suggest further tests. A vicious attitude could be a sign of a deeper problem.
To properly treat the anxiety, it's recommended you figure out what the root cause is. Your first step is differentiating between the different types of anxiety. Does your Shar Pei have separation anxiety? Or is their stress related to medical issues, aging, or fear?
What is Separation Anxiety?
Dog separation anxiety can reveal itself even when you are still home. Is your Shar Pei experiencing distress when you are getting ready to leave the house? That is usually an early sign of separation anxiety.
Thanks to studies on canine intelligence levels, dog lovers and animal advocates have learned that dogs can understand just as much about the world around them as two and three-year-old toddlers. They can understand the routine you have developed before heading out of the house. That means your dog can sense when you're preparing to leave and when you won't be taking them with you, whether planning to be at work for eight hours or leaving for a weekend. Often, the fear of such separation can cause them to act out.
Severe Separation Anxiety
In extreme fear-related situations, your Shar Pei might be so afraid of being alone that the separation anxiety they have could transfer to include line-of-sight. What does that mean? It could mean your loyal canine companion gets anxious when you leave the room. Ever gone to the bathroom only to have them follow you? Does taking out the garbage turn into a fiasco? If so, your poor pup might be experiencing extreme separation anxiety.
If your Shar Pei is experiencing severe separation anxiety, it's best to consult a veterinarian for possible treatment options. Thinking about alternative treatment includes learning more about holistic health. It requires you to consider the overall well-being of your Shar Pei, including their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Aging is rough on everyone and can be extremely tough for an older dog. Especially when your doggo is an energetic, active pet who loves to play, move, and explore. Your Shar Pei's joints will begin to ache, their eyesight may not be so sharp, and their hearing could decline.
These age-related issues are enough to cause any person anxiety, let alone a sweet adult dog who doesn't understand why it can't do what it used to.
Changes in an aging pet's routine are necessary when their bodies begin to slow down. Caring for senior dogs can be challenging, but they can have a happy life with proper support and structure.
When frightened, some dogs might cower and try to hide, while others start violently barking. Their reaction often depends on the cause of their anxiety.
Is your Shar Pei afraid of the vacuum? Do they jump at loud noises? These may seem trivial, but they can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing the vacuum cord or attacking it while it's in use.
Fortunately, there are things you can do with your Shar Pei to help manage their fear-related anxiety. First and foremost, you must practice patience. Dog training, in all its forms, requires a calm and collected dog trainer and pet parent.
Does your Shar Pei have allergies? Stress and anxiety can also stem from a health issue. It's good to familiarize yourself with different types of canine allergies so you can identify the problem.
For example, it's tough to narrow down a food allergy. Dog food can be a mixed bag, meaning you need to figure out which ingredient is the culprit for the canine food allergy. Consulting a dog nutrition expert will make your shopping experience easier.
Seasonal allergies are also common. If you notice your Shar Pei has itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, excessive drooling, sneezing, or irritated skin, these could be signs of seasonal allergies. Rashes or sensitive dermal areas on your little doggy could be an allergic reaction to certain foods or the result of grooming products like shampoos, soaps, or detergents.
Familial Shar Pei Fever is an auto-inflammatory disease that affects over twenty percent of Chinese Shar Peis. It's an inherited disease related to the structure of their facial skin. The striking, heavily wrinkled, and folded skin on their face causes an over-production of hyaluronic acid in the uppermost layer of the dermal tissue. The fragmented hyaluronic acid production triggers the immune system, causing chronic inflammation. If your Shar Pei is experiencing reoccurring fevers or their joints appear swollen, please seek veterinarian assistance as soon as possible.
How to Help Your Shar Pei Manage Separation Anxiety
The initial recommendations for managing your doggo's anxiety include various physical activities. It's also good to begin mental stimulation games with your Shar Pei. That is in addition to any physical activity you have incorporated into their daily routine. Fortunately, you are covering all your bases if you use physical, mental, and homeopathic remedies to manage your spirited pet's stress and anxiety.
Keeping Your Shar Pei Calm
A reward system is fine, so long as your dog won't expect a treat every time they behave. While regular treats are great, if you want something to help your Shar Pei relax, you should consider calming Zen treats.
Research has shown the calming benefits of CBD for canines. From helping them with physical ailments to allowing them to calm down and rest, CBD could be the remedy your dog is missing.
Another way to relieve your Shar Pei's stress is by providing them with a comfortable, safe space, like a therapy bed. When your four-legged family member feels safe, they are more likely to relax. A calming cuddle bed might be just the ticket.
Physical Activities To Ease Your Shar Pei’s Anxiety
New environments, people, toys, and activities can be thrilling for your doggo. If your Shar Pei gets extra-hyper over something new, don't worry. It's natural for your pup to express happiness when they get to play. You should be cautious of negative behaviors, such as aggression, biting, humping, and similar excitable actions. These are all signs that playtime is getting out of control.
Remember that you should consult a veterinarian before beginning any intense exercise regimen with your dog. They can help to develop realistic goals and safe physical activities for your Shar Pei so you don't accidentally hurt your precious friend
Doctors recommend walking because of the health benefits the activity provides. It's a low-impact exercise, and studies have shown it can strengthen the joints as people age.
Canines enjoy many of the same health benefits from daily walks. After incorporating more walks into your Shar Pei's routine, don't be surprised if they appear calmer and more relaxed throughout the day. Outdoor, low-intensity adventures are a great way to help your dog stay active while giving them a healthy outlet for releasing any anxiety they could be carrying.
Jogging and Running
This activity could be perfect for your Shar Pei if you run several times a week already. It all depends on how physical your Shar Pei is typically throughout the week. It's not recommended you bring your furry friend for a run every day, you don't want to overload your little pup, but one to three runs a week at a steady pace can be very beneficial.
Believe it or not, dogs can befriend each other. If your Shar Pei gets separation anxiety, they might need a little boost in socialization. Bringing them to the dog park is a great way to help them release mental and physical energy.
Interactions with other friendly dogs can have immediate and long-term benefits to their overall emotional well-being. Plus, you know your spirited doggy will be getting exercise, lots of playtimes, and more social interactions all wrapped up in one visit to the dog park.
Any veterinarian will tell you that physical therapy for your pet is just as important as their nutritional needs. Physical therapy is usually a series of low-impact or low-intensity stretches and exercises. However, you can also base workouts on what kind of activities your Shar Pei already likes doing. For instance, do they like to jump? Do they like dragging or pushing heavy objects? Do they like playing with yoga balls?
If so, investing in some pet-friendly exercise equipment could be in order. A low trampoline will have your jumping Shar Pei's tongue wagging with joy. If they like pushing or pulling things, a few sessions with a weighted sled will strengthen their body and calm their brain.
Yoga balls, especially colorful ones, can hold a dog's attention for some time. Experimenting with different sizes or even a Bosu ball will give you an idea of which yoga ball your dog will be the most active with.
Brain Game Activities To Help With Your Shar Pei's Anxiety
Did you know you can strengthen your bond with your Shar Pei while simultaneously treating their anxiety?
It's good to encourage physical activity with your dog but mental stimulation games, including partner activities, are a great way to nurture the pet owner and canine relationship. After all, dogs love when their adoring human parent pays attention to them.
Dog - Human Interactive Play
Have you ever gotten down on all fours and play-wrestled with your cuddle bug? Play tug-o-war over a rope? Fetching games such as disc dog, classic fetch, wrestling, dancing, hopping, or leading and participating in group exercise, are all considered interactive play.
Playing with your dog is enough to feed their emotional needs. They get your attention while you ensure they reach a certain level of physical activity.
If your Shar Pei likes to catch the Frisbee or bring back the tennis ball, try and make the time to do this activity with them as often as possible. These interactions will have a positive impact on your dogs' anxiety levels.
Mental Stimulation Games
Command games using light and sound devices are a fun way of measuring your Shar Pei's vocab. Dog puzzles and card games are also mentally stimulating games you can do with your Shar Pei. If you notice your Shar Pei enjoys these activities, there is a method to choose the best puzzle or card game.
Dogs have dichromatic vision, which means they can only see the colors blue and yellow. The rest of the colors on the spectrum are typically different shades of gray or might be slightly blurry for them.
What type of colors does your Shar Pei notice the most? Your Shar Pei may have more fun with the dog toys, exercise equipment, Frisbees, discs, and games if those objects are colors they can see. Bright hues stimulate the optic nerves and brain, especially when the surrounding colors are black, white, and gray.
Dog Training: Cognitive and Behavioral
Have you tried all the tips on this list, but your Shar Pei is still struggling with their anxiety? Improving your Shar Pei's attitude and behavior may require the help of a professional dog trainer. An expert in canine behavior will have the knowledge and tools necessary for obedience, socialization, or counterconditioning training.
After studying your pup and how they interact with you, a dog training specialist will determine which behavior modification training would be best.
Obedience training, for instance, focuses on teaching your Shar Pei good listening skills. Your Shar Pei might need specialized social training if your furry companion has difficulty socializing with other animals or people.
Counterconditioning training is often coupled with desensitization techniques to help decrease and eliminate your dog's negative behaviors. Please seek professional advice before attempting this type of training.
Don't Forget Calming Products For Your Dog's Anxiety!
Calming dog treats and fluffy therapy beds aren't the only items that can help your dog's anxiety. Scented card inserts also fit into pre-made pockets within your pet's cuddle bed. These calming inserts offer some scent therapy for your canine.
Giving your Shar Pei a chance to decompress from their stress and anxiety does wonder for their quality of life. So, be sure to stay updated on all the latest calming dog products that your adorable canine companions will love!