Dogs, like humans, can get anxiety from lots of situations. Loud noises, traveling, and new environments can make even the most confident dog nervous. To help your anxious pet, we’ll list many tips on how to calm down a dog when they’re anxious. Plus, we’ll answer several common questions people have about how to help dogs with anxiety.
What are the Signs of Anxiety in Dogs?
Every dog will react differently, but the first signs of stress in a dog include:
- Prolonged Yawning
- Excessive Licking or Drooling
- Whining or Barking
- Shaking or Trembling
- Dilated Pupils and Rapid Blinking
- Cowering with a Tucked Tail
- Increased Shedding
- Uncontrolled Urinating
When your dog experiences anxiety, it is tough to watch. If the dog’s symptoms are mild, you can help them to calm down without needing to call your vet. In some situations, your dog may experience extreme anxiety. The signs for extreme anxiety or fear include:
- Licking or Biting Their Body
- Active Escape Behavior
- Increased Out-of-Context Motor Activity
- Pacing and Panting
- Tail Chasing
If your dog shows signs of extreme anxiety, you will want to call your veterinarian immediately.
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Our Best Tips for How to Calm an Anxious Dog
If your dog becomes anxious, here are some strategies to help calm them down:
Exercise Your Dog
If the situation allows, take your dog for a walk or out to play to relieve stress. Exercise can release energy and take your dog’s mind off the anxious situation. So channel that nervous energy into constructive activity to help your dog calm down.
Reassure Your Dog Through Physical Touch
Dogs loved to be touched to feel comfort. If your dog is feeling anxious or starting to get nervous, an easy way to reassure them is to pet them, cuddle with them, or pick them up to feel more secure in a tense situation.
Giving your dog a massage is another way to relieve stress and anxiety. Like humans, dogs respond well to massage therapy because it relaxes the tense muscles building in your dog. Use long strokes to release the tension.
Playing calming music or classical music is proven to reduce stress for dogs. Music can be beneficial to block any loud noises like fireworks that might frighten your dog. Pay attention to your dog’s body language to determine which music helps them relax the most.
Put Your Dog in a Sanctuary Space
Sometimes in an anxious situation, your dog needs a time out where they can be placed in a safe and quiet space where they can calm down. You’ll want to create this sanctuary space and let them become accustomed to it before placing them in it during stressful situations. Otherwise, the safe place will feel more like a punishment.
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Put on a Calming Coat or Vest
Calming coats and vests are swaddling clothing that put light pressure on your dog’s torso to help them feel more comfortable. A similar concept to a swaddled baby, the calming coat helps the dog feel more secure and supported and can reduce stress caused by travel, separation, or being in a new environment.
Remove or Avoid Triggers That Cause Anxiety
If you know what triggers can cause anxiety for your dog, you should do your best to avoid or remove these possible stressors. For example, if you know loud noises can stress your dog, you can bring your dog inside in a crate during firework holidays. Then add music to mask any residual sound.
Use Pheromone Collars, Sprays, or Diffusers
Releasing dog pheromones can help calm your dog by communicating safety and belonging. You can purchase dog pheromone collars, sprays, or diffusers that you can use when your dog is feeling anxious.
Frequently Asked Questions About Calming Dogs with Anxiety
Here are a few common questions people have about how to calm an anxious dog:
What can I give my dog to help with anxiety?
If your dog suffers from chronic anxiety, you may want to visit your veterinarian. The vet can prescribe medication that can reduce your dog’s anxiety. The most common medications are:
How can I calm my dog’s anxiety naturally?
If you would prefer a natural remedy for anxiety, you can:
- Exercise your dog
- Provide mental stimulation
- Play music
- Use vet recommend essential oils
- Give your dog stress-reducing supplements like CBD
- Release pheromones
- Massage or groom your dog to release tension
What is the best calming aid for dogs?
There are a variety of over-the-counter calming aids and supplements for dogs. Amazon and Chewy.com have several bestsellers. But you should research, read reviews, and talk to your vet before buying an OTC calming aid for your dog.
Does Benadryl help dogs with anxiety?
While Benadryl can make dogs drowsy, which can relieve anxiety, it is not intended for pets. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog Benadryl.
What can I give my dog to calm him down for grooming?
Going to the groomer can be very stressful for many dogs. The best thing you can do is prepare at home by getting your dog comfortable with grooming tools like brushes and bathing products. Then before you go, you may want to massage and exercise your dog so that they are tired and relaxed. If they are still nervous, you can try a calming coat to help them feel more secure.
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