Although it’s normal for your dog to feel stressed from time to time, that can affect your pet’s health and interactions with you. And if you don’t start treating the symptoms early, your dog can develop an anxiety disorder. So it’s crucial to know what to look out for and learn how to calm a dog down.

It’s important to observe your furry friend’s nature and behavior to find the best way to help them. In time, you’ll learn to reduce their unnecessary anxiety and stress, preventing more severe health issues in the future. Let’s explore the basics:

Signs That Your Dog Is Anxious

Anxiety comes from the anticipation of danger or threat. That frequently causes bodily changes and destructive behavior. And to fix all that, it’s essential to catch the signs and determine the right dog anxiety treatment. 

Let’s find out the reasons for dog anxiety and look at some of the common signs.

What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?

The reasons behind stress are often similar to ours, like significant changes to your pet’s routine or environment. Events like moving out, playing in a different dog park, or welcoming a new family member can all cause your dog anxiety. But the list doesn’t end here. Let’s explore the frequent causes of pet stress:

  • Separation Anxiety. When you take dogs away from their family or owners, they might experience separation anxiety. It’s because they no longer have that secure bond. So your dog can start feeling anxious as you prepare to leave for work. You can observe separation anxiety in your pet’s reactions to you picking up keys, putting on shoes, grabbing a purse, or packing a suitcase.
  • Past Trauma. Like in humans, stressful environments and abusive incidents can result in fear and phobias. Also, lack of socialization during puppyhood can lead to your dog panting from anxiety later in life. 
  • Loud Noises. To some degree, all dogs fear when they hear loud, sudden, or strange noises. It’s a survival instinct. But some can be especially sensitive to noise or specific sounds. 
  • People or Other Dogs. A common reason for fear of humans or other dogs is a lack of experience in the early puppy stage of three to nine weeks. If you don’t introduce your pet to different people and furry pals during that period, they may be more apprehensive of strangers as adults.

How to Calm a Dog Down

Caring for your pet is vital, but it’s especially important to pay close attention to their needs if they’re stressed. It’s up to you to help your pet, and calming an anxious dog is a delicate process. Follow our tips to get your furry friend back to a happy life:

  • Manage the Triggers. The best way to solve a problem is to know what caused it in the first place. But you should also know your limitations when dealing with stressed dogs. If you can’t pinpoint the issue, seek help from a vet, professional dog trainer, or animal psychologist.
  • Check Your Own Stress Levels. Try to provide your pet with a safe space when you feel stressed or upset. Since dogs take cues from their environment and owners, you also might have a part to play in the issue.
  • Tire Out Your Dog. Bored dogs can get restless and aggressive. If that’s the case, exercises or walks can be one of the best ways to calm down a dog. Keep your dog busy and active during the day, and they won’t accumulate extra energy that causes frustration.
  • Help With Toys. Balls, strings, and other dog toys may entertain your pet for hours and encourage puppy stress relief. Keep it interesting by trying out different toys to see which ones your pet will like best. 
  • Create a Safe Space. A secure and calm environment where your pet can retreat can make them happier. You can start by putting your dog’s favorite bed in the best sleeping spot. Note that some dogs like to climb higher as that gives them a better vantage point. Dog towers are ideal for this, but you can recreate the same atmosphere with a cozy bed on top of the wardrobe or a sturdy shelf.
  • Play Music. According to some certified animal behaviorists, classical music has a calming effect on anxious dogs. Depending on the tempo, instruments, and genre, you might manage their stress in no time.
  • Pheromones. How to calm down a dog during fireworks? If your dog gets anxious about hearing loud noises, consider using pheromones. You can get them in the form of plug-in diffusers, sprays, or collars.
  • Give Your Dog a Massage. If your canine friend is suffering from stress and anxiety, a gentle touch or massage can be just what they need to calm down. Massaging your pet’s head and jaw is one of the best calming techniques for dogs. Like for humans, it has many benefits, including circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous system stimulation.

If you follow the latest trends, you’ve already heard about the calming properties of hemp and CBD oil for dogs. 

Before you decide to trust a trend, we advise you to research the difference between hemp oil vs. CBD oil for dogs to make the right choice. And is CBD even safe for dogs? Reports from vets and dog owners show that it is. But find out more about the alternative ways to calm down a dog below.

Labrador lying on the floor with closed eyes

Alternative Treatments

While you can get a medication prescription for your dog’s anxiety, many dog owners prefer alternative treatments. The good news is that plenty of natural remedies can help your dog, but it will take time to find the best. Here are a few examples of alternative treatments that can help with pet stress and anxiety: 

  • Dog Clothing for Anxiety. Anxiety wraps are vest-like garments designed for calming your dog. They provide gentle pressure to your dog’s body, making them less anxious. We like Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket as it’s proven to be effective for many pet owners. If your dog enjoys being held and comforted, they’re likely to benefit from wearing it. You can use it in just about any situation where your pet is likely to feel anxious, whether we’re talking about a raging storm outside or fireworks.
  • Aromatherapy. Do you know how to relax a dog with scents? As dogs interpret the world with their noses, aromatherapy is an excellent calming aid. A dog’s sense of smell is far more advanced than ours. Compared to a human nose, the canine is 40 times more sensitive. To treat your dog’s stress or anxiety, you can use scents like lavender, cinnamon, citrus, and peppermint. If you introduce the smells during a relaxing time, your pet will associate them with that relaxation and develop a positive response. 
  • Supplements. What calms dogs down? Calming supplements are among the best options to help your dog deal with stress. We use Zesty Paws Dog Calming Bites, which are turkey flavored and ensure a calming effect in stressful situations. But always research any supplements thoroughly to make sure they’re right for your pet.
  • CBD Oils. A high-quality, all-natural alternative to relieve your pet’s anxiety is Pet Releaf Organic Hemp Oil. You can also check out our Treatibles review and Hemp My Pet review before committing to a product to calm down a dog. 

Conclusion

While anxiety is a natural response, it can turn into a long-lasting issue for your dog, leading to poor quality of life and health problems. 

If you want to learn how to calm a dog down, you should first watch out for signs of anxiety and consult your vet if necessary. You can also combine behavioral modification, environmental changes, and calming supplements to assist your dog in overcoming or lessening their anxiety.

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Avatar for Vessy Genova
Vessy's taken care of animals for as long as she can remember. Throughout the years, she's had hamsters, guinea pigs, and parrots. But her one true love is cats. As an advocate of science and technology, she joined the pawsome team to ensure top-quality research, and help pet owners find modern ways to improve the lives of their animal companions.