5 Simple Tips To Help Calm Stressed Dogs
March 28, 2019 | 3 min read
Updated October 18, 2023
By Becca Trigg
Summary: Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiousness and nervousness which can be distressing for both pets and pet parents. In this blog, we explore a few ways of calming a nervous dog that may help ease their occasional stress...
Just like us humans, our four-legged friends feel and react to emotions, too - including anxiousness and stress caused by their environment!
It isn’t nice seeing your dog get worked up when they’re feeling nervous or anxious, so it’s good to know how to help support your pooch through rough patches of anxiousness and panic. As their caregiver, you need to give them an extra helping paw when they need it.
It is good to know the signs that your pup is going through an anxious time, too. Not all dogs will shake, pant and whimper when feeling stressed…some may act aggressively or bark more than usual!
Negative emotions can cause negative behaviors, which can become quite distressing for both you and your dog.
Each dog is different, and their stresses can be caused by a whole variety of reasons. Be it that they feel nervous when you’re gone due to loneliness, loud noises like fireworks, a trip to the vet, or meeting new people, it’s great to have a few tips under your belt to help calm an anxious dog and help keep them happy and relaxed.
Here at PetLab Co., we have put together a list of things you can do as a doggy owner to help your pup when they're feeling a little vulnerable…
Provide A Safe Place
When calming an nervous dog, making sure your fluffy friend feels safe is key! The safer they feel, the less anxious they will be… Simple! Creating a safe space for them could be the answer to all your pooch's problems when it comes to coping with anxiousness.
If you have space, you could even create their own little den where they can take themselves away to calm down. Giving your dog the time and space to help themselves relax is very important. Some dogs, when stressed, may need some time alone and that is okay. If you know your dog well, it's a lot easier to know how to help them.
Some of us may have a dog that needs you near them to calm down and unwind. Make yourself available to them when they need you! Cuddling up together under a blanket may sound silly, but that physical comfort from you could really help reduce your pooches' stress and anxiousness!
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: When your pooch is feeling stressed, try to stay as positive as you can around them. The calmer you are, the calmer they will feel. Remember dogs are incredibly intuitive when it comes to emotions and will pick up your own anxieties if you show them during stressful periods!
If your furry companion’s anxiousness is induced by noise, a safe place that is separate and away from the noise is key. A lot of our dogs may struggle when it comes to sudden loud crashes and bags – like fireworks! When calming a dog experiencing stress, the best thing to do is try and keep the sound out.
Now, this may seem contradictory, but sometimes fighting the sound of the fireworks with a louder, more constant noise could help. Why not pop a bit of soothing music on or turn the television up loud? If your dog can’t hear the sporadic crashes and bangs from the outside world, it may help with their nerves.
Use Calming Supplements
There are many natural ways to help calm your dog down, from dietary changes to a soothing massage. One of the easiest ways to support a dog facing external stressors is through supplementation.
Similar to how Valerian Root can work to calm us humans, there are specific doggy calming products that can help here too! Look for supplements that have been expertly formulated to help dogs feel calm, comfortable, and relaxed using all-natural ingredients from a reputable brand.
Provide The Right Amount Of Exercise
When your pooch is feeling nervous, it can create a lot of energy inside their bodies they can’t always control! With all that energy and nowhere to direct it, this can cause your dog’s behavior to change… And, not for the better!
Luckily, just like us humans, exercise can relieve stress and tension for our dogs, too! When you know your dog is about to have a stressful episode or if you’ve noticed they’re in one, try and take them for a good walk or throw a ball in the yard for them to chase.
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: If your dog’s anxiousness is a result of fireworks or busy places with new people, taking them out for a walk wouldn’t be the best idea to reduce their stress. There are lots of ways you can keep your dog active in the comfort of your own home.
Keep Them Occupied With Play & Toys
When calming an anxious dog, keeping your pup occupied with a toy could be the answer! Depending on the triggers that cause your dog’s anxiousness, making sure your dog is focused on something else may help reduce their tension and stress.
As dogs can become destructive when stressed, this distraction will help the both of you during this anxious time. Have a few games of Tug-Of-War together or engage in a gentle play fight… Anything, to keep your dog’s attention away from the stressor.
You could also try giving them a good chew toy to occupy their jaws? This will not only keep them distracted, but it can also release positive emotions in your dog, helping change their mood and emotional state.
Living with an anxious dog can come with its difficulties, especially if you’re not sure what is causing their stress. It is very important to make sure that you get to know your dog inside and out, as it will help you support them and their emotional needs! The stronger the relationship between you and your fluffy companion, the easier you'll be able to recognize changes in their behavior and know what to do!
So, when calming an anxious dog, try these helpful tips when you next find them exhibiting signs of stress and tension. They will hopefully help your pooch feel more comfortable and relaxing during stressful situations.
Author Stock, Matthew "Dogs Can Read Human Emotions" Reuters, Feb 16. 2016 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-dogs-emotions/dogs-can-read-human-emotions-idUSKCN0VP1DH
An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies