Many dogs suffer from some kind of anxiety in their lives. Whether it’s from separation, moving, fireworks, storms, or something else entirely. One thing is for sure, no one like seeing their dogs suffer from stress. If you’ve asked yourself “What can I give my dog for anxiety?” you’re not alone.
If it’s not a chronic condition, there are many options out their outside of medication.
Proper training, attention, and tools can help treat your dogs anxiety and help them to cope better during stressful times.
Keep reading for some advice for treating your dog’s anxiety.
How to Help a Dog with Anxiety: 13 Things to Try
Here are some methods to help a dog with anxiety.
Of course, if you are concerned about chronic anxiety, or symptoms are manifesting in ways that are outside of your own expertise and experience- we suggest first visiting your vet to discuss the issue.
1. Chew Toys
Sometimes chewing on something helps an anxious dog. Does your dog chew through your favorite pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals?
If so, your anxious dog needs better chew options. Try long-lasting chews but beware of the type.
Read the directions on the packaging. Some chews can come apart when chewing. Don’t give them to your dog if you’re not at home.
But if you’re at home, a bully stick is a great option. If you’re gone during the day, try an antler.
Or give your dog a KONG full of peanut butter. Put the peanut butter in and then freeze it. It keeps your dog busy for a long time.
Dogs need exercise in the same way humans do. Exercise relieves stress. Exercise is a serotonin stimulator, and serotonin is a feel-good chemical in your body.
Dogs have a strong prey drive that comes from their wolf DNA. They love chasing things. When they don’t get enough exercise, it frustrates their prey drive.
A good walk releases energy and aggression that can cause anxiety.
Part of being a good dog owner is committing to exercise for your dog every day. Aim for at least a 30-minute daily walk. It’s a win-win for both of you.
3. Try a Thunder Shirt
Thunder shirts work on the same principle as swaddling a baby. The shirt puts gentle pressure around the dog. The pressure is comforting to an anxious dog.
This isn’t the best option during a hot summer but it’s great during the winter.
4. Challenge Your Dog
Some dogs are anxious because they’re bored or lonely when you’re at work.
Show your dog a couple of tiny training treats. Then let him watch as you place them under a plastic cup.
The dog then tries getting the treat. If you’ve got a super smart dog, it may not keep him entertained for long. But it’s fun for you and your dog!
5. CBD Oil
CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant, otherwise known as marijuana. CBD is a phytocannabinoid that doesn’t produce a “high.” But it does help with both anxiety and depression.
Many pet stores now carry CBD-infused treats as well as CBD oil.
6. A Dog Crate
You might not like the idea of crating your dog. But many dogs like the comfort of an enclosed space. It makes them feel safe.
If you use a crate, make sure you buy the correct size. Most crates have a weight and size chart on them. Crate training can take time, and you’ll want to be around the first time you put them into it for an extended amount of time in case they struggle to adjust.
If you want to try this method to help your dog’s anxiety, check out our article about dog crates in order to choose the best one for your dog.
7. Noise Machine
Some dogs are only anxious when you’re away. Does your dog exhibit symptoms of stress when you get home from work?
If so, your dog has separation anxiety. Sometimes a little white noise is all your dog needs. Try playing the radio with quiet classical music when you leave the house.
If you don’t mind leaving the television on, that’s another remedy. A fan or noise machine are other options.
8. Doggie Massage
Don’t spend tons of money at the spa for your dog! But dogs love a massage as much as most humans do. One great method is to brush them with a massaging brush like the one pictured above.
Give your dog a gentle massage every morning for about ten minutes. It’s good for your dog and for you too. Petting your dog reduces your blood pressure!
9. Diffuse Essential Oils
A dog’s nose is super sensitive when it comes to smell. Many essential oils aren’t safe for your pet.
But lavender and violet leaf are two safe essential oils. Lavender produces relaxation in humans and dogs. Buy a diffuser and diffuse the oil into the air for a calming effect.
10. Reduce Your Own Stress
Dogs are sensitive when it comes to their owner’s emotions. If you’re stressed, your dog gets stressed too.
Are you full of anxiety? Try adding some meditation or light exercise, such as yoga, to your daily routine. When you arrive home from work, take a few deep breaths before opening the door to greet your dog.
Always be careful with herbal remedies. Dogs can’t always take the same herbs that people can. But some herbs are safe and work well for dogs.
Here are some to consider:
12. Don’t Underestimate Positive Reinforcement
It’s possible you’re using too much negative reinforcement. Do you yell at your dog a lot? Constant scolding can lead to anxiety in your dog. Use positive reinforcement instead of yelling.
Petting offers great positive reinforcement. Petting is better for your dog’s waistline than constant treats. Verbal praise isn’t as effective as petting. When your dog does something good, scratch him behind the ears while you’re talking to him in a soothing voice.
13. Some Social Time
Like people, dogs also need some social time.
Not all dogs are good with other dogs. But if your dog is, take him to the dog park now and then so he can spend time with other canines.
What Can I Give My Dog for Anxiety?
Now you’ve got many answers for your question, “What can I give my dog for anxiety?”
Dogs are complex creatures. It’s not always easy to get to the root cause of their anxiety. Start with easy fixes like chew toys and exercise.
If those don’t work, relieve boredom with challenging puzzle toys and games. Leave the radio on and create a safe space in a dog crate.
Remember to check in with your own stress level and reduce it if necessary. Pet and play with your dog and give him a massage.
Most dogs respond to one or more of the above solutions. So keep trying! And if you need more doggie advice, find it on our blog.