10 Nov, 2023
Our dogs, just like humans, can experience anxiety for many different reasons. Some dogs may be triggered by loud, unanticipated noises, separation from the people that they are closest to, or being in an environment that they are unfamiliar with. As dog owners, it is part of our responsibility to first recognize the signs that our dogs are feeling anxious and then proceed to find a way to calm them down. Every dog is different, and a technique that may work for one will not necessarily work for all. In this blog article, we will go through the 8 most effective ways to ease your dog's anxiety and get them back to feeling their best.
One of the first things a new dog parent should do when bringing their pup home is to designate a spot just for them. Some dog parents will dedicate a cozy corner in a room with toys and blankets, and others may prefer to crate train. The exact specifics of your dog's space are up to you, but they should have a spot they know they can retrieve to at any time to feel comfortable and safe. This space gives them a sense of security and can significantly reduce their anxiety and stress at home.
Many dogs find comfort in soothing music. This technique is especially useful if you need to leave your dog at home alone for a few hours and are worried about their separation anxiety. There are countless dog playlists available that will help keep your dog calm while you are away. You can check out this relaxation music for dogs soundtrack as an example.
Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive when there is a sense of predictability in their day. They will be happy to know when it will be time to eat, when you will take them out for their walk, and when they will call it a night. While we can't verbally communicate this to our dogs (despite us sometimes trying), we can let them know by ensuring their days are similar in timing. This routine will really put your dog more at ease in their day-to-day life.
For many dogs, petting them is the answer to reducing their anxiety. Every dog has that spot they love most - whether it's behind their ears or their belly. Pay attention to your dog's body language the next time they are feeling stressed and anxious, and watch how it changes as you start petting them.
No matter the size or the breed of your dog, they are animals and need to run, walk, and play. If you do not give your dog the exercise they need, none of these other techniques will be effective as your dog will simply not feel their best. Take your dog out to the local dog park or for a long walk, and watch as they can go from being down and depressed to upbeat and happy. Dogs should be exercised daily, and this routine alone will help prevent your dog from becoming anxious and stressed.
Every dog has their favorite thing to chew on at home - whether it is their favorite toy, or the sock that they stole from your drawer. In times when your dog is feeling anxious, give them their favorite item while they are in their safe space. Allowing your dog to calm down on their own without always petting them is also great, as this will prepare them for situations where you may not be present.
As we know, dogs have an incredible sense of smell. Certain calming fragrances can be calming for humans, but the smell will be amplified tenfold for dogs. Scents like lavender and chamomile are known for their calming properties, and can help your dog when they are feeling anxious - this is something that you and your dog can enjoy together, which is great!
As a dog owner, you will gradually learn your dog's anxiety triggers and will learn to read your dog's body language. Once you know their triggers, it can be a good idea to expose your dog to them in a controlled environment. For example, if your dog gets anxious when there are many people around them, start by bringing them to a place where there are a few people and gradually increase it. Sometimes our dogs are scared and get anxious about things they are simply unfamiliar with, so slowly exposing them to these things can potentially eliminate your dog's anxiety triggers altog ether going forward.
CBD oil for dogs, extracted from the hemp plant, is being explored as a natural option to ease anxiety in dogs. This oil is thought to interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating mood and stress responses.