Dog Anxiety Solutions, Ways to Calm Anxious Dogs… Fast!

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Dog anxiety is a common issue that significantly affects the overall health and well-being of our furry friends; this is where dog anxiety solutions can provide much-needed assistance.

This debilitating condition can manifest in many ways, from mild panting and trembling to destructive behavior like chewing on furniture, not to mention incessant barking.  

While it’s not always easy to identify what’s causing your dog’s anxiety, you can seek excellent treatments to help deal with it.

There are plenty of stress-busting treatments available, and in this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular dog anxiety solutions for reducing or eliminating the condition.

Types of Dog Anxiety

Separation Anxiety: This form of distress arises when dogs become overly attached to their owners, making time spent alone particularly stressful.

Noise Anxiety: Loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms can incite a wave of fear and distress in canines, a condition known as noise anxiety.

Social Anxiety: Dogs with social anxiety often exhibit fear or discomfort when interacting with new animals, humans, or in unfamiliar settings.

Travel Anxiety: Changes in environment, like during travel, can lead dogs to feel insecure, causing stress and restlessness.

Puppy Anxiety: The abundance of new experiences and unfamiliar stimuli can lead young puppies to feel overwhelmed, resulting in anxiety.

Senior Anxiety: In older dogs, cognitive decline and physical ailments may induce anxiety, affecting their behavior and quality of life.

PTSD/Trauma: Traumatic events from a dog’s past can trigger an anxiety disorder, much like PTSD in humans, affecting their overall demeanor and response to certain situations.

Genetics: Some breeds of dogs may inherit a predisposition to anxiety, making them naturally more susceptible to stress and fear.

Training Your Dog to be Calm 

It’s incredibly beneficial for dogs with anxiety to undergo training because it teaches them proper behaviors and gives them something constructive to focus on. 

black labrador being trained outside

Having to follow a routine can also give them a sense of security. Training also teaches your dog that they don’t always need to react with fear when confronted with a situation they find stressful. 

This can help reduce the intensity of your dog’s reactions and make it easier for them to stay calm in difficult moments. 

Training is one of the best dog anxiety solutions that build that vital trust between you and your dog, which is essential if you want to alleviate their anxiety. 

A strong bond is vital when trying to reduce stress levels because it will give your dog the reassurance they need that you’re there for them no matter what happens. This will make them more likely to look towards you in times of need instead of letting panic take over their behavior completely. 

Positive Reinforcement Training 

Positive reinforcement training is another of our dog anxiety solutions that focuses on rewarding desired behavior rather than punishing undesired behavior.

This type of training does not involve physical disciplines such as leash corrections or scolding; instead, it encourages positive behaviors by reinforcing them with rewards and discourages the dog from engaging in anxious behaviors such as excessive barking or destructive chewing.

A good example of this is if your dog sits when asked, you would reward their action with a treat or verbal praise.

Doing this will make the desired behavior more likely to happen again. 

Desensitization

Dog anxiety solutions such as desensitization slowly expose your dog to what they are anxious about, whether being left alone, going to the vet, or hearing fireworks.

The goal is to help your dog feel more comfortable in the situation by increasing their tolerance level bit by bit.

With desensitization, it’s essential to go slowly and not try to do too much at once; otherwise, you could worsen the problem. 

Counterconditioning 

Counterconditioning is a behavior modification technique that changes how an animal responds to stimuli that usually cause fear or anxiety.

It replaces the fearful or anxious response with a more positive one through classical conditioning principles.

The idea behind counterconditioning is to use positive reinforcement methods to change an animal’s emotional response from negative to positive.

As the animal learns that no harm will come from the stimulus, it begins to associate that stimulus with something pleasant instead of something scary or uncomfortable.

This process helps dogs to reduce their anxiety and teaches them more appropriate ways to respond in situations that may otherwise be distressing. 

Ways to Calm Signs of Anxiety Using Exercise

Exercise helps lessen stress and the signs of anxiety in dogs because it releases endorphins that trigger a feeling of calmness and relaxation. This is especially true when you incorporate activities such as fetch, tug-of-war, or swimming into your dog’s routine. 

One way to ensure that your furry friend gets enough exercise is by taking them for regular walks around the neighborhood or going to a nearby park or dog beach.

man running with his dog - dog anxiety solutions

Going on these walks allows you and your dog to get some fresh air while providing plenty of opportunities for mental stimulation and socialization with other people and animals.

Even a few minutes of exposure to new sights, sounds, smells, and people can positively impact their overall mood! 

Create a Safe Space 

Creating a safe space is one of those “easy-to-do” dog anxiety solutions that can help minimize their stress levels.

A secure area should be free from loud noises or other distractions and provide plenty of comfort items such as blankets, toys, and chew bones for your furry friend to enjoy while they relax.

Try to set up this space in an area of your home where your dog feels most secure, such as a bedroom, so they have somewhere quiet and familiar to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.  

CBD Oil for Anxiety in Dogs

CBD oil has become increasingly popular among dog owners looking for natural remedies for dog anxiety and stress.

It can help calm your dog by targeting the receptors in the brain that regulate mood and emotion.

Look for high-quality CBD oil derived from hemp explicitly designed for pets – this ensures that it contains no THC (the psychoactive compound found in marijuana) and is safe for animal use.

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Start with a small dose and monitor how it affects your dog before increasing the dosage as needed. 

CBD Treats for Symptoms of Anxiety

A tasty solution to managing dogs suffering from anxiety without resorting to harsh medications or other treatment options, is CBD dog treats.

CBD treats contain active ingredients derived from hemp plants which may help lower inflammation while calming nerves in anxious dogs.

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Before feeding your dog CBD treats, however, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first since every dog’s needs are different regarding dosage amounts and frequency of use. 

Natural Remedies – Calming Treats

Calming treats are snacks specifically designed to decrease anxiety in dogs.

These treats typically contain natural ingredients such as chamomile, valerian root, and L-theanine (an amino acid in green tea).

The combination of these ingredients helps to increase serotonin and dopamine levels which have a calming effect on stressed dogs.

Many brands also add supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids which help promote healthy skin and coat and joint health. 

Calming treats are easy to administer; just like regular treats, you can give them to your dog during stressful situations or when they need extra reassurance.

They come in various shapes and sizes so that you can find the perfect treat for your pup’s size and breed. They also taste great, so your dog will be more than happy to take them! 

Dog Appeasing Pheromone Diffusers 

Another idea for dog anxiety solutions is a dog-appealing pheromone diffuser such as Adaptil.

These diffusers release a synthetic version of the pheromones that mother dogs produce to calm and comfort their puppies.

They’re available in plug-in or spray form and can help ease your dog’s stress levels when used as directed.

Calming Music 

Pet owners are increasingly turning to calming music specifically designed for dogs as a quick and painless solution to managing anxiety.

dog wearing headphones

Studies have shown that dogs may react positively to certain types of music, so it stands to reason that playing calming music for your dog when you’re away could help them feel more relaxed.

Several different albums are available, so again, do some research to find one that’s right for your furry friend. You can also create a custom playlist of calm songs if you prefer.

Distraction using DOGTV

DOGTV focuses on providing calming and stimulating content designed to ease stress, anxiety, and boredom in dogs.

It’s particularly useful when their owners are away from home.

The programming includes a wide range of soothing sounds, visuals, and music, tailored to capture dogs’ attention and promote relaxation.

The content also targets the reduction of negative behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, and separation anxiety. This ensures that your dog remains happy, calm, and engaged throughout the day.

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Supplements

Dog anxiety supplements are typically made out of natural ingredients like herbs and essential oils that are used to calm an anxious dog.

These kinds of dog anxiety solutions work by calming down the nervous system and providing some distraction from stressful situations.

Some popular ingredients found in dog anxiety supplements include chamomile, lavender oil, valerian root, and ginger root extract.

These ingredients have been shown to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation in pups. 

The main benefit of dog anxiety supplements is that they provide a safe and natural way to help your dog cope with stress and anxiety without resorting to drugs or other medications. Additionally, these kinds of supplements are easy to administer.

Simply mix them into your dog’s food or water bowl, and they’ll feel more relaxed in no time! They also come in chewable tablet form if you want something more manageable for your dog to eat. 

Thundershirt, for all Types of Anxiety

A Thundershirt is a type of vest designed specifically for dogs that have been proven to reduce anxiety in pets.

The anxiety vest applies gentle and constant pressure around the body, which has been found to have calming properties on dogs experiencing stress or fear-based behaviors.

This pressure has been compared to swaddling an infant, providing comfort and security for your pup during stressful situations like thunderstorms, car rides, veterinary visits, or even being left alone at home. 

The most obvious benefit of using a Thundershirt is that it helps keep your pet calm and relaxed during stressful situations.

However, there are several other benefits too!

Using one may help prevent destructive behaviors such as chewing or barking excessively while you’re away from home.

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Created with patented technology, Thundershirt’s soft and comfortable fabric applies gentle pressure that has been scientifically proven to lower stress levels in dogs. It does not restrict movement or cause discomfort, but instead provides calming reassurance similar to being hugged. This hug-like pressure on the body is known as Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), and calms dogs who suffering from all types of anxieties such as separation anxiety, travel, noise, general phobias, panic attacks and more. 

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If used correctly and consistently over time, it can help reduce separation anxiety caused by leaving the house for extended periods, making life easier for you and your pet! 

Massage

Many people are familiar with the calming benefits of massage for humans, but did you know that massage therapy is also beneficial for dogs?

When done correctly, massage can help ease stress hormones in your dog while increasing those associated with relaxation.

This can work wonders for helping your dog relax in times of heightened anxiety.

It is important to remember that not all massage techniques are appropriate for dogs; always seek out an experienced practitioner who specializes in canine massage. 

TTouch

TTouch (or Tellington TTouch) is another of our recommended dog anxiety solutions that will reduce pet anxiety.

Developed by Linda Tellington-Jones in the 1970s, this technique combines specific physical touches with bodywork exercises to help improve an animal’s well-being.

It works by stimulating the nervous system and calming down a pet’s fight-or-flight response while teaching them how to self-soothe during increased periods of stress or fear.

While it takes some practice to become proficient at TTouch, it can be a very effective way to manage your dog’s anxiety levels once you learn the basics. 

Crate Training for Dog Anxiety

Crate training gives your dog a safe space they can call their own.

It’s a place where they can relax and feel secure, knowing that they won’t be bothered by anything or anyone. This sense of security can do wonders for reducing your dog’s anxiety.

dog in a dog crate

There are several benefits to crate training your dog, including: 

Reduced Separation Anxiety: One of the main benefits of crate training is that it can help lessen separation anxiety.

By teaching your dog that they can have some alone time in their crate without you being there, you can help them feel more comfortable when you’re not around. 

Less Destructive Behavior: Dogs with separation anxiety may often express their fear by chewing on furniture or destroying household items. Crate training can help diminish this destructive behavior by giving them a safe space to go to when they’re feeling anxious. 

Potty Training Assistance: Crate training can also be helpful if you’re potty training an anxious new puppy. By confining them to their crate when you can’t watch them, you can avoid accidents and set them up for success.

Just be sure to leave them briefly in their crate; puppies have small bladders and will need frequent potty breaks! 

Calming Environment: For some dogs, the simple act of being in a confined space can help them feel calmer and more relaxed. If your dog is easily overwhelmed by busy environments or large crowds, having a safe space like a crate that they can retreat to can be very beneficial. 

Herbs for Natural Dog Anxiety Solutions

Many natural remedies can help relieve your dog’s anxiousness without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs.

Herbal remedies like chamomile, lavender, valerian root, hops, passionflower, and kava kava can have calming effects on dogs when given in proper doses.

These herbs contain compounds that interact with specific brain receptors to relieve stress and promote relaxation.

Some herbs may also act as mild sedatives to help your furry friend fall asleep faster when feeling anxious or overwhelmed.   

Puzzle Toys for Separation Anxiety

Puzzle toys are dog anxiety solutions that are designed to keep your furry friend’s mind active and engaged. They typically involve your dog figuring out how to get a treat or toy out of the toy.

This process of problem-solving helps to distract them from their anxiety and keeps their mind occupied.

Puzzle toys also help tire out your dog mentally, leading to a better night’s sleep (often lacking in dogs with separation anxiety). 

In addition to helping with anxiety, puzzle toys have many other benefits. They can help with destructive chewing, provide an outlet for excess energy, and promote healthy teeth and gums.

Puzzle toys come in various shapes and sizes, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your dog’s size and personality. 

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils from plants to create an uplifting mood and provide relief from physical ailments.

bottles of liquid

For anxious dogs, certain scents such as chamomile, lavender, and frankincense have calming effects that could help reduce their stress levels. 

The aroma from essential oils has been known to help relax muscles and induce feelings of calmness by reducing stress hormones such as cortisol in the body.

These dog anxiety solutions work by stimulating the olfactory nerve inside the nose; this nerve sends signals directly to the brain’s limbic system, which controls emotions such as fear and pleasure.

Additionally, essential oils may reduce inflammation caused by stress-related conditions such as arthritis or skin allergies. 

Homeopathic Remedies

There are many homeopathic remedies available for treating anxiety in dogs, and they come in various forms, such as pellets, drops, creams, and sprays.

These dog anxiety solutions contain natural ingredients, such as chamomile, lavender, valerian root, and passionflower extract, that can help soothe anxious dogs by calming their nerves and reducing stress levels. 

While homeopathic remedies offer a natural and, in some cases, effective method of treating dog anxiety, it’s essential to remember that these remedies work best in conjunction with other behavioral techniques and lifestyle changes to maximize their impact. 

Anxiety Treatment Using Diet

One of the easiest dog anxiety solutions is to manage your dog’s anxiety by looking at their diet and ensuring they get all the necessary nutrients for good health.

dogs diet - dog anxiety solutions

Nutritional deficiencies can worsen anxiety, so it’s vital to be sure your dog receives the essential vitamins and minerals they need from their food.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids notably benefit dogs due to their calming effects. Equally, researchers link specific vitamins, such as B6, to decreased stress hormones in dogs, making it essential to include sufficient B6 in their diet.

Anti-Anxiety Medications for Anxious Dogs

When it comes to treating dog anxiety, a few options are available such as behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes (e.g., reducing stress), and anti-anxiety medications.

Veterinarians typically prescribe anti-anxiety medications, which have shown effectiveness in reducing anxiety-related symptoms in dogs, like excessive panting or trembling.

These medications block specific receptors in the brain that cause fear and panic and can help reduce symptoms within minutes after administration.

There are also over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl. However, only use these dog anxiety solutions under a veterinarian’s guidance because misuse or overuse can lead to potentially dangerous side effects.

Final Thoughts

You can quickly treat anxiety in various ways, and those treatments can be incredibly effective in managing dog anxiety.

That said, it’s not a “one size fits all” situation.

No single solution can claim to work 100% for every dog or the particular kind of anxiety those dogs suffer from.  

Therefore, it’s wise to prepare yourself for some trials and errors.

From puzzle toys and aromatherapy to diet changes and anti-anxiety medications, with so many different dog anxiety solutions that are readily available, it’s just a matter of time before you hit on the right one for your anxious do. 

sad looking dog looking up - dog anxiety solutions

Just remember to be patient, and don’t give up. 

Your dog’s counting on you!

Disclaimer

All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.

Disclaimer

All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian's advice.
Jen Smart

Transforming anxious pups with her wealth of hands-on practical experience, and qualified in the following disciplines: Holistic Healing, Canine Anxiety & Therapy, Zoopharmacognosy, and CBD Oil for Animals

Founder of Anxious Canine and proud member of the Complementary Medical Association.

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