How to Calm Dog Anxiety Naturally
As someone who has dealt with anxiety for many years, I know how important it is to manage those feelings. And of course my sweet rescue pup, Roxie, has anxiety that surpasses mine! I’ve tried various methods over the years, and luckily I’ve found a few natural remedies for anxiety in dogs. Here I’m sharing my top 7 tips for how to calm dog anxiety naturally.
This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx, but all opinions are my own.
7 Natural Remedies for Anxiety in Dogs
Just like humans, dogs need strategies to help them manage their stress. You may be interested to know that many anxiety-reducing strategies that work for people are the same ways you can help calm down your dog!
1. Daily Exercise
Let’s start with one of the most obvious ways to help your dog stay calm – exercise. Whether your dog is just energetic and hyper, or a ball of nervous energy, regular exercise can help them calm down.
Most dogs should be walked at least twice a day. Just like you and me, dogs need a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. Some need long or vigorous walks and play time, while some dogs (such as senior dogs) may need short walks a few times during the day.
I always feel much better after a great workout, and dogs respond the same way. If you know a particularly stressful event is coming up, such as a new guest or a vet visit, take you pup out for a nice walk or a game of fetch beforehand.
2. Background Noise
There are a few particular sounds that put dogs into freak-out mode:
- delivery trucks
- lawn mowers or other power tools
- monthly emergency siren tests
- the ice cream truck
- and of course, fireworks
While super loud sounds like fireworks are more difficult to muffle, many of the everyday neighborhood sounds can be covered up with a bit of background noise in your home.
This can be as simple as turning on the TV to a station that you normally watch. You could even turn on some relaxing dog music for your pup.
What music do dogs like? Apparently they prefer reggae and soft-rock. I guess that makes sense, as it is pretty calming to me!
3. Supplements and CBD
In the past few years, CBD has become pretty popular in helping adults with a variety of things, including anxiety. But did you know there are CBD supplements for dogs too?
We have been using Green Gruff RELAX Calming Chews for Roxie with pretty good results. Earlier this year we had an unfortunate incident when I got between her and the door as a certain 2-day delivery person was leaving a package (Roxie really dislikes delivery people). My overly-anxious dog nipped my finger pretty badly, and I knew I needed to find a way to help with future situations.
The RELAX Calming Chews are not a treat, but are a supplement that includes CBD, L-Theaning, Organic Ashwagandha (another supplement I personally take for stress), Valerian Root, and Organic Chamomile (sound familiar?). In addition to calming the nervous system, these ingredients also boost the production of dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin.
As with my own body, I’m very picky about any supplements I give to Roxie. I was happy to learn that Green Gruff supplements were scientifically proven and backed by research – plus they are produced with completely sustainable methods and ingredients! Their facility is 100% solar powered and they use nutrient-dense cricket protein in their chews. SO COOL.
In addition to the calming supplements for dogs, Green Gruff also makes EASE Joint and Hip Chews to target joint, hip, and connective tissue pain, as well as SOOTHE Skin & Coat Chews to help reduce itching and dry skin.
Like all supplements, results aren’t immediate and are best when used daily. You can get 30% off any jar (90 count) of Green Gruff supplements through June 30, 2021 by using discount code GGWF30.
4. Snug-fitting Dog Shirt
I don’t know about you, but a big hug really helps me when I’m feeling super anxious. While your dog may enjoy a hug from you, they may also respond well to a shirt that does the same thing.
There are some popular brands out there, and you may need to try a couple different ones to see which brand, style, and fit works best for your pup.
Unlike supplements which are best used daily, a calming shirt should not be used every day. Experts recommend saving this method for the most stressful situations, such as thunderstorms or fireworks.
Have you ever grabbed your phone to scroll social media when you were feeling nervous? Maybe turned on a movie or called a friend?
Distraction methods can be very effective in reducing anxiety. While Roxie has yet to ask for a funny movie when she’s upset, other forms of distraction have been helpful for her.
Playing with your pup – fetch or some other game – can help take their mind off of what’s going on elsewhere. Puzzles that stimulate their brains are also a great way to distract them, helping them forget all about what stressed them in the first place. Using mental energy is very similar to exercise in calming super active dogs as well, which can decrease other unwanted behaviors such as chewing or digging.
See some of our favorite pet products here!
6. Check YOUR Stress
I’m really calling myself out with this one! If you are someone who is often stressed or has high-anxiety, your furry friend can often pick up on that.
Again, just like people, stress can be a little contagious.
If you find yourself freaking out in anticipation of fireworks or stressing about something at home, take a moment to see if your energy may be passed on to your dog. If so, you may want to try some of these suggestions for yourself!
7. Remove from the Situation
I saved this one for last because it isn’t always the easiest method to use. If fireworks are going off at midnight (or let’s be real, they probably started at 7 PM) all over the country, there isn’t really going to be a way to get away from the noise.
However, there are other times when removal from the situation may be your best bet. For example, we recently had new windows installed in our home – which meant hours of noise and strange people walking around. We made plans in advance to let Roxie play at my father-in-law’s house where she wouldn’t be overly stressed.
Removal from the situation doesn’t always mean a different location outside of the home though. If your dog feels safe in their crate, letting them get away to their “own” space may be helpful enough. Or if there is another area in your home where they can go when you know the pizza delivery person is on the way, send them there a few minutes in advance.
Which Calming Methods for Dogs Work Best?
The only way to know which natural remedy for your dog’s anxiety works best is to try them out. Oftentimes, it takes using multiple methods for the best results.
You may find that a combination of dog anxiety chews, exercise, a snug-fitting dog shirt, and background noise works best for your dog. Or some other combination may be more effective.
No matter what, stay consistent with your methods and keep trying until you find a solution! Your dog will thank you.