Rework your routine
This is one to try first before anything more extreme or expensive. If your dog knows when they’re going to eat, when they’re going to get to go outside to play and when you’ll be around; they’re much less likely to feel anxious at all.
It may seem obvious, but nothing can beat a bout of vigorous exercise as a natural means of calming your dog’s nerves. Anxiety can cause an excess of pent up energy, so if your dog struggles with separation anxiety, a game of fetch or a lengthy walk can help to alleviate it whilst they’re alone. Not only will exercise aid your dog by tiring them out, it will also flood them with Endorphins, just like their human counterparts.
Playing Calming Music
Just like humans, listening to music has a lot of calming and relaxing benefits. These benefits can be felt at home, while in the car & especially when left alone. Research has shown that a lot of dogs have a preference for Classical music, although it can often be easy to tell by your dog’s reaction if their taste lies elsewhere. There are many people producing music and playlists specifically for dogs, an excellent example being My Dog’s Favourite Podcast which came to Spotify in early 2020.
Diverting your dog’s attention from whatever is making them nervous to something fun and attention grabbing is a no brainer. Find their favourite toy, chew or game & engage them with it. Our Moonchers Cheese Chews make for a delicious and long lasting distraction for your dog!
Time to themselves
Anxiety isn’t specifically a bad behaviour and we should never punish our dogs for feeling anxious. Some dogs, however, struggle to calm down in the presence of their owners. Some time alone in a separate, quiet room can be the cure for this. Quiet music, a lower light level and an Aromatherapy Calming plug-in can help create the perfect calming space.
Calming Coats work in a very similar way to swaddling a baby by applying a small amount of pressure evenly over your dog’s torso. This method of calming is recommended for all dog’s, especially those suffering with separation or travel anxiety. Thundershirt are an excellent and well established producer of these calming coats for all breeds and sizes of dog.
Products such as Adaptil are designed to release pheromones similar to those a nursing mother would give her puppies, which help reduce stress and calm fear. Simply plug in the Adaptil in the room your dog spends the most time in. The scent is odourless to all animals but dogs.
A good massage will help relax even the most anxious people, and dogs are no different. Anxiousness causes tightening of the muscles and massaging can be an excellent way to alleviate anxiety related tension. Stroke with mild pressure from the base of the neck along the length of your dog’s body, maintaining contact at all times.
Travel anxiety & sickness
Many dogs become anxious during or even in anticipation of traveling in a vehicle. The best course of action is to teach your dog from a young age to love and be excited for the car. Thankfully, as that isn’t always possible, there are various ways to distract them. You could try:
- Rolling down the window to distract them with passing scents.
- Use air conditioning to keep the ambient temperature low.
- Limit your dog’s food and water intake for a couple of hours before your trip to help alleviate motion sickness.
- Spray Adaptil as mentioned above in the car before journeys.
- In severe cases, consult your vet regarding motion sickness or anti-anxiety medication.
Finally, try to remain calm yourself. You are the world to your dog and they will feed off any emotion you show. A calm owner goes a long way to creating a calm dog.