Did you know that many dogs suffer from anxiety? Just like humans, anxiety is extremely common among our furry friends.
Signs include destructive behaviour like chewing up furniture, scratching doors and digging. Panting, pacing, shaking, trembling and hiding are all common symptoms. While seeing your pup suffer can be distressing, there are plenty of things you can do to help.
In this article, we have rounded up some of the best ways to reduce your dog’s anxiety and leave them feeling calm and confident.
1. Find a trainer
If you think your dog is struggling with anxiety, the first and most important thing you can do is to find a dog trainer. This step sits at the top of our list because finding a trained professional is the best and most effective way to help both you and your doggo.
As a dog parent, it can be really hard to see our dogs suffer. It can also feel overwhelming and it is often difficult to know where to begin. An experienced dog trainer can point you in the right direction and set you up for success.
First off, they can determine whether or not your dog actually has anxiety. If they do, then the trainer can put together a tailored approach geared towards your dog’s needs. They can also provide you with useful tools and insights to help you along the way.
2. Physical Contact
Even when you feel completely useless, know that there is nothing more comforting to your dog than you. Just the simple act of touch can make all the difference to your doggo. In fact, cuddles are one of the best ways to combat anxiety. If your doggo is feeling down, set some time aside for a snuggle sesh on the sofa.
3. Sign up to a good daycare
Being left alone for hours on end is a common cause of anxiety in dogs. As most of us need to work, doggy daycares are a great alternative. At K9 Heaven, we cater to pups of all temperaments with a daily schedule that’s suited to their needs.
With a team of dog loving professionals, your doggo will feel safe and secure with heaps of time for cuddles and fur ball interactions. Choose a centre that knows how to handle anxiety in dogs. At our Auckland doggy daycare, we will do everything we can to build trust with your doggo and make them feel at home. Along with plenty of exercise and physical touch, your BFF will also experience nutritious food, daily grooming and plenty of time to explore our farm.
You heard it right! Humans aren’t the only ones who like a good massage. In fact, your doggo will love you for it. Massages can alleviate tension caused by anxiety, leaving your dog feeling relaxed and re-energised.
To give your pup a massage, make sure they are in a calm and serene state. Start at the neck with circular motions and move down the back with long downward strokes. Finally, move to the chest and front legs for a good old pat down.
You might even start to notice where they hold their tension. If that’s the case, you can focus on specific areas of the body for maximum effect.
5. Music Therapy
While the term music therapy may sound complicated, it’s actually a really effective and simple way to reduce anxiety in dogs. It also works well on dogs with phobias or chronic pain, and pups recovering from surgery. Classical music (especially anything with harps), reggae and soft rock are all known to help dogs to feel calm.
If you have identified a time when your dog is more anxious, you can use the music to help them relax. For example, if your dog is afraid of the car, or particular sounds during your journey, music can be used to calm the nervous system and block those sounds out. Be aware that dogs can quickly tune out if they hear the same songs over and over again, so try to mix it up. The more you use music as a tool, the more effective it will become.
Both dogs and humans thrive on exercise. Not only is it good for our physical health but it is also vital for our mental wellbeing. Seeing as it’s good for both you and your doggo, exercise time is a great way to bond with your pup. Maybe you like long walks, riding or biking. Whatever it is, your dog is bound to join in.
Getting out in the fresh air and connecting to nature works wonders on your dog’s anxiety and it will make you feel good too!
While exercise is important, it goes hand in hand with a good and varied diet. What goes into our dogs’ bowls can have a huge impact on their health. Sometimes, pet food isn’t enough to give your doggo the nutrients they need. Supplements are a great way to improve mental health and overall wellbeing but with so many on the market, knowing which ones to choose can be a little confusing.
Supplements containing melatonin, thiamin, chamomile, L-Theanine or L-tryptophancan help with everything from separation anxiety to fears around transport. Supplements come in a variety of oils, chews and treats so you will have plenty of options.
If your doggo has been suffering with anxiety, it’s time to de-stress and take some action. From cuddles to long walks, there are plenty of things you can do to help your dog find their zen.
At our Auckland doggy daycare, we welcome dogs of all personalities and temperaments to enjoy our farm. Our experienced team of professionals are on hand every step of the way to ensure that all needs are met. If there’s one thing our team can’t get enough of, it’s doggy cuddles!