Have you ever come home to find a disaster in your living room and all of the naughty mischief your dog got into when you were gone?
Not all dog anxiety is caused from separation, however; it’s one of the most common. I mean, who wouldn't want to be with you 24/7?!
Anxiety is a stress response that affects humans as well as animals. Some of the signs of stress in your dog include barking, whimpering, shivering, and biting. As well as destructive behavior. Definitely contact your vet if you find your pup displaying this type of behavior, but there are some simple things you can do at home to start easing their anxiety.
The first step is awareness. Being aware that your dog may have some obsessive/anxious tendencies is a good place to start. This type of behavior can happen at any stage in a dog's life and can turn into chronic anxiety if not dealt with appropriately. Medical tests by your vet can help rule out issues such as brain, thyroid or adrenal diseases.
Here are some tips to reduce your dog's anxiety naturally.
The Great Outdoors
Simple activities like going to the park or taking a stroll through the neighborhood can do wonders for your dog’s anxiety. Outdoor activities are crucial for their overall health. Remember that they are social creatures, so prioritize regular outdoor activities to keep them in a good mood.
On days when you’re unable to schedule some time outdoors, try to at least catch some morning sunshine. We can all benefit from a little Vitamin D! Naps or playtime in the sun are an easy mood booster.
Physical Activity and Hard Exercise
Have you ever gone for a run to “let off some steam”? Physical exercise is a proven way to help relieve stress and anxiety. You can take your dog for a run, to the dog park or just have some fun playing fetch.
If you are the adventurous type, you can take your pup on a hiking or beach adventure as a method to reduce their anxiety. Dogs absolutely *love* exploring their surroundings. Encourage their curiosity and let them join you for trips; they just adore being with you.
If going out into the wild is not the choice for you or your dogs, parks can be your pick. You can play games to encourage them to run around and get some physical activity. Adrenaline is a natural mood booster, it helps keep your dog in good spirits and can help them break out of periods of anxiety.
The Importance of Touch
We all know that dogs LOVE affection. One of the best ways to reduce dog anxiety is to treat your pup to some affection, including belly rubs, pats, kisses and lots of cuddles. You need to remind them that they are loved. Give them plenty of affection, and they will be a furry bundle of joy. Note: You may need to see a trainer if your pup becomes reliant on this.
Power of Healthy Food for Dog Anxiety
What you eat is what you become - we all know that. You need to pay attention to your dog’s diet. Eating right does not just mean regular meals at a fixed time. It means consuming the *right* nutrients.
When your dogs are not given the nutrients they need, it can lead to health problems that can manifest as anxiety and anxious behavior. Food for dog anxiety includes a good amount of natural fiber, fat, and protein. Nothing shows love and affection more than a good home-cooked meal. :) Additionally, dog vitamins and supplements can get them the essential nutrients needed if you're unable to afford higher end dog food or home cooked.
At BetterPup, all of our natural dog supplements are powered by superfoods and antioxidants, so they are LOADED with nutrients that are typically cooked out of commercial dog food. Check out our supplements here.
Here are some foods that help reduce dog anxiety:
- Beef Liver
- Sweet Potatoes
Essential Oils and CBD Oil
Essential oils are apart of numerous cultures around the world. They play a major role in traditional healing and rituals. Essential oils can help in reducing dog anxiety and can be used in baths or diffusers. NOTE: Please make sure the oils you use are dog friendly as not all of them are.
On the other hand, CBD oil has also gained some fame due to to its beneficial properties. You can try using it to calm your anxious pup. However, it is advisable to make sure that your dog isn't allergic. If you suspect any irritation due to using CBD oil, stop using it and call your vet.
Training and Counterconditioning
Good training can help with most problematic behaviors like biting, barking, and destroying objects. Similarly, anxious tics can also be dealt with through training and counterconditioning. Some dogs tend to get aggressive, while others may resort to fear and whimpers.
No matter how your pup reacts to anxiety, they will always benefit from the expertise of a good trainer. A good trainer will also give you the tools and guidance to counter your dog’s anxiety yourself.
Quality One-on-one Time
Dogs love their humans. You need to ensure that your pup feels loved, as well. Like any healthy companionship, it is important for you to spend quality time with your dogs on a one-on-one basis. Dogs in general have some degree of separation anxiety. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 25% of dogs can suffer from separation anxiety. You can schedule time with them to reduce dog anxiety. Be it long walks or just some snuggles while watching your favorite show, make sure that your dogs find comfort and love in your company.
Dogs are incredibly sensitive to their environment and their humans. Therefore, it is important that you make them feel loved, wanted, and safe. They need to know that they can count on you, just as you know you can count on them. Happiness begins with comfort.
Quality Time With Paw Friends
You, hooman, are great and all, but dogs love spending time with other doggos. Your dog needs to have some fun with their friends! It can have a positive impact on your dog’s overall physical and mental health. Let us not forget that dog's love feeling apart of a pack.
Arrange playdates for your dog or have a day out at the dog park to make new ones. Invite them and their humans over for a walk together.
Having a dog is a GREAT way to meet new friends and neighbors :)
Yes, baths *can* be relaxing. Baths are also one of the best natural remedies for dog anxiety! Most dogs throw a fit when faced with the idea of being splashed with soap and water. However, never underestimate the power of bath oils, lavender, and bubbles!
Aromatherapy is listed as one of the best natural dog remedies for dog anxiety. Dogs have a far stronger sense of smell. Soothing fragrances can help reduce their nervous tics and get them smelling nice n' clean.
The Power of Freshness
All of the good things in life are best enjoyed when fresh. Fresh flowers, fresh bread, and the most-loved, freshly-made bed. Likewise, fresh produce that is preservative-free is a good starting point for your dog’s day. Incorporate seasonal vegetables and locally sourced meat and products in their meals as these are some of the best dog anxiety foods. Ensure that they are hydrated and are getting their required share of greens.
"Fresh" is not restricted to food. Let your pup begin their day by running around in fresh grass of chasing some squirrels. Keep your home fresh and clean. Poor hygiene is a trigger for anxiety, especially if the living space is small.
Reducing dog anxiety is possible in a number of ways. A good amount of sunshine, activity, and some nutrient dense supplements like BetterPup can help your dog overcome anxiety and live a quality life.
Let’s do better for our pups.
*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor.*