Calm dog anxiety naturally with behavior modifications.
Desensitization is a critical way to get rid of stress-inducing triggers and calm dog anxiety naturally.
A study shows that insecurity causes anxiety in dogs.
Life is sometimes scary -- especially if you're a dog with anxiety. Learn to calm dog anxiety naturally so your dog begins to live confidently. When their insecurity disappears, so does their anxiety.
You never know what might cause your dog fear. Stress shows itself in all kinds of different ways. To calm dog anxiety naturally, use natural ingredients or teach natural behaviors. Then, naturally, they're comfortable in their own fur.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs
Sometimes you see behaviors in your dog that are out of the ordinary. They may start whining or whimpering for no apparent reason and begin pacing. You come home from work to find that your dog has destroyed the cushions on your couch. You then notice scratch marks on the door and find a puddle of urine.
You think, "Bad dog!" and even scold them for this behavior. What if you discovered that these aren't signs of a misbehaving dog but indications that anxiety is behind your dog's behaviors?
Before treating this issue, know what to look for. These are some symptoms of anxiety in dogs:
Excessive barking, whining, or whimpering
Attempts to escape
Accidents after successful potty training
Shaking or trembling
Excessive drooling, panting or nose-dripping
Attempts to prevent you from leaving
Changes in eating habits
This isn't an exhaustive list; just because your dog exhibits one of these behaviors doesn't mean they necessarily have anxiety. These behaviors might indicate an underlying medical issue addressed at a vet visit.
Regarding anxiety, your dog likely shows more than one of these behaviors at particular times or during specific events. Take notice of when your dog is acting normally and then when there are odd or out-of-place behaviors.
The Best Calming Remedy for Dogs
There are all kinds of potential remedies for dogs, including supplements and medications. The best way to calm your anxious dog is with behavior modifications. Yes, medications and supplements work, but they're only temporary solutions.
You want your dog to survive their symptoms, overcome their anxiety, and live an everyday dog life. If your dog's anxiety is extreme or you need a solution quickly, prescription medication may be your only option. All other remedies take time.
Types of Anxiety and Natural Solutions
There are various types of anxiety and different ways to treat each one. You may apply some solutions to different situations and tailor them to your unique circumstances.
This is the easiest type of fear to spot. When your dog hears loud noises, like during a thunderstorm or fireworks display, they may whine, bark, run, and hide. You may notice that your dog trembles or tries to escape. These are symptoms of a type of anxiety called noise aversion.
This is very common among dogs. The cause may be unclear, but it might be as simple as their fear of the unknown. They don't know where the noise is coming from or if it might be the source of danger, so they respond with fearful behaviors.
When any animal or human is afraid, they have a "fight or flight" response. Typically, a dog wants to escape the situation, but in the case of a thunderstorm, there's no place to go to get away from it. You must help your dog learn to temporarily endure it with less fear or ignore it when it happens.
One of the ways to accomplish this is to use white noise. Whether you use a TV, radio, or another music-playing device, or play nature sounds, background sounds help drown out the awful noise causing anxiety.
Another method is to use desensitization. Find a movie or recording of thunderstorms or fireworks and play it at a very low volume. During this time, play with your dog, give them treats, pet and scratch them, or do whatever else they enjoy. Show them that they're safe from the source of the noise.
Do this in several sessions, turning up the volume at each session. Your dog eventually becomes desensitized. They ignore the noise entirely or at least have a very minimal reaction.
Give them a calming treat before the event to reinforce this sense of calmness. Calming Zen Chews have natural ingredients like chamomile, L-tryptophan, and L-theanine. These ingredients have properties that promote relaxation. When you know a thunderstorm is approaching, treat your dog about 15 minutes beforehand to help them relax.
This type of anxiety occurs when your dog feels unsafe and nervous when they're apart from their owner or favorite family member. This is sometimes caused by a traumatic event from their past, lack of socialization, or they're a breed that's predisposed to separation anxiety. This includes any dogs that are incredibly loyal and protective of their owners.
Some dogs have particular characteristics or "personality" traits connecting to anxiety. In a 2022 article in Translational Psychiatry, a study conducted by researchers Milla Salonen et al. found a strong correlation between insecurity and fear-related behaviors in dogs. If your dog feels secure in their environment, their anxiety likely disappears.
You learned how desensitization works, which also applies to this situation. Specific cues that dogs pick up on indicate you're about to leave. If you leave for work every morning, one of the triggers may be the time of day. If you make coffee every morning before going out the door, the trigger may be the smell of the percolating beverage.
The sight of you in a suit, your briefcase, the jingling of keys, saying goodbye to your dog at the front door -- all possible triggers that let your dog know that they're about to be alone for some time.
Instead of making coffee and rushing out the door, get up early, and sit and relax while you drink it. Jingle your keys at random times without going anywhere. Whenever you leave, please don't make a big deal about it. Ensure your dog is calm, and casually walk out the door without saying goodbye.
In essence, you're disassociating these cues from the fact that you're leaving. Whenever you're able -- on the weekend or in the evening, perhaps -- leave randomly and for varying amounts of time. Your dog cannot predict when you're leaving or for how long.
Toys and Puzzles
When your dog is feeling anxious, they may do things to distract themselves from that feeling, like destroying a couch. To head off this issue, give your dog something to do. Many toys and puzzles help distract a dog from their anxiety.
Before leaving, give your dog a Kong or other food toy. This is only a temporary activity, but distracting them often from the initial realization that they're alone is enough.
Sometimes anxiety at night is a symptom of separation anxiety. Even if your dog sleeps in the same room as you, they feel that separation if you're not sharing a bed. You may feel that allowing your dog to sleep in your bed is a good solution, but that's not such a great idea.
Doing this reinforces their dependence on you. Give them their own bed and encourage their independence. Some companies design beds specfically for anxious dogs.
Calming Dog Bed
A calming dog bed design allows your dog to sink into the middle while being "hugged" on all sides. There is a soft center with bolstered sides to envelop your dog so they feel supported. They feel held but without restriction.
There are certain sounds at night that aren't present during the day. It may also be the silence that's unnerving to them. Whatever the reason, your dog may pace or whimper while you're trying to sleep. That turns into a restless night for both of you.
The white noise strategy works for this issue as well. Some nature sounds, or classical music may drown out other noises or break the silence causing their anxiety. It's an excellent way to help you sleep as well.
Right before bedtime, take your dog on a long walk. This gives them a chance to go potty one last time and tires them out. Once they return, they're ready to sleep and too tired to think about whatever trigger keeps them from their slumber.
If you have time, do this in the morning before you leave. After they return from their walk and go to bed for a nap, you can then quietly slip out and go to work.
Phobias and General Anxiety
If your dog has an irrational fear of certain objects or unknown humans or animals, it might stem from a frightening or traumatic experience from the past. For example, if your dog had a bad car experience, all cars cause anxiety.
Like humans, gradual exposure is the best way to overcome a fear or phobia. Start by allowing your dog to observe other people or animals from a distance while on a leash. Do this at a dog park with plenty of room if you need to move away from others.
Once your dog is comfortable in this position, move a little closer. When your dog reacts calmly, reward them with a treat. Eventually, you want your dog to get to the point of being around other people or animals without freaking out. There are ways to support them during these phases.
When you go on walks, you encounter other individuals and their pets. Maintaining a decent distance on a sidewalk is difficult and inconvenient if you continually turn and walk the other way.
A calming wrap like a ThunderShirt effectively gives your dog a sense of security. Dogs are uncomfortable with hugs because they feel trapped. A calming wrap gives them a feeling of safety while allowing them to move freely. Use this during thunderstorms and in car rides as well.
Other Natural Remedies
Many dog calming products on the market contain natural ingredients to help your dog's anxiety. Calming treats, sprays, diffusers, collars, and food additives exist. Regarding taste and smell, products with natural ingredients are essential.
There is proof that many natural substances have calming properties. These include chamomile, lavender, passionflower, melatonin, L-theanine, L-tryptophan, hemp seed, CBD, and pheromones. There's minimal risk that your dog is allergic to such natural ingredients but check with your vet before giving your dog any supplements.
Anxiety causes muscle tension, and massage helps to work out that tension. Central California SPCA recommends massaging your dog to help calm them. They say to start at the neck and work downward in long strokes. There are pressure points in places like the feet, the ears, and the top of the head. Massaging your dog in these areas helps relieve stress, but touch, in general, is soothing.
There are over-the-counter supplements that reduce a dog's anxiety. In a 2019 article on PetMD, editorial writer John Gilpatrick says, "Zylkene, a derivative of a milk protein, can aid in calming your pet naturally. It is often used effectively in senior dogs with new, age-related anxiety. It is safe to use every day or when you have family visit or in other situations where your dog may need multiple days of calming support."
As you see, there are many ways to naturally calm dog anxiety. Medication is effective, but many times there are side effects. They're also expensive and you don't want your dog to depend on them to get through their daily life.
Supplements with natural ingredients work well, but you should use them temporarily for behavior modifications. Once your dog learns the appropriate behaviors, they no longer need the supplements.
The safety and health of your dog are of utmost priority, so treat their anxiety naturally. Once they feel better, their true, friendly nature shines through.
Visit CalmingDog for products that treat your dog's anxiety naturally.