We all know how heartbreaking it is when we see a dog acting anxious or fearful. Anxiety can be caused by certain situations, like thunderstorms, travel, or separation from human caretakers or furry friends. In addition, some dogs seem to have the type of personality that lends itself to feeling anxious. For example, some breeds (including Labs and German Shepherds) or shelter dogs who have been rescued from abusive or neglectful homes are particularly prone to this. No matter the situation, your dog doesn’t have to suffer. There are plenty of natural remedies you can use to help your pup calm down.
1. Make sure your dog exercises every day.
Exercise is an excellent way to fight anxiety in dogs (and in humans). Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of wellbeing. It also tires out your dog, which means there’s less energy to spare for anxiousness and tension. Giving your dog regular exercise will help reduce problematic behaviors that stem from anxiety, such as:
- Destructive behavior.
- Excessive barking.
- Compulsive behaviors.
Take your dog out for a long walk, or grab a Frisbee and throw it for her in the backyard. The fresh air and exercise will be good for your spirits, too.
2. Socialize your dog properly.
Every dog needs to be socialized, and the earlier that socialization starts, the better. This will help your dog cope with new situations, and can help to prevent anxiety later in life. Introduce your pup to new places, people, and experiences, as well as to new animals, including other dogs. Socialization will help you raise a happy, well-adjusted canine companion.
3. Try using a Thundershirt.
The Thundershirt is a tightly fitting garment for dogs that may help ease anxiety. It has a similar effect to weighted blankets for individuals with autism who experience anxiety. Many dogs are soothed by the gentle, continuous pressure, although the Thundershirt won’t necessarily help every dog. If it works for your canine, you can put it on her whenever you anticipate that something will trigger her anxiety. This can include thunderstorms, car rides, and visits to the vet.
4. Provide soothing massages.
Your dog will love a good massage. Apply long, slow, sweeping passes with the palm of your hand from your dog’s neck down to the tail. Repeat this several times, gradually increasing the gentle pressure. Finish by gently resting one hand on the neck and the other at the base of the spine to stimulate the spinal cord’s relaxation signals. Note that you should never apply firm pressure to your dog’s lower back.
5. Appeal to your dog’s sense of smell.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) is a synthetic chemical that replicates a hormone naturally produced by lactating dogs. Lactating dogs rely on this hormone to nourish the emotional bond and keep their puppies calm. DAP has been scientifically proven to calm down puppies. There’s a lack of evidence as to its effectiveness with adult dogs, but it’s worth a try if your dog is anxious.
6. Feed your dog wholesome foods.
You might have heard that good nutrition is important for humans with anxiety disorders. The same is true for dogs. The mind and body are intricately linked, and when one is healthy, the other is more likely to be healthy too. Talk to your veterinarian about changing your dog’s diet or adding superfood supplements. Certain foods might also help your dog fight stress, including the following:
- Sweet potatoes.
- Oily fish.
- Hemp seed oil.
At Earth Vet, we understand how important it is to trust that your dog’s food is wholesome, natural, and nutritious. Our carefully crafted products for dogs are designed to help every pup enjoy better health and vitality. Shop on our site under Products, or stop by our Amazon store today to browse our selection of superfood for your dog.