Just like us humans, dogs can have anxiety as well. As an owner, it’s important to pay attention to your pet’s queues and signs to know whether they’re happy or not. The goal is to have a happy and healthy dog, obviously, so you’ll know when your pet is not feeling great. Your dog may be anxious if he or she is pacing more than usual, barking a lot, drooling excessively, trying to hide, trembling, tucking their tail, or look wide-eyed. If you see these uncharacteristic behaviors or something else you know your dog doesn’t normally do, your dog might be nervous or afraid. It’s good to pay attention to these things. Once you notice something out of order, you’ll be able to start helping them. But what can you do to help?
Figure Out the Cause
The first thing to do is find out why your dog is anxious in the first place and whether the fear is situational or specific. Could it be a thunderstorm that’s happening? Maybe they’re fearful of strangers who happen to be at your house? Or perhaps it’s something like the vet? There are many things dogs can be afraid of, so learn what your dog is scared of.
Use exercise and brain games to distract your dog from whatever is stressing them out. For instance, if you’re going to the vet and need to calm your dog beforehand, try squeezing in some exercise and brain games. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, play frisbee, throw a ball and play fetch, or play with an enrichment toy to tire them out. The reason this works is that it stimulates their production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical, while also releasing any pent-up energy they might have had that can worsen anxiety.
Put On Some Calm Music
Music can be a very effective way to calm down your anxious pup. You can simply turn on some soothing music, but if you want something more specific, you can find playlists designated to calm a dog down. One example is the company Through a Dog’s Ear. They offer a selection of pet-calming tunes that can be pre-loaded with as much as 4 hours of clinically-tested soothing music.
Get a Thunder Jacket
If your pup is afraid of loud noises like thunder or fireworks, it’s a good idea to purchase them a thunder jacket. The idea behind it is that it acts a lot like swaddling a baby. By tightly wrapping it around your dog, it will apply pressure to their body, promoting a safe and secure feeling. The continued pressure helps calm them down and soothe their nerves when in a stressful situation.
When your dog is worked up, they’re likely tense in their whole body. It makes sense that giving them a pet massage will help. Think about it, dogs adore being pet! Gently rub their back, shoulders, or hips. Doing just this can be very soothing, especially if your dog is having a hard time settling. Of course, this is not the right method for times that your dog is being aggressive.