Like humans, anxiety can affect your pup, so you’ll be left thinking, “how can I relax my dog?” From past trauma to sounds in or around your home, many things could cause your dog to become anxious.
The best way to relax your dog is to find the underlying factor for their anxiety and look for methods such as exercise, calming coats, and supplements to calm them, depending on the situation and what works.
In this article, we’ll cover these methods and more so that you can help your best friend relax during stressful times.
We know you searched “how can I relax my dog?” but before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at some common anxiety causes.
What Makes Dogs Anxious?
As heartbreaking as it is, one of the most common reasons for anxiety in dogs is abandonment and abuse, followed by loud noises, traveling, and other pets. Some pets also get anxious when left home alone, and others don’t like being around strangers.
Signs of Anxiety in Dogs
Sometimes, it can be hard to know if your dog is anxious or acting out for other reasons. Some common signs that your pup might be suffering from anxiety include the following:
- Constant whining
- Excessive barking
- Hostile or docile behavior
- Chewing everything in sight
- Loss of appetite
If your dog shows several of the signs listed above, you should consider that they may have anxiety. Now that we’ve identified the symptoms, we can move on to methods you can use to address them.
Some dogs can become anxious when they don’t get enough physical activity, especially larger breeds like huskies and golden retrievers. If you know your dog is not getting enough exercise, try to make time in your day to take them on a walk or play fetch with them.
If you’re a runner, try to take them with you whenever possible; this will not only keep their anxiety at bay but also help your pup stay in shape — not to mention that you’ll probably have a better time while on your run.
Exercise can help your pup release pent-up energy and strengthen your bond with them, making their anxiety much less common while you’re inside relaxing. Like humans use exercise to relieve stress, it does the same for our furry companions.
Physical Contact with Your Pup
Dogs, for the most part, love human touch. From pets to belly rubs and those much-needed scratches, physical contact with your pup can help soothe their anxiety by making them feel safer.
If you’ve adopted a dog that isn’t keen on human touch, they may have been mistreated in the past. Be patient and slowly reintroduce them to physical contact to ensure your safety and emotional state. Eventually, you’ll find that your pup will start to cuddle up with you on the couch or at bedtime!
Like your typical head scratches or belly rubs, massages may help your dog relax. We use massages to relieve tension and stress that gets trapped within our bodies, so why wouldn’t it work for our dogs as well?
Give your pup the spa treatment and watch them relax as they’ve never relaxed before.
Differently from a human massage, you should keep one hand on your pup while the other massages to keep them relaxed. Over time, you may be able to identify where your dog carries the most stress so you can focus more on that area.
We know the wonders music can do for us and our anxieties, but did you know that our furry friends love a good song just as much as we do? Music can be calming during high-stress situations like vacuuming your home or during long car rides.
Not surprisingly, studies have shown that dogs prefer classical music. Dogs who listen to classical music display fewer signs of stress than in a kennel and even a dead-quiet room.
If you’re a musician, this is the perfect way to ensure you’re staying on top of your practice sessions; if you’re not musically gifted, this is an excellent way to get started!
If picking up an instrument isn’t for you, just sit back and relax with your pup while you listen to your favorite artists.
Another way to calm your dog is by getting them a calming jacket. These coats apply mild, constant pressure to a dog’s torso to simulate being held. Calming jackets are recommended for dogs with anxieties that stem from car rides, separation, noise, or strangers.
Though we would love nothing more than to stay home every day with our dogs or take them with us everywhere we go, that’s not possible for everyone. If your dog struggles with being alone and you have no choice but to leave them at home, this will be your best option — especially if you live in a noisier area or if you’re away during holidays like the Fourth of July.
These jackets come in various sizes that will fit almost any dog breed. Some even come with a little patch near the front so you can apply a calming oil for boosted effects.
There are also effective calming treats available if your pup gets anxious during things like going to the groomers. Some you can get at any store, but they also make CBD for dogs if you’re looking for something a little more potent — what you choose depends on your dog’s anxiety severity.
You can start with simple treats and move on to CBD-based ones if the first type doesn’t affect your pup.
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