Help for a Nervous Lab

by Lee

Hi I have a black Labrador, he's 13 years old well looked after. He has always gone everywhere with us not frightened of anything. But now he is scared when traveling in cars going too fast, and very scared of loud noise. He shakes bad. Any thoughts?

Editor Comments on Help for a Nervous Labrador

As dogs age, they can experience a variety of changes, including becoming more sensitive to certain stimuli such as loud noises or fast movement. This can be due to a variety of reasons.

Here are a few possible causes and some potential solutions:

Hearing Changes: As dogs age, their hearing can become more sensitive, making loud noises more startling. If this is the case, providing a quiet, calm space for your dog during travel can be beneficial. You might also consider using noise-cancelling dog earmuffs or headphones if the noise is particularly bothersome during car rides or loud events.

Vision Changes: Changes in vision may make fast movement more frightening because your dog can't clearly see what's happening. Regular vet check-ups can help detect any changes in your dog's vision and suggest appropriate measures.

Cognitive Decline: Older dogs can also experience cognitive dysfunction, similar to dementia in humans. This can result in increased anxiety, confusion, or fear responses. If this is suspected, it's best to consult with your vet about potential treatments or ways to manage
this condition.

Pain or Discomfort: Arthritis or other age-related discomfort can make the movement of the car more stressful for your dog. If you suspect physical discomfort may be the cause, consult with your vet for potential pain management solutions.

Anxiety: Like people, dogs can develop anxieties as they age. Your vet may be able to recommend a treatment plan, which can include medication, training, or environmental changes.

Here are some general suggestions to help ease your dog's fear:

Gradual Desensitization: Slowly acclimate your dog to the fearful situation by exposing him to it at a lower, less scary level, and slowly increase the intensity as your dog becomes comfortable. Since your dog is used to riding in a car this one may not make sense in your case.

Comforting Items: Bringing along your dog's favorite toys or blanket can make him feel safer. Treat-filled toys can also distract and calm him.

Calming Products: Consider using dog-approved calming sprays or pheromones, which can help to reduce anxiety.

Professional Help: If your dog's fear continues to worsen or doesn't improve with these strategies, it may be worthwhile to consult with a professional dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist.

Remember, all these suggestions should be used in consultation with your vet. They can provide guidance based on their knowledge of your dog's specific health condition and needs.

Editor and Publisher
Labrador Retriever Guide

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