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How to Calm Down Your Pup: 6 Ways to Reduce Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs communicate with us in many ways, including through their body language. Sometimes your puppy will tell you when it’s time for food, and other times when it’s time to play, so it’s important owners learn these body language signals and behaviors. Anxiety is especially problematic, as early signs can be mistaken for excitement and, if ignored, can lead to aggressive outbursts or poor coping skills. You may even have to consider things like dog insurance. Once you know the signs, you can begin to figure out what makes your dog nervous. Depending on how your dog reacts, there are things you can do to help reduce their anxiety.

How do you know if your dog is anxious?

Here are some of the most common yet subtle symptoms of anxiety:

  • Blinking slowly and avoiding eye contact with whatever is making them nervous
  • Liking their lips repeatedly
  • Yawning frequently
  • Hunched body
  • Tail tucked between legs
  • Digging to escape
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Continuous Howling/Barking

Types of anxiety

Common anxiety types, besides those caused by age or illness, include: 

Separation Anxiety

A dog is a highly social creature who wants nothing more than to spend time with the person they love the most in the world; you. In some cases, leaving your dog alone for extended periods of time, including putting them to bed at night, can result in nervous behavior. 

Past Mistreatment

If a dog has been mistreated in the past, it is common for them to exhibit anxious behavior. This is true for many rescue dogs. Based on the dog and the type of mistreatment suffered, your dog might exhibit nervous behavior constantly or only when certain events trigger memories of difficult past experiences. 

Strange People/Animals or a Busy Home

Many dogs can become possessive when it comes to their own pack (you and your family) and territory (your house).possessive when it comes to their own pack (you and your family) and territory (your house). Untreated anxiety can lead to your dog becoming aggressive if a stranger or another dog gets too close. Regardless of your dog’s familiarity with everyone in the house, you should still be on the lookout for signs of anxiety. Some dogs simply cannot handle a busy house, and intervention may be necessary to keep them calm. 

Loud Noises and/or Storms

Thunderstorms, fireworks, and loud music or events can all scare some dogs, with each dog reacting differently depending on their level of fear. 

How to Calm an Anxious Dog

1. Exercise 

For dogs, exercise is a great stress reliever, just as it is for humans. When managing a dog with anxiety, exercise can help with several issues. Exercise stimulates the production of serotonin, the same chemical that humans experience that makes us feel good when exercising. In addition, it gets rid of pent-up aggression and energy that can cause anxiety.

2. Distraction

Distraction may be the best option when your dog is nervous due to situations such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or even being in a crowd. You can help your dog focus on you and things they know rather than on the unknown around them that is frightening them. While it is not the time to start new training, it is a great time to work on tricks your dog knows and can earn rewards for. You can reward your dog with treats for simple commands such as sit, stand, lie down, shake, sit up, roll over, and other tricks they enjoy.

3. Weighted Dog Blanket 

Weighted blankets work by mimicking the chemicals released in your brain when you are hugged or held by a loved one. This is known as deep touch pressure or DTP. Weighted blankets simulate this feeling when placed on a dog and have been known to calm anxious dogs through natural bodily shifts.

4. Massage

Dog massages can help all these anxiety-related conditions through DTP or deep touch pressure by releasing chemicals in the brain related to getting a warm hug. Dog massages for anxiety and other related mental problems can greatly improve a dog’s lifestyle by making them more relaxed and at ease in their day-to-day activities.

5. Dog Appeasing Pheromone(DAP) 

Dogs can also be calmed by scent, and DAP is a popular option. It is a synthetic chemical that mimics the hormone produced by lactating female dogs, which helps keep her puppies calm and strengthen their bond with her. Studies have shown that DAP works with puppies, but it is not clear if it works with anxious adult dogs. However, it is possible to help, and it can be one of several tools used to help an anxious dog. It comes in a plug-in diffuser with vials that last about 30 days, and humans cannot smell it.

6. CBD Oil For Dogs 

Dog CBD helps with anxiety by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body. The CBD compound will be attracted to the nerves and distributed throughout the nervous system, providing relief and assistance to body parts needing it. The CBD compound also enters the brain through this process, releasing serotonin, which is a natural way to calm your body, and that is why it helps alleviate anxiety in dogs. Dog CBD can be used along with all the other tips mentioned and is a great option to add to your pup’s calming regimen.

Summing It Up 

Understanding how to calm dogs with anxiety is key to improving their quality of life (and yours). Anxious dogs are not just acting bad-they are actually scared and need your support and patience. Through love, commitment, and little dog CBD you’ll soon be witnessing the joy of watching your dog confidently handle something that used to scare them, and that makes it all worthwhile. Best of luck!

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