To some people, they may just be dogs, but dogs are sentient creatures that can feel things just like humans do. Dogs can get stressed out for a multitude of reasons, and as you can imagine, feeling this way is not very nice for them. Different dogs may experience and show stress in different ways, so although you can look to other dog owners for advice, something that worked for one dog may not work for yours. You need to know your own individual fur baby enough that you can tell when they are feeling stressed and pay attention to the methods that work best for them.
Below, we’ll go through 11 things you can do to help when your dog is feeling stressed. Take a look and see what works for yours:
Identify The Cause
First of all, it will be useful if you can identify the cause of the anxiety. Remove your dog from the vicinity of the stressor – if you have crate trained them, putting them in their crate can help. If you haven’t, then doing that now might be a good idea.
Try to resist the urge to overly comfort them. This will justify that they had reason to be worried. If you avoid overly comforting them then they will be able to build more confidence.
See Your Vet
If the signs of stress in your dog are worrying you, then going to see your vet is a smart next step. The vet will be able to give you anti-anxiety medication for dogs that could help them to no end. However, it’s a good idea to wait until you have tried training your dog and getting them used to the stressful situation first (for example, you leaving the house for work).
Try Alternative Medications
Alternative medications could mean looking for CBD treats for dogs to see if they help calm your dog down. CBD is reportedly safe for dogs and can help with symptoms of anxiety and stress. Just make sure you buy from a reputable source and pay attention to the dosage.
Leave A Piece Of Your Clothing Behind
Your dog may really appreciate it if you leave a piece of your clothing behind for them to snuggle up to. Perhaps you could use an old blanket of yours or a cardigan on their bed. They will appreciate your smell and this could help to calm them.
Put The Radio On For Them
Your dog may appreciate listening to a little music while you’re away. See if you can find a DAB radio and put it on a classical station. Dogs reportedly like the relaxing sounds of classical music, and it can’t hurt to hear a human voice every now and again either. This can help them to feel more relaxed and like they have a little company.
Make Sure They Are Getting All Of The Nutrients They Need
When your dog is healthy they tend to be happy. The healthier your dog, the less chance you have of watching them get stressed out. Make sure you know what sort of food they should be eating and how much for their breed. You may want to test a few different brands and types to see what they prefer – dogs can be picky like humans! You should also be aware of foods that your dog shouldn’t eat, such as grapes and chocolate. Some human foods are safe, but many of them can be toxic.
Make sure you also know which plants you should avoid keeping in the house, too. Plants like lilies can also be toxic to dogs.
Ensure They Are Burning Off Excess Energy
Your dog shouldn’t have a lot of excess energy at the end of the day. Make sure you are walking and exercising them in a way that leaves them feeling satisfied and suitably tired. You shouldn’t be exhausting them, but you should make sure they are getting the exercise they need.
Provide Mental Stimulation
Make sure that as well as getting physical stimulation, your dog is getting mental stimulation. Make them work for a treat or a reward, such as putting peanut butter in a kong for them. They will need to work to get this out and it can keep them occupied and distracted for a while.
Make Sure You Stay Calm
Dogs pick up on their owner’s emotions. If you get stressed every time your dog gets stressed, it’s going to be one vicious stressy cycle. Try to stay calm, breathe and show them that you are the pack leader. Dogs become confused when they don’t have a clear leader. This is often the case when humans baby their dogs – they sometimes act like they are in charge, sometimes not, sending the dog mixed signals. This doesn’t make for a happy dog. The best thing you can do is train your dog right from the beginning so that they trust in you and take your lead. This way, if you’re calm, they will pick up on it.
Try Aromatherapy Oils
Essential oils smell great, and some say that they have health benefits that can be useful for dogs and other pets. Some sprays are actually formulated especially for pets. You could even rub a formula on your hands and then pat your palms along your dog’s back – but ensure you check that the oil is safe for use on your dog first. Your dog should not be able to reach the oil and lick it off either – and it should always be pet safe. Read the label thoroughly so you can abide by proper usage.
Your dog is an important member of your family, and watching them feel stressed can be hard. By taking the advice here you can make your dog feel much better and help them to learn to handle the situation better in the future. Do you have advice you’d like to share? Leave a comment for other dog owners!