7 Ways To Calm an Anxious Dog
Similar to humans, dogs can also suffer from nervousness and anxiety. And, also similar to humans, every dog may have a different trigger. For some, it could be meeting new humans or other dogs, or being left alone (separation anxiety), or even loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms.
One of the keys to calming anxiety in your dog is figuring out exactly what triggers the behavior.
It can take a lot of patience and understanding to work with an anxiety-ridden pup but try to understand that the situation is just as frustrating and scary for your dog as it is for you.
Once you have an idea about what triggers the nervous behavior in your dog, you can take steps in attempting to diffuse the situation. It's important to note, however, that not all dogs are going to respond well (if at all) to certain calming techniques. It's always a good idea to speak with your veterinarian before introducing anything new into your dog's diet or lifestyle, and, depending on severity, discuss what treatment options may be available for your dog's anxiety.
1. Exercise Daily
Exercise is recommended for ALL dogs, not just anxious ones. However, if your dog has too much pent-up energy from not getting enough exercise during the day, it can make nervousness and anxiety much worse.
Furthermore, it has been found that dogs also benefit from a post-exercise endorphin high. Endorphins are the feel-good hormone released after exercise that aid in boosting mood and relieving pain or stress. Exercise can also boost serotonin levels which help make your dog feel calm and sleepy. A calm, sleepy and happy pup has much less energy to devote to his anxiety triggers.
2. Use Calming Treats for Dogs
Another thing to try is an all-natural calming treat to help your jittery pup. Our soft chew formula is infused with hemp oil and made with organic chamomile, passion flower, valerian root and tryptophan. Because the ingredients are naturally derived and safe for your pet, this is one "treat" you can feel good about giving.
What our customers love about these treats (besides the results!) is that they work to help calm and comfort their dogs without making them lethargic. Most report that it helps "take the edge off" so their dog can relax in situations that would otherwise stress them out.
See what our customers have to say and give them a try today!
3. Give Your Dog Physical Contact
For some dogs, simply being close to their human will be enough to to provide comfort and a feeling of safety in a stressful situation. When stressed or anxious, some dogs may be more prone to withdraw, but others may not want to leave your side. Isolating a stressed out dog who wants to be near you will only make the problem worse, so try to honor your pup and provide them the human comfort they desire. Besides, who doesn't love a good snuggle with their pup?
4. Channel Nervous Energy with Toys or Bones
Does your dog have a favorite toy or bone? Using a most-loved item during a stressful time may also help comfort and calm your pup. If your dog is a nervous chewer or barker, perhaps providing a shiny new bone or chew toy will be a good distraction. This way your dog can channel some of that nervous energy into the toy rather than your living room rug, for example.
5. Provide a Safe Place
Some dogs simply crave a familiar and safe space to unwind. This could be a kennel or even your bedroom or bathroom. If your dog does not want to be glued to your side, try giving him a "time out" that is free from stimulation and distractions. Make the space as calming and quiet as possible and it just may help put your pup at ease.
6. Use Essential Oils
Aromatherapy has a multitude of benefits for humans, and, as it turns out, for pets too! Lavender has long been known to promote relaxation and even your dog may benefit from this sweet smelling oil. If you have a diffuser, look for pure lavender essential oil. You'll want to stay away from the cheaper oils with lots of additives as they will not work as well as the real deal.
7. Lead By Example
Remember, not all dogs will react favorably to these calming methods, and that is to be expected. Every dog is different, every case of anxiety is different, and every trigger may be different. Sometimes the problem could be deeper than you even know, and it's always a good idea to seek a professional opinion when it comes to managing your pet's behavior.
As frustrating as the situation may be, the worst thing you can do is get worked up yourself. Dogs are extremely sensitive and intuitive, and they will be able to sense your anger, frustration or anxiety surrounding the situation. Your anxious behavior will only worsen the problem so remember to stay calm and continue providing your pet with lots of love and support.