Tips & Tricks

How to Calm Your Dog’s Anxiety Naturally

As a dog owner, few things are more heartbreaking than seeing your furry friend in distress. Anxiety can manifest in various ways, from pacing and whining to antisocial behaviors. While it’s a natural response to perceived threats, excessive anxiety can be detrimental to your dog’s well-being. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies that can help calm your canine companion without resorting to medication.

What’s Dog Anxiety

Before we delve into the natural solutions, let’s first understand what dog anxiety is and why it occurs. Anxiety, whether in humans or dogs, is a physical response to a perceived threat. It’s an evolutionary mechanism that prepares the body to react quickly in dangerous situations. However, sometimes, this response can be disproportionate and unhelpful, leading to problematic anxiety.

Dogs can develop anxiety for various reasons, such as trips to the vet, storms, separation from their owners, or even interactions with other dogs. The symptoms are easy to spot, including pacing, whining, crying, and antisocial behaviors.

dog is on the couch

1. Behavioral Therapy

If your dog is acting out due to anxiety, consider seeking the help of a behavioral therapist. Unlike obedience school, behavioral therapy focuses on identifying the triggers of your pet’s anxiety and improving the relationship between you and your furry friend.

In these therapy sessions, the therapist will ask you questions to gain insights into your pet’s environment and situation. Based on their findings, they may recommend natural remedies, anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants in addition to behavioral techniques.

2. Distraction and Redirection

Are there particular situations that trigger your animal’s anxiety, such as loud noises, storms, or fireworks? If so, try distracting and redirecting their attention. Engage them in activities they enjoy, like playing fetch, offering mentally stimulating toys, or practicing tricks (don’t forget the tasty rewards!).¬†

To minimize their stress, try shifting their focus to something they find familiar and enjoyable.

If your pet seems uninterested in treat stuffers, consider upgrading to extra smelly treats to capture their attention!

2. Physical Exercise and Mental

Most of us are well aware that exercise is a fantastic stress reliever for humans, and the same holds true for our canine companions. As the popular saying goes, “A tired dog is a happy dog.” Sometimes, the best remedy for anxiety is simply getting them outside of the house to play and exercise. Even older dogs need exercise, as long as the activities are tailored to be gentle on their aging joints.

Physical exercise can help alleviate anxiety in dogs in a couple of different ways. Firstly, it stimulates the production of serotonin, a chemical that acts as a natural mood stabilizer. Serotonin is found in both humans and dogs, and it plays a important role in regulating sleep, appetite, and digestion.

dog walk

Secondly, exercise helps burn off excess energy and release tension, which can contribute to increased anxiety levels. Go for a long walk or hike with your pup, let them run alongside you on a bike ride, or engage in an extended game of fetch in the yard. Any activity that wears them out physically can work wonders in reducing their anxiety.

4. Mental Stimulation

Besides physical activity, mental stimulation is equally important in managing your dog’s anxiety. Providing them with mentally engaging activities can be just as effective as a physical workout.

One effective way to exercise your dog’s mind is by offering puzzle toys. These interactive toys require them to problem-solve and work for their treats or rewards. Surprisingly, just 15 minutes of brain games can tire out a dog as much as a 30-minute walk!

Engaging your dog’s mind through puzzle toys not only helps alleviate anxiety but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. The extra time spent together can be particularly beneficial in alleviating separation anxiety, making it a win-win situation for both of you.

5. Dog Calming Music

“Music has charms to soothe the savage beast,” as the old proverb goes, and this rings true for our canine companions as well. Leaving a radio or TV on when your dog is home alone can provide a comforting presence and help diminish separation anxiety. However, it’s essential to play the music when you’re home as well, so your pet becomes accustomed to it.

Interestingly, studies have shown that certain music genres are more effective at soothing dogs. Reggae, soft rock, and classical music have proven to be the most relaxing choices. However, it’s important to mix up the stations or playlists you leave on for your dog, as they can become accustomed to the background noise after about 7 days, leading to increased anxiety and stress.

For those seeking curated playlists, check out Preventive Vet playlist on Spotify.

6. Use a Weighted Coat

Just like their favorite toys and beds, certain anti-anxiety products can help your dog feel more at ease. One such product is the weighted coat, designed to mimic the feeling of being cuddled and held. Similar to the weighted blankets that have become popular for humans, these coats can naturally improve your dog’s mood by providing a sense of comfort and security.

dog maltese young dog white small

7. Massage

Who doesn’t find a massage relaxing? Your dog is no exception. Pet massage can lower blood pressure and reduce stress for both the dog and the human performing the massage. Focusing on natural pressure points, such as the top of the head, feet, and ears, can provide significant stress relief. Just 10-15 minutes a day can have a profound impact on your dog’s anxiety levels.

Need some tips on becoming a better canine masseuse? Check out this video from Upward Dog Rehab for guidance.

8. Supplementing

In addition to the above techniques, supplements can also play a role in naturally calming your dog’s anxiety. One of the most popular supplements for dog stress is melatonin, a hormone that naturally rises when your dog sleeps. This supplement can help calm your dog for short periods and aid in better sleep.

Another option is L-tryptophan, which has been shown to improve anxiety-related behavior in dogs. CBD oil and chews have also become available, although it’s essential to note that there is currently no regulation regarding their potency, making it challenging to utilize them effectively.

Rescue Remedy, a blend of natural herbs and flower extracts, is a popular herbal treatment for anxiety in dogs. However, before giving your dog any supplements, it’s crucial to discuss proper dosages with your veterinarian.

9. Managing Your Own Stress

Dogs are highly attuned to the emotions of their human companions, and our stress and anxiety can significantly impact their well-being. Most of us have experienced the empathy of our furry friends during our own times of need. 

So, taking care of ourselves is just as important as caring for our beloved pets because managing our stress and anxiety can also enhance our dog’s well-being.

If you have serious concerns about your dog’s anxiety, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss all available treatment options. Veterinarians are specifically trained to advise you on the best course of action for your pet’s health.

Loobani Pet

What are the Benefits of Natural Ways to Alleviate Anxiety in Dogs?

There are numerous benefits to treating your dog’s anxiety naturally. Primarily, you can alleviate the suffering your furry friend experiences when anxious without risking the potentially harmful side effects of prescription drugs.¬†Additionally, natural treatments like vitamin supplements and hemp products can also promote overall health, improved skin and coat condition, and other ancillary benefits.

Natural Calming Remedies for Anxiety in Dogs

In addition to the methods outlined above, there are also natural calming remedies you can prepare at home using common ingredients from your kitchen. Foods rich in specific nutrients can help alleviate anxiety in dogs:

Blueberries: These small nutritional powerhouses are full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that can make stress less intense for your furry friend.

Beef: With its high content of folic acid and B vitamins, beef is a natural mood enhancer that can stimulate the production of anti-stress hormones, helping to reduce the intensity of stress reactions.

Oily fish: The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish can help lower adrenaline levels, which is beneficial for dealing with stress naturally. They also contain vitamins A and D, which offer additional stress-relieving benefits.

Whole oats and brown rice: Complex carbohydrates rich in fiber slow down digestion, enhancing tryptophan absorption and boosting serotonin production. Maintaining steady serotonin levels can help regulate fear and anxiety responses without the sugar rush and insulin spikes associated with other carbs.

Before making any major changes to your pet’s diet, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian to ensure you provide the proper nutrition for your pet’s specific needs.

dogs three pets

Final Words

Seeing your pet struggle with anxiety can be disheartening, but there’s no need to feel helpless. With patience, time, and a combination of the natural remedies outlined in this blog post, you can help your furry friend relax, shift focus, and feel less anxious.

Remember, every dog is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find the right approach. However, your dedication to your pet’s well-being and happiness will undoubtedly pay off in the form of a calmer, more content companion by your side.