Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety for a number of reasons. For a pup that is experiencing it, anxiety is scary, uncomfortable, and stressful. You’ll recognize an anxious or nervous dog by the following signs: trembling, pacing, tucked tail, decreased appetite, and lip licking. The good news is there are many ways you can help ease your dog’s worries.
To relieve your dog’s stress, start by trying to identify the potential cause. Common stressors include thunderstorms, loud noises, past abuse, or medical problems. Sometimes calming an anxious dog can be as easy as locating the stressor and removing it. However, if your dog’s stress doesn’t immediately disappear, there are several things you can try to help calm him down.
- Relaxing music: In certain cases, a soothing melody can help calm our nerves and the same goes for our pets. Try playing relaxing music at a low volume for your pet to ease mild cases of anxiety.
- Physical touch: Maybe your pet just needs someone to lean on. Devote some time to cuddle with your dog and gently pet him to help make him feel safe and secure.
- Exercise: Certain situations call for an outlet for your dog’s extra energy. Take your anxious dog for a walk to get some fresh air and lots of neighborhood smells that can help distract him from his stress.
- Time out: If your dog has just experienced a stressful event, he may simply need some time and space to recover from it. Leave your dog alone for a while in a comfortable place to let him recuperate.
- Toys: Just like children, some pets have a favorite toy that can instantly make them feel better. If your anxious pup is a nervous chewer, offer him a toy that is safe for chewing. Just like exercise, toys can also serve as a good distraction and outlet for stress.
- Calming supplements: There are a number of pet-friendly supplements on the market designed to help relax your pet. Natural supplements contain ingredients like lavender and chamomile to create subtle calming effects. Another substance gaining popularity among pet parents is CBD oil.
- Calm yourself, too: Dogs can pick up on our anxiety, so if you are feeling stressed or nervous, your dog might have difficulty relaxing until you do.
In some situations, these methods of calming an anxious dog are not enough. If that’s the case, seek assistance from a veterinarian or qualified animal behavior consultant to get relief and peace of mind for both you and your pup. These experts can help determine the root cause of anxiety and find a solution for your dog, whether it’s medical treatment, training, or a combination of both.