Does your dog freak out in thunderstorms? Does he or she bark and howl when stressed? How many shoes have you lost to a restless pup? While an overly energetic or nervous dog can be overwhelming, there are several ways to help your pooch out in such situations. The next time your dog’s suffering from anxiety, try one of these natural methods for calming them down.
Go for a Walk
This is the big one. Walks are a cure-all for many doggy issues—anxiety and restlessness included. A nice long walk will help relieve excess energy and provide your pup with plenty of physical and mental stimulation. Once thoroughly exercised, your pup will return home relaxed and likely ready for some downtime.
Look in the Mirror
From voice to body language, dogs pick up on their owners moods and behaviors. If your dog is constantly anxious, it might be time to look in the mirror. If you’ve been feeling stressed or nervous lately, that might be why your pooch has been acting that way, too. While it’s certainly easier said than done, making a conscious effort to maintain a calm and composed energy can do wonders for your pet’s own demeanor.
Mental exercise is every bit as important as physical exercise when it comes to your dog—especially if your pup’s dealing with anxiety. There are countless options for giving your dog a mental jump-start, but food puzzles and training are two of our favorites. Food puzzles, also known as food dispensing toys, are the best option if you're low on time. Simply fill a Kong toy with your doggie’s favorite food, and let them have at it (more tips on using Kong toys can be found in the video above). From basic commands like sitting and staying to more advanced tricks like shaking hands, including a couple weekly training sessions into your dog’s schedule will keep their mind in tip top shape.
Explore Aromatherapy for Dogs
Smell is arguably the strongest sense your dog experiences. So doesn’t it make sense that smell might be one of the best avenues for calming your pup? It’s no wonder aromatherapy is quickly becoming a popular way to soothe anxious dogs. Essential oils like chamomile and lavender are a natural method for bringing some much needed peace to your nervous pooch. For more info on aromatherapy and what essential oils might be right for your dog, click here.
Introduce Them to Music
Music can be an incredibly effective way to relax otherwise nervous pups—particularly those suffering from separation anxiety. But what music is best for calming dogs? Thankfully, someone’s already done the work for you. A quick search through iTunes, Spotify or Pandora will turn up dozens of dog-specific music playlists. Just make sure to change up the music from time to time; studies have shown dogs can become bored with a single type of music in as little as 7 days.
From simple affection and thundershirts to quiet time, there are many ways to comfort your doggy when they’re feeling uneasy. The comforting embrace of a thundershirt can work miracles with nervous pets. Physical contact like petting and scratching is another option known to relax dogs (just don’t force a hug—most dogs don’t actually enjoy being hugged). If these aren’t doing the trick, consider giving your dog some alone time in his or her crate. A quiet space with low lighting can really reset your pup’s mood, leaving them relaxed and feeling safe.
Adopt a New Friend
Finding a friend for your doggy is an awesome and effective way to keep their mood in balance. Not only can an additional dog improve the relationship you enjoy with your current pup, they're great company for when you're not around. But remember—adopt don't shop! There's plenty of puppies and adult dogs out there in need of homes. Interested in adoption? Check out this resource to help narrow your search.