Have you been experiencing unusual behaviors in your dog like excessive fearing, panting, yawning, shivering, or barking?
If so, then the chances are that your dog might be experiencing severe anxiety or stress, which may be concerning.
Much like us, canines can also experience troubles of stress and anxiety in handling life’s everyday events.
Generally, their anxiety is brought on by a change in their routine, environment, or activity and some of the common causes of dog anxiety are fear, separation, and aging.
You can relieve stress in dogs by identifying their body language; exercising your dog, building their confidence, encouraging them to be independent, and seeking professional help through veterinarians.
As dogs are precious and help to de-stress you, why not you return the favor?
Read on to learn how you can help relieve stress in dogs.
Steps to Relieve Stress in Dogs
Did you know more than 70% of dogs display signs of anxiety due to the lack of mental stimulation, physical activity, and social interaction?
Reducing, preventing, and managing your dog’s anxiety can help them conquer their fears and live happier lives.
Here are a few steps to relieve stress in dogs with anxiety.
1. Identifying the Dog’s Body Language
It is essential to pinpoint your dog’s body language to find ways to manage and resolve it on time.
Fear of being alone, meeting strange people, and other animals, boredom, change in routine, and exposure to loud or new noises, can bring about significant changes in your pet’s behavior.
The most stressed dogs will exhibit the following signs.
- Excessive panting,
- Tail between legs
- Paw raises
- Lip licking
- Earns pinned back
- Drooling, shivering, and whimpering
- Destructive behaviors
Noticing these signs may indicate your dog is feeling stressed.
Besides noticing your dog’s distress, be sure to act on it and get them the help they need to prevent stress.
- Provide your dog an escape to a safe place where they can settle and relax, such as a crate or separate room.
- Indulge them with treats, chews, and toys such as Kongs, Squeeker balls, and Outward Hound Hedgehog to play and hunt for food.
- Play soothing music.
- Feed your canine a balanced diet.
If your dog seems stressed even after this, follow the next steps that can help reduce stress before getting into a stressful situation.
2. Start Exercising Your Dog
Many dogs in city areas are caged up all day with little to no exercise, care, and loud noises in their environment.
According to research,
Exercise beats stress in people by releasing chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin, which lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and the exact science works for your canines too.
Pet owners can provide the exercise routine below for their canines to relieve stress.
- Play fetch together
- Go for a walk
- Take them for a hike or adventurous tour
- Go for a swim
- Play hide and seek together
Playing or working up a sweat may help to relieve stress in your canines, and they can relax too.
Check this infographic below for more information:
3. Build Your Dog’s Confidence
Confidence is the opposite of fear, and the more confident a dog is, the better prepared it will be to handle unique or terrifying situations.
There are many scary things out there that induce stress in dogs and boost high levels of stress-related hormones that really take a toll on their health.
Therefore, you must help build confidence in your dog to help them take daily life's stresses in stride.
Let’s look at some great ways to build confidence in your dog.
- Encourage your dog to do basic obedience training, such as sitting, walking, staying, and lying down, which can distract them from the object of their fear.
- Socialize them with new people, places, and other pets to reduce your dog’s fear.
- Reward them for obeying your commands that replace negative triggers with positive results.
- Play some fun games that give them a sense of accomplishment with every win and build confidence.
- Enrolling them in training classes can help build up your dog’s confidence.
- Make your dog only jump up on the couch, come into the kitchen, be on the bed, etc., when you invite them to.
Positive reinforcement teaches your dog that obeying you gets him rewards and praise.
After all, the more positive experience your dog has, the more eager it will be for new adventures and fun.
4. Encourage Your Dog to be Independent
Some dogs struggle with being left alone and may experience anxiety, especially if they have become used to your company more permanently.
They might exhibit destructive behavior at home, have toileting accidents, or bark or howl when left alone.
As much as you like spending time with your dog, encouraging independence can be the kindest things you can do for them as they go through change with you.
Creating a daily routine is the best way to encourage independence training for your dogs.
- Make your dog stay while you are away, and if your dog reacts or moves, do not reward them. Leaving them 3 to 5 times alone per day can be enough to help keep separation anxiety at bay.
- Never punish them.
- Studies show that many genres of calming music can help relieve dog anxiety. Classical music's soft melodies and tones act as ambient background noise, lower stress levels, and reduce anxious tendencies, such as barking, scratching, and pacing.
- Allow your dog spend time out in the yard by themselves. Providing them with an interactive toy or chew can help keep them engaged and occupied.
- Try hiding your dog’s treats around the yard or lounge so they can spend some time scavenging for their treat.
Creating a daily routine with these activities helps them feel secure in their environment and better deal with change.
5. Seek Professional Help
Seek professional help if your dog’s stress is severe, lasts for more than a short period, or is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive panting.
Chronic or long-term stress can be signs of a more severe condition, such as an anxiety disorder or an underlying health problem.
Therefore, consider consulting a veterinarian who can help you create a specific plan to change your dog’s underlying emotional response so he can get back to his happy, tail-wagging self.
Not only do they advise you on remedies and cures, but they can also rule out medical issues that may be causing anxiety.
They get to the root of the problem in your dog and recommend you the proper treatment options.
While it is common for dogs to show signs of stress from time to time, the long-term effects of untreated stress can shorten your furry friend’s life and possibly create a danger to other people and animals.
Following the above steps can play a pivotal role in managing it.
Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply, the best pet store in Urbandale, to learn more.