How to Calm Down Your Dog

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Dogs are our best friends, and we always want to see them with their tails wagging. We spoil them with treats and toys because our furry friends deserve the best. If you have a nervous pup who suffers from fear of fireworks or loud noises, hyperactivity, or aggression—or if you have a quarantine puppy with separation anxiety issues—it can be disheartening. They can’t always express their fear and we want to show them that they are safe and loved. Luckily, there are plenty of methods to help your dog feel more relaxed, including reading their body language, providing them with a safe space or pets, and calming treats for dogs. Read on to find out how to help your pup feel safe and relaxed, even in unexpected situations.

Physical Affection

Much like stressed-out humans, physical affection and soothing words from someone they trust can help your dog feel better. If your dog is afraid of fireworks, new people, or other dogs, give them pats on the head and say “Good boy” or “Good girl!” to help soothe them. Take note of your dog’s body language, especially if your dog gets anxious when meeting new people or traveling. Panting, heavy drooling, pacing, whining, pinned-back ears, and a tail tucked between their legs can all be signs of anxiety. Talking to your dog and petting them should help alleviate some of these signs, although some dogs do prefer alone time when they’re stressed—you know your pup best.

Provide a Safe Space

If you have an introverted pup who relaxes once they have some space to themselves, make sure they have a safe place to unwind. Encourage them to go to a favorite blanket, calming bed, or crate when they seem stressed. Make sure the space is quiet, has reduced light, and is stocked with comfortable materials to lay on—maybe even your dog’s favorite toys for a sense of security.

Calming and Stylish

If your dog is sensitive to noise, he or she might benefit from a little accessory known as “quiet ears.” These doggy earmuffs and hoods can drown out loud noises and help your pup relax. There are other wearable items that may reduce your dog’s anxiety, too, like calming vests or wraps. These vests provide a gentle pressure that feels like a calming hug to your dog. If your dog is generally uncomfortable in clothing, though, this may make the situation worse, so make sure to tailor your method to your dog’s personality. If your dog won’t wear quiet ears or a calming vest, another great option is to put a leash on your dog when they are feeling stressed. If your dog loves walks, he or she will likely associate the leash with positive emotions, and may also feel safer knowing that he or she is being held and guided by you.

Exercise

Speaking of walks, a walk or a round of fetch may help your dog feel better if they are experiencing hyperactivity and aggression related to stress. Dogs that chew or bite may be demonstrating these behaviors to express their need to play and run around. This method may not be ideal for a dog who is sensitive to noise or nervous going outside, but it’s great for larger, more active breeds and puppies exhibiting destructive behaviors. If your dog is a border collie, pit bull terrier, rottweiler, doberman, boxer, beagle, dalmatian, Australian shepherd, Australian cattle dog, or another active breed, they may be prone to destructive behaviors and tend to need more exercise. 

Calming Treats for Dogs

Calming treats for dogs can be a great method to relieve stress and anxiety for your pup. Look for treats with natural, organic ingredients that are easy on your dog’s stomach. Ingredients like lavender and chamomile may produce a soothing effect for aggressive dogs, maintaining normal blood pressure and calming them down. If your dog becomes particularly restless at night, calming treats for dogs that contain melatonin can be helpful. Look for calming treats for dogs that contain active ingredients like L-Tryptophan, an amino acid helpful for calming stress reactions to loud noises.

Appeal to Their Noses and Their Ears

Dogs have great sniffers, and they’re great listeners, too. If loud noises startle your dog, then classical music might help soothe them. Reggae and soft rock have also been known to have a calming effect on dogs. If you play an instrument, like guitar or piano, and your dog tends to fall asleep or seems generally relaxed when you play, you could try playing your dog’s favorite song the next time he or she gets startled by a loud noise.

Humans appreciate the soothing smell of lavender essential oil and aromatherapy, and scent has an even stronger impact on dogs. Just make sure the scents you use are safe for your pup and keep it well out of their reach. Maybe you can even find a peanut butter or dog biscuit-scented candle—although that might be a little too tempting. 

Training Classes

If your dog gets nervous around new people or other animals, then training classes might be the solution. Training classes are a great opportunity for your dog to socialize with other pups and people. Plus, if your dog is an intelligent breed that tends to struggle with hyperactivity and aggression due to boredom, weekly training classes can help improve behavioral issues and keep them entertained.

If your dog is feeling anxious, just make sure you’re there to support him or her and provide an endless supply of favorite toys, treats, and belly rubs. Your dog trusts you and knows that you’ll take good care of him or her. 

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