There are many factors that can affect your pet’s behavior, including changes in routine and exposure to loud or new sounds.
In Fort Collins, Colorado, veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coates says behavioral changes may indicate that your pet is stressed.
“You know your pet best,” says Dr. Coates. “Sometimes the changes you notice are caused by a medical problem, but just like us, pets can experience purely mental or emotional stress.”
Even though you might think medication is necessary to calm your pet’s anxiety, there are many natural remedies that can also be effective. You just have to spend some time determining which one(s) your pet responds to the most.
The Best Natural Solutions for Anxiety in Dogs
There is a growing popularity of natural and holistic remedies for dogs as well. The first step should be to consult your veterinarian in order to identify the cause of the stress and rule out a more serious medical or behavioral issue.
These natural remedies for dog anxiety might just be what your pet needs to feel normal and happy again.
Your stress can become your dog’s stress. If you don’t take your dog for regular walks because of a crazy work schedule, he’ll feel anxious.
Take your pup outside to stretch his legs and get some fresh air to eliminate the stress caused by the change in routine, loneliness, and feeling cooped up.
It’s true that a tired dog is a happy dog, and getting him out of the house and letting him exercise can help with his anxiety. Exercise is crucial for all dogs, even the elderly, as long as it involves activities that are easy on their joints as they age.
2. Mental Stimulation
Dr. Coger explains that this stress-relief technique works on several levels. If you teach your dog a new trick, you will divert his attention away from whatever is causing him stress.
Consistent mental and physical stimulation will encourage good behavior as well as prevent bad & destructive behaviors such as biting and barking.
As well as engaging with him one-on-one, you are also providing him with the attention and stimulation he requires after spending long days alone at home. “A lot of dogs develop stress behaviors out of boredom,” Dr. Coger says. “But that can be avoided by simply having some fun together.”
It is common for us to believe that tiredness is only the result of physical exertion; however, mental exertion can have the same calming effects. No matter what trick you teach your dog, anything that challenges him can help relieve stress.
You can take your dog on a scent walk on a different route, so he can meet new neighbors and sniff new bushes.
The inclusion of enrichment in your pet’s day, such as feeding him from a puzzle ball or toy, will provide him with additional mental stimulation.
There is no rule that says animals must eat out of bowls.
According to a study published in 2017 by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow, the right music could be effective in decreasing signs of anxiety in dogs.
The researchers observed groups of dogs listening to different types of music. After a week, they switched genres. It was found that soft rock and reggae music worked best, but individual dogs had different tastes.
You can add another layer of calm to your pet’s environment by playing their favorite music at low volume. But you’ll have to watch your dog’s body language first to make sure that he does appreciate it.
4. Essential Oils Recommended by Vets (Used With Caution)
It is advisable never to apply essential oils directly to your pets, particularly cats since they are toxic if ingested.
Aromatherapy can still benefit your dog if it’s used properly in a home without cats.
There’s nothing like lavender oil when it comes to natural pet stress relief. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) reported in 2006 that it could help dogs who have car anxiety before a long ride. You can purchase it over the counter, and it is considered to be innocuous when lightly applied to the fabric.
“Just put a drop or two on the corner of the blanket or towel your pet will be resting on,” recommends Dr. Coates.
Oil isn’t the only option available for people seeking ancient stress relief for their pets, and oils are only a fraction of what’s available.
Veterinarians can tell you what oils to use, how much to use, and how to administer them.
Make sure your essential oils are kept in a place where your pets can’t get to them. Unlike humans, pets are much more sensitive to essential oils, and some of these oils can be toxic and dangerous.
According to Dr. Coates, pet owners can treat doggy stress with melatonin, a hormone that naturally rises in the bloodstream when animals sleep. Melatonin may help pets stay calm in the short term (for example, before a planned car trip or before a thunderstorm) or sleep better.
According to Dr. Coates, veterinarians frequently recommend L-theanine and L-tryptophan supplements to help with mild to moderate anxiety.
Zylkene, a milk protein derivative, can help calm your pet naturally. It is frequently used successfully in senior dogs suffering from new, age-related anxiety. It is safe to use on a daily basis, when visiting family, or in other situations where your dog may require multiple days of calming support.
CBD oil and chews for dogs have recently become available. Because there are no restrictions on strength or potency, this can be a difficult supplement to use effectively.
CBD does not contain THC, the other active ingredient in marijuana, and thus does not cause your pet to become “high.” When used properly, CBD may help calm your dog and reduce pain and inflammation.