Good Boy: 6 Great Ways to Ease Your Dog’s Anxiety
Seeing a dog we’ve adopted flourish is one of life’s great joys and whether it’s chasing a ball or just curling up on your lap, it’s incredibly rewarding bringing happiness into your dog’s life.
However, it can’t all be wagging tails. Just like humans, some dogs suffer from nervousness and anxiety. This is especially common in breeds such as collies, German shepherds, labradors and spaniels, but any dog can develop a nervous sensibility if it's spent time in a shelter.
As a dog owner, it’s your life’s mission to bring health and happiness to your dog, so here are six proven ways of easing your dog’s anxiety.
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1) Thorough Exercise
It’s no surprise that the anxious breeds of dog are also the incredibly energetic breeds. When your dog has been bred for work, such as a Labrador or a Collie, it has an evolutionary instinct to exercise, and spending too much of the day cooped up allows that energy to get pent up. Exercise can tire your dog out, so that time spent at home is less about nervous energy and more about snoozing in the basket.
Exercise can serve a dual purpose - not only does it tire out your pooch, but it can also be powerful bonding time to spend with your dog. Separation anxiety is natural for certain breeds, and by investing in quality time together you help your dog cope when you’re away.
2) Physical Contact
Dogs are inherently social animals, and the pack instinct remains strong in them. When your dog is having an anxious moment, whether that’s on the porch or in the park, oftentimes the simple touch of an owner can bring them back.
Identifying the early warning signs of anxiety in your dog, such as upturned lips, cowed spines or shakes, can help you intervene before your dog becomes too upset. For small dogs, they’ll feel instantly better if they’re picked up and held in your arms, offering safety and security.
Larger dogs love it when you come down to their level, so crouch beside them and offer a reassuring ruffle of the ears.
3) Music Therapy
For many humans, music has a profoundly soothing effect - and it can do so for your dog, too! “Music works in a number of ways to ease anxiety,” says Kevin Reinhart, a writer at Essayroo and Lia Help. “Firstly, soft tones have an immediately calming effect on the brain, and secondly music distracts from the environmental stressors, such as external noises that are so triggering for dogs.”
There’s even music specifically for dogs - try Through A Dog’s Ear from Joshua Leeds and Lisa Spector, written as a piece of psychoacoustic research. The naturally calming piano can work wonders on an anxious dog - consider leaving this music on loop when you go out for work to add a calming layer to your dog’s day at home.
4) Alternative Therapies
There are a number of products on the market designed to calm your dog, and while research is ongoing to establish the true effect of vitamins and supplements on your dog’s emotional well being, these products can’t do any harm.
Homeopathic remedies require just a few drops in your pooch’s meal, whilst other supplements contain ginger which helps to ease the stomach and restore balance to the gut.
5) Calming Coats
Calming coats act similarly to weighted blankets in easing human anxiety - the weighted effect of having something heavy rest on our bodies is eminently calming. For dogs, these calming coats or vests wrap around their torso, tight enough to add a little pressure but not squeezing so much they inhibit movement or breathing.
The constant pressure can ease your dog’s anxiety and because these garments are great on the go, they can help with travel anxiety on trains or planes.
6) A Time-Out
When it all gets too much for your dog, sometimes the best thing for them is to be taken away from the stressful stimulus and distractions. “Creating a safe space in your house where you can give your dog a time-out, when, say, you have guests over, can be a great way of de-escalating your dog’s anxiety at certain times,” says Wade Dixon, an expert at State Of Writing and OXEssays. “A time-out space can be scented with lavender, filled with their favorite blanket and have soothing music playing through it.”
Wrapping Up - How to Ease Dog Anxiety;
Watching our beloved dogs suffering from anxiety can be incredibly painful. It’s great to have a few tricks up your sleeve for calming your dog in every situation, so whether you’re home, in the park or traveling, you know the best way to ease your dog’s stress.
Lauren Groff is a pet owner and writer at Paper Writing Service and Assignment Writer. Lauren has helped to re-home hundreds of stray and abandoned dogs in her years volunteering at the Tucson Dog Shelter. She is also a tutor at Write My Essay.
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