Five Ways to Help an Anxious Dog
Some dogs suffer from anxiety and it is often difficult to know what causes it. As they can’t talk to us and tell us what is making them upset, have to do our best to try to understand the cause, whether it’s separation anxiety, fear of other dogs, a dislike to loud noises such as fireworks or just being nervous in general.
We want our dogs to be happy and stress free, here are five ways that could help to calm your dog down when he’s anxious:
Exercise often helps to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety and whilst not a cure, it can improve the general mood. Running and playing with your dog can be a great way to help him with his nerves. You should of course make sure that he is happy with the environment that you take him to walk/play in and that it is not somewhere too noisy or full of other boisterous dogs/children. If he is nervous of other dogs, try to take him out into the country side if possible. If you have a friend with a well behaved, gentle dog, try walking together, you may find the presence of another dog helps your dog to feel more confident and less nervous.
2. Physical Contact
Dogs are sociable animals and being near to your dog is sometimes all that is required to make them feel safe. Comforting your dog when they get anxious owing to thunderstorms or visits to the vet will often make them feel better, as they like to have physical contract from the humans they love. It is important not to leave your dog if you know there are going to be events that will frighten them, i.e. Bonfire Nights/Halloween when there is likely to be lots of noise.
3. Calming Treats & Chews
There are lots of different calming treats and chews available. Some are given as treats during times of stress, whilst others are long-lasting and designed for times when you have to leave your dog. Your vet can advise on the best choice for your dog.
If your dog is used to the crate it can be a comfort zone for him when he feels anxious. Try putting some of his favorite toys in there and perhaps one of your jumpers so he can smell your scent.
If your dog isn’t keen on the crate, try to make a place for him where he feels safe, perhaps on his dog bed, on the sofa with you or in a quiet room that he feels happy in.
Many people believe that aromatherapy helps with anxiety in dogs. There are sprays that you can use around your home and on your dog or ‘plug ins’ that emit calming aromas and pheromones. You should however, use essential oils that have been specifically tailored for dogs as human ones can be too strong and are sometimes toxic. Your local Vet should be able to recommend a suitable brand.