To know how to calm an anxious dog, you need to know why a dog becomes stressed. Let’s find where this anxiety comes from and what to do…
By taking this approach, you will find that you can help your dog “unwind” so it does not feel afraid or nervous.
Learning what triggers anxiety will make you a better owner and help you develop a better rapport with your dog.
Dogs exhibit behavioral problems when they feel stressed. To decrease anxiety in dogs, you need to review the behavior and find out what is causing your dog to act irrationally.
Some canines may react by exhibiting separation anxiety, while other dogs may show aggression.
To decrease anxiety in dogs, you must keep them mentally or physically occupied. Dogs are social creatures that require social interaction and engagement.
They also need to stay active, so they do not become bored.
When you distract your dog to the point that he remains calm, you know that you have reduced his stress in his life.
How To Calm An Anxious Dog Naturally
It would help if you practiced the following measures to make sure your canine friend feels calmer:
Provide Your Dog with Regular Exercise
Ensure your dog receives regular exercise so he feels more at ease.
You can decrease dogs’ stress by taking them on a walk, playing with them, or taking them to a nearby dog park.
Dogs also benefit from swimming or running along while you are cycling. When you relieve your dog’s daily stress, you give him the gift of a much longer life.
Provide a Form of Mental Stimulation
Stimulating your canine friend mentally can be just as good as physical exercise.
Again, a dog can become stressed when bored, which causes him to act out.
To combat this problem, you need to provide him with an array of toys or items that entice him to work toward receiving a reward or a special treat.
Check out these Dog Toys for dealing with boredom…
Train Your Pup in a Crate
When your dog is young, you should train him in a crate where he will feel safe. If you want to transport your pet and decrease anxiety in dogs safely, this is the way to do it.
Just like a den for a wolf, the crate represents a place where a dog or puppy feels cozy and safe.
This form of transport can be a safe place for your dog while traveling.
While it may sound far-fetched, yoga for canines can reduce doggy stress. This practice, also known as dog you, is gaining much popularity.
Both puppies and their owners practice yoga together, which builds a better bond between an owner and their dog.
Calming poses are practiced along with gentle massages and stretching methods.
The owner and his dog will feel a lot better after the conclusion of the class.
Give Your Dog a Security Blanket
If you want to decrease anxiety in dogs, it helps to give them a blanket – a flannel blanket that will warm them and make them feel more secure in the world.
Add a stuffed toy or a special treat to show that they are loved and that they are a special friend.
Use a blanket that already holds your scent to reassure your loyal and valued friend.
Introduce a Peaceful or Calming Background Noise
Your pet will feel less stressed, as well, if you add background noise, such as a classical music tune, to calm him.
Doing so will provide a type of atmosphere that is not only calming but soothing. This type of introduction will give your pet reassurance while you are away.
You may also consider leaving on the TV to provide companionship for your pet.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Pets pick up on emotions — especially their owner’s feelings — when they are feeling distressed.
Therefore, it is essential to maintain a positive attitude toward your pet. If he thinks you are sad or angry, he will also pick up on your mood and become stressed.
To decrease anxiety in dogs, you need to keep this in mind. Never give your pet a treat if you are feeling upset, lest he thinks he is getting rewarded for your behavior.
Make sure you first calm your own emotions and overcome your upset.
Desensitize Your Dog to the Reason for the Stress
To decrease anxiety in dogs, you also need to stop the trigger for stress.
For instance, maybe your dog reacts badly each time he is introduced to other dogs his size. If you notice this happening, you should avoid the practice.
Instead, teach your animal to dogs that are smaller or smaller-sized, less intimidating pets.
This should be done in a controlled and closed environment.
Place Your Dog on Your Lap
If your dog is smaller, you may want to place him on your lap to relieve his stress.
Again, dogs are social animals and feel more secure when they know you actively engage with them.
Sitting on your lap will reassure him that you are there – comforting him. If your dog is more extensive, you may think about giving him a blanket and wrapping him in it.
A blanket serves as a cocoon, making him feel much less stressed.
Do Not Give Your Dog Sedatives
Never give your dog medications to reduce his anxiety. Instead, find more natural and safer alternatives.
Check with your veterinarian for the answer. Some dogs suffer from panic attacks during events, such as thunderstorms or when fireworks are going off.
It would help if you were ready to comfort him during these activities.
If a pet is given medications during these times, he may become disoriented – something you do not want to happen.
A pet’s disorientation may lead to a health problem or a potential injury.
How To Calm An Anxious Dog Naturally
Instead of sedatives, learning to bond with your pet and make him feel more at ease is more important.
After all, you probably consider him a best friend. Please do not give him anything that may make him feel confused or put him in more danger.
Now that you know what you can do to alleviate stress in your canine’s life, you need to learn more about some of the symptoms associated with canine stress.
Dog owners do not realize that stress is a common issue in dogs today. That is because dogs are exposed to the same stress that affects their owners.
Therefore, they may suffer in the same way.
Symptoms of an Anxious Dog
Some of the symptoms that are related to doggy anxiety include the following:
- Diarrhea, Constipation, or Another Digestive Problem
If your dog has problems with constipation, diarrhea, or stomach upset, he may be suffering the symptoms as a result of anxiety.
If the stomach upset lasts longer than 24 hours, you need to speak with your vet and obtain a consultation.
- A Lack of Appetite
Just like nervous humans, dogs with stress disorders often have eating problems.
If your dog is not eating his food or loses interest in consuming treats, you need to contact your veterinarian about the behavior.
While stress may be the culprit, he may also be experiencing an underlying health problem. Even dogs can suffer from anorexia, leading to drastic weight loss.
Any time you notice your dog is not eating correctly must contact a veterinarian immediately.
- Isolating Himself
Dogs are social animals.
Therefore, any form of isolation should be investigated further.
- Additional Sleeping
If a dog regularly sleeps through the night but wants to sleep at other times, he may be anxious, injured, or sick.
Other conditions that contribute to lengthy sleeping include heart or liver disorders, diabetes, diarrhea, tumors, or hypothyroidism.
Anemia, poisoning, or dehydration can also lead to lethargy.
- Increased Aggression
A stressed or nervous dog may show aggression toward other dogs or people. This is a sure sign that your dog is either anxious or sick.
Dogs usually like to offer a friendly demeanor. Therefore, this diversion from the norm deserves further assessment.
You should consult an animal behaviorist or your vet before an aggression problem worsens.
Some signs of aggression may include a fearful facial expression or body posture.
If you do find that anxiety is the cause of your dog’s aggression, you will need to schedule an appointment with a dog trainer or behaviorist to manage his behavior.
Aggressive treatments are designed to support a dog, so he feels less angry.
Some devices, such as muzzles, keep a dog’s actions in check when you are walking or with your dog and meeting other people.
A muzzle enables you to protect your dog from self-injury and any problems with injuries to other animals or people.
Taking Care of Dog’s Anxiety
The above information has already focused on how you can help your dog. You must ensure you address an anxiety issue as quickly as possible.
In some instances, an underlying health issue may cause his stress. Your vet, in this case, can assist you in finding ways to lower the dog’s stress level.
Keep in mind that a stressed dog does not usually feel safe. Therefore, any activity that makes him feel safer will help.
You can make your dog feel more loved and secure by providing a haven or giving him a towel or blanket.
Also, it is imperative, as noted, to play and exercise with your dog daily. Physical activities, including the game of fetch, are great ways to alleviate any feelings of anxiety.
Do not forget your dog’s nutrition, either. Sometimes, dogs do not feel calm because they are fed the wrong foods.
Just like humans, some foods may make them feel stressed or hyper. If you are unsure what to feed your dog, ask your veterinarian for advice.
They can direct you to commercial products that offer adequate nutrition for dogs. It would help if you also told your vet what you are feeding your dog.
Some foods are not canine-friendly.
Therefore, it is a good idea to ensure that all the foods you give your dog will meet his needs for calories and nutrition.
Calming Your Anxious Dog
While people may consider their dogs an instrumental part of their household, they should still refrain from giving them the same foods to eat.
Doing so can affect a dog mentally and physically, as a dog’s system differs from a human’s anatomy.
That is why you should use care in selecting foods for your dog to eat. A mere switch along these lines can great significantly your dog and relieve any anxious feelings.
Ensure you provide your dog with a nutritionally balanced diet for their stage of life.
Doing so will prevent specific health issues from surfacing and stress and anxiety.
Besides the above prescriptions for care, you also need to check the following:
If you notice that your dog paces a good deal, you need to contact your vet about a stress problem. Other dogs may shake more than usual.
While it is perfectly normal for a dog to shake after he rolls in the grass, it is not expected at other times. Dogs may shake or pace repeatedly if they feel agitated.
Make sure you check the problem or find the reason for the turmoil.
- Barking or Whining
A tense or afraid dog may be barking to get your attention – attention that will help him feel more soothed.
- Drooling, Licking, or Yawning
If a dog yawns, licks, or drools to extremes, it may feel stressed. Any nervous reaction can lead to these types of behaviors.
- Alterations in the Ears or Eyes
Stressed dogs are like nervous people, as they may blink a lot when they are anxious, or their pupils may become dilated, exhibiting more of the whites of the eyes.
Some dogs appear startled when they feel nervous.
- A Change in Posture
If a dog is stressed, he may shift all his weight to his back leg.
Other times, he may cower. A scared dog will become stiff or tuck his tail under.
A show dog that is nervous during a show will often shed a good deal.
Other dogs also experience excess shedding when they are feeling anxious.
While a dog often pants when he is feeling hot, he may also do so when he feels anxious. If you notice that your dog is panting and has not exercised, he may feel stressed.
He may also be sick. In either case, you need to contact your vet about the behavior.
- A Change in Bodily Functions
If your dog urinates more than usual or he has a problem with diarrhea, he may be under too much stress.
If you notice that his bodily functions have changed, you must take measures to help him.
- Showing Avoidance
If your dog faces an unwelcome situation, he may try to avoid the circumstances around the event or escape the area.
Some dogs sniff the ground or will turn away.
If your dog avoids it, you must find out why and do something about it immediately.
Another form of avoidance, a dog will hide as well when he feels anxious or stressed.
Some dogs feel so much tension that they hide behind their owner’s legs. Your dog may even nudge you to move away from the area.
If he is exhibiting this behavior, you need to find out why he feels the way he does.
Some other diversion activities may include circling, digging, or slinking behind a parked car or a nearby tree.
As you can see, stress can affect dogs in various ways.
You must be somewhat of an investigator if your dog exhibits unusual behavior.
By taking a proactive stance, you can get to the bottom of the problem and help your pet.
Find out more about what induces stress to protect your well-loved pet.