Anxiety isn’t just a human malady — dogs feel stressed and anxious too, for many reasons. A little bit of anxiety is normal for a dog, but if they’re exhibiting signs of anxiety for extended periods of time it can be difficult to cope. Some of the most common anxiety triggers are car rides, grooming salon visits, and outside noises like fireworks or sirens. Fortunately, there are a variety of gGentle Ways to Soothe Your Dog’s Anxiety.
As we all know, music can calm and relax humans — but did you know it can soothe dogs as well? According to animal massage therapist Gene Rukavina, “Music helps improve blood circulation and releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.” He recommends starting at the neck and working down the dog’s body in long strokes. Over time you may be able to identify specific areas of tension and focus your strokes there.
Exercise is a great stress reliever for people and can do the same for dogs. It stimulates the production of serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer, as well as expels excess energy. So get your dog out and about for a walk, hike or play a game of fetch in the backyard.
For more serious separation anxiety, try a special treat they get only when you leave (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter) and ignore them for the first few minutes after you return. This will help them associate your absence with a happy, positive outcome. If these tips don’t work, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist can help you develop a plan to address your dog’s anxiety.