How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety in Dogs
Author: Cassandra Date Posted:27 May 2023
As in humans, it is common for dog's to experience stress or anxiety as a response to a variety of external factors. Stress or anxiety in dogs can present itself in a few different ways. We have listed some common signs to look out for below:
Common Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs
- Drooling or Panting more thank usual
- Pacing or restlessness
- Persistant howling or barking
- Toileting more often
- Destrictive behaviour
- Excessive Grooming
It can be difficult to know the best approach to relieving your dogs stress response, so we have put together some suggestions we hope are insightful and can help you reduce your fur friends anxiety.
It is important that your dog is well stimulated both mentally and physically, and exercise is a great way to release built up energy in your pup. Ensuring your furry friend gets their daily walk, engaging with friends at the dog park are great ways to keep your dog active.
Your dog could run circles around you for hours, and still exhibit high activity levels. This is because mental stimulation is an essential part of their day-to-day and also encourages distraction from external stressors. Active play with your pooch's favourite toy, stimulating dog puzzles, or even a treat dispensing toy can encourage stimulation of the mind and encourage a decrease in stressed behaviours.
Just as it is important for humans to remain social and participate in positive interactions, it is the same for your pooch. Active socialisation with other dogs and humans on a regular basis can encourage stress reduction, and also enhance their social skills at the same time.
Dogs thrive when their routine remains predictable and similar to what they are used to. Constant change in their routine could be potentially anxiety enducing, so sticking to similar feeding, exercise and playtime can encourage a reduction in stress thanks to the stability of a comfortable routine.
If your dog exhibits stressed behaviour around thunderstorms, fireworks, or any loud noises, Thundershirts can be an extremely helpful tool. The compression can help alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation - exhibiting the same feeling as what humans think of as a hug.
Just as humans do, dogs can actually benefit from a gentle massage. Slow, gentle strokes can encourage relaxation in your pup and relieving any built up tension they might be holding onto.
A dogs nervous system is positively affected by soothing music which is specifically designed for dogs. This creates a calming environment, and may be useful when they are in an environment alone if your dog exhibits signs of separation anxiety.
Creating a safe space for your fur friend can encourage reduction in stress levels. Ensure this space is cosy and secure, potentially placing warm blankets, pillows, a shirt with your scent on it, some of their favourite dog toys and anything else you know they have a positive attachment to. Have a play around with this space to see what your dog responds best to, this way they can retreat to their safe space if they are ever feeling anxious or threatened.
Certain scents promote relaxation in dogs and can be a great way to encourage comfort. Lavender and Chamomile are both known for their relaxation properties, and can be sprayed in their environment and even on their bedding.
Calm & Positive Environment
Maintaining a stress free atmosphere for your dog is important, as they are receptive to stress-inducing situations, such as arguing, loud noises, or any other environments in which they might feel any sort of threat. We hope these suggestions have been helpful, however if you have further concerns and their condition does not improve, we encourage you to contact your vetenarian for further guidance and support.