What is Performance Anxiety?
Humans often experience performance anxiety – in a boardroom meeting, giving a public speech or when writing an exam. Performance anxiety is a type of anxiety – defined as the inability to perform brought about by psychological angst and pressure. Animals, especially those who perform in shows, can also, to a lesser degree, experience a type of performance anxiety.
Symptoms of performance anxiety include:
- Glazed eyes and an inability to focus attention
- Increased heart rate and temperature
- Shaking or quivering
What Causes Performance Anxiety?
As with general anxiety in pets the causes vary. The cause may stem from genetic factors (an animal may be pre-disposed to performance anxiety), or an animal may develop anxiety disorders due to abuse it has suffered, or traumatic events such as fireworks, earthquakes and storms. Traumatic events when a dog is a puppy can also influence an animal’s susceptibility to anxiety.
Diagnosing Performance Anxiety
Speaking to your vet can help to determine the cause of your pet’s anxiety. Letting your vet know the symptoms your animal experiences during a show or before a performance can help to determine if your pet is indeed suffering from performance anxiety.
Help for Performance Anxiety
Conventional treatment for anxiety often involves anti-anxiety medication (often leading to prescription for antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs from the vet) – however these medications may have side effects and may not have been tested for use on animals.
There are many safe, yet effective natural herbal and homeopathic remedies to help soothe your pet’s anxiety without harmful side effects. In particular, many natural ingredients are used to assist with performance. Hydrocotyle asiatica (Gotu kola) is a well known nerve and memory tonic helping to promote focus and attention as well as soothe common nerves. Rosmarinus officinalis and Arthrospira platenis (Spirulina) are used to maintain healthy energy levels, support immune system and liver functioning, as well as all round systemic health.
More Information on Performance Anxiety
Tips related to performance anxiety
- The shy, timid or nervous dog is handled best when movement toward him should be made slowly and with an unconcerned air.
- The nervous dog needs a master in whom he trusts fully
- A nervous dog should not be overfed and should get plenty of exercise.
- Consult a behaviorist to help lessen excitability and anxiety before a show