According to a report by Scientific Findings, 72.5% of all dogs experience one or more anxiety-related symptoms over the course of their lives. This is a staggering amount and illustrates how important it is to help your dog relax.
Each dog has a unique past with some having an introverted personality, while others carrying a history of trauma. Whatever the reason may be, dog owners have to show a significant amount of patience and understanding while calming their dog.
So, how do you go about doing this?
Improving your dog’s quality of life won’t happen overnight. It requires persistence and this begins by recognizing what can help a dog relax over the long-term.
This article will take a detailed look at some of the most effective ways of helping your dog stay calm.
- Massage Your Dog
Giving your dog a soothing massage can have a tremendous effect on their physical and mental health. It eliminates the rigidity that envelops their body due to those constant periods of anxiety.
By massaging your dog, it’s possible to help loosen their muscles and build their confidence around you.
To do this correctly, it’s highly recommended to have the dog sit or lie down beside you before starting. This will make it easier to give them an effective massage that soothes the body right away.
Create a consistent routine and watch as your dog begins relishing these little massage sessions throughout the week. In some cases, they may even seek you out for a quick massage from time to time!
- Use Classical Music
Music is a formidable tool to have at your disposal when helping a dog unwind.
In essence, you are going to be taking advantage of targeted sound therapy to ease the dog’s nerves. Playing classical music can do this by helping settle their anxiety and offering a way for them to savor the moment with you.
Please note, it’s not a good idea to use high-octane music (i.e. rock, heavy metal) as it will agitate the dog and likely heighten its anxiety.
- Create Routines
Anxious dogs love routines because it helps them lead a structured lifestyle. This means they wake up at the same time, eat the same food, and go for a walk along the same route.
Everything is consistent, familiar, and in line with what their breed’s needs.
This is one of the best ways to help a dog calm down and improve its quality of life over time.
If you’re all over the place, the dog is going to get antsy. They won’t know when to wake up or what’s going to happen next as soon as the day begins. This is unsettling when they already have anxiety-ridden tendencies.
In fact, this applies to any relaxation technique you implement.
For example, let’s assume you’re giving the dog a massage every day for 10-15 minutes. Why not have the massage sessions in the same spot and at the same time so the dog knows what’s going to happen next?
Just these little tweaks can make a serious difference in the dog’s life.
- Don’t be Loud and Aggressive
Sometimes, the real issue is the humans around a dog.
There are times when the dog begins going into a shell because of your heightened energy levels throughout the day. A dog that is already scared won’t like a loud TV, booming music, or a constant stream of people walking through the house at odd hours of the day.
This is often termed as fear-related anxiety in dogs.
To overcome it, you have to provide a calm, relaxing place for the dog to live in.
Yes, over time the dog will get better at enjoying a bit of noise, but it won’t help when they’re still dealing with anxiety-related symptoms. Just giving your dog a some peace and quiet can go a long way.
It’s also important to adjust to the dog’s needs beyond noise pollution. For example, it’s always smart to recognize what the dog is scared of (i.e. certain noises, sights) and make sure they’re removed from the house. It can even be something as simple as keeping them close to you on a walk if that’s what settles their nerves.
Not only is this essential at home, but especially when you’re out and about. A good example of this would be traveling with your anxious dog from place to place.
Each situation is unique, but as a dog owner, it’s important to keep your eyes wide open.
- Use a Calming Coat
Calming coats can be an exceptional option when soothing a dog and providing a sense of support as it moves around. The idea is similar to swaddling a baby as it offers a form of psychological protection.
It’s important to use a well-sized calming coat to see tangible results. Otherwise, a loose or poorly fitted calming coat is going to have a limited effect on the dog.
It simply won’t provide enough support for the dog to enjoy the advantages of constant pressure around the torso.
This is one of those solutions that can have a wonderful impact on the dog’s life both in the short and long-term.
The dog will begin to move around freely and you may even see that tail wagging left and right as your dog enjoys its time near you. Never underestimate the psychological benefits of a well-designed calming coat for dogs.
It can be a real game-changer in pacifying your dog.
- Spend More Time With Your Dog
Whether it has to do with work, school, and/or social commitments, many dog owners don’t spend enough time with their beloved pet. Even with the best of intentions, this time spent away from them can have a devastating effect.
Separation anxiety in dogs is a real concern and has to be treated with care.
While it’s not always possible to close to your dog, it’s essential to create those all-important routines and make sure to give them your undivided attention multiple times during the day.
This can be something as simple as a game of fetch after work or cuddling on the sofa watching TV.
These are the most effective adjustments a dog owner can make when it comes to their dog’s well being.
Whether your dog has a history of trauma and/or maintains a shy personality, it’s your responsibility to help work on their anxiety-related symptoms. Don’t assume they’ll get better on their own.
It’s important to make lifestyle changes that will allow the dog to flourish and enjoy its life in the coming years.