If you think your dog has anxiety issues, it is vital that you learn how to treat dog anxiety naturally. This is a much better solution rather than giving your furkid prescription drugs because it’s definitely safer.
Natural treatment will protect your canine from unpleasant drug-related side effects like lethargy, irregular heartbeats, digestive distress, increased anxiety, and reduced muscle control. You will have a healthier and happier doggie.
But again, finding an effective natural anxiety treatment can sometimes be a hit-or-miss game. Some remedies will soothe your anxious dog just like drugs, while others can disappoint or take overly long to calm your anxious canine.
11 Effective natural remedies for treating dog anxiety
If you aren’t ready to gamble with your pooch’s anxiety attack, here are 11 natural dog anxiolytics that won’t frustrate. Since they are natural treatments, there’s no harm giving them a try.
1. Regular and enough exercise
Exercise is the first line remedy for soothing dog anxiety naturally. You can use it to manage mild to complex cases of anxiety.
This therapy stimulates the production of dopamine, endocannabinoids, GABA, and norepinephrine. The neurochemicals release a calming effect that is similar to that of prescription opioids. They improve sleep, stabilize mood, and boost self-esteem. In addition, exercise will distract your dog from fearful thoughts that worsen anxiety.
Thus, if your dog is feeling anxious, go out together and run, walk, cycle, or hike. As an alternative, you can enjoy outdoor games like hide-and-seek, flirt pole, Frisbee, swimming, or tug of war. You need no special exercises to soothe anxious Fido.
2. Music therapy
Music therapy suppresses cortisone, the hormone that supports anxiety while stimulating dopamine production, a ‘feel-good neurotransmitter. With low cortisone levels and high levels of dopamine, your anxious canine will feel better, more calm, and confident.
Apart from hormone regulation, music will distract your anxious dog’s attention from those fearful thoughts that trigger anxiety. Your canine will spend its time relaxed, and absorbed in good tunes.
Since not all music genres will calm down anxious Fido, make sure you get your music list right. Dog therapists claim that reggae, classical, and soft rock dissipates anxiety better than any other music genre.
If you doubt your music selection prowess, use soundtracks that are composed explicitly for anxious canines. Just make sure you don’t use one soundtrack to soothe your dog always. Dogs dislike repetitive music.
3. Dog aromatherapy
Dog aromatherapy leverages the soothing power of aromatic essential oils to improve your dog’s overall wellness. It is similar to human aromatherapy which has been helping mankind since 3500 years BC.
The aromatic compounds will activate your dog’s limbic system which is responsible for fighting anxiety, stress, fear, sadness, and anger.
While there are several essential oils for aromatherapy, dog therapists recommend ginger, lavender, lemon, cypress, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, chamomile, fennel, and geranium essential oils.
You can use these essential oils to make a soothing dog bath, a nasal inhaler, a massaging lotion, or calming aromatic candles. Nonetheless, you should always go for pure oils. Adulterated essential oils will not deliver the desired therapeutic outcome.
4. Canine massage
If you have ever had a massage, we bet you understand how it melts stress, pain, and other discomforts. That is the same way a professional canine massage will help your anxious furry friend calm down.
This natural remedy for dog anxiety stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin. These “feel-good” chemicals will cheer up your dog with positive feelings like happiness, focus, and confidence. With these hormones running in your dog’s blood, anxiety will be a forgotten issue.
While the best massage therapy is offered by specialists who know what the right places to touch, you can do it by yourself at home. There are massage manuals available that teach you how to massage your dog so that it becomes an enjoyable and beneficial experience for both you and your furkid. Just make sure you massage your dog’s neck, chest, back, belly, and legs in a gentle, circular motion.
5. Use anxiety jackets for dogs
Massage, exercise, aromatherapy, and petting are great natural anxiety relievers. But, let us face it. With a busy schedule, you will hardly get that time to massage your dog every time anxiety visits. That’s where the anxiety jackets come in.
They are designed to apply some gentle and constant, massage-like pressure on your dog’s torso. Your dog will feel comforted and calm. Basically, the jackets will take your place when you aren’t around to hug or pet anxious Fido. They are great for dogs that fear the storm, fireworks, or any loud noise.
If an anxiety jacket sounds like an ideal remedy for your dog, here are top-rated brands to try out. They are sturdy, washable, and easy to fit. Several dog parents are already using them.
Thundershirt’s anxiety jacket features a patented design that applies gentle pressure to soothe your anxious pup. Its manufacture claims that this jacket is 80% effective in managing low to mild cases of over-excitement, anxiety, and fear.
Thundershirt made the anxiety jacket from a soft, light, and breathable fabric to let your dog wear it for several hours comfortably. It is available in eight sizes that can fit XX small to XX-large dogs.
This 3-in-1 anxiety jacket leverages the power of massage, aromatherapy, and music to calm your anxious dog. With such features, the CozyVest stands as a more effective option than its rival anxiety jackets with basic features.
This anxiety-relieving jacket applies constant pressure to make your dog feel secure, at the same time releasing the aromatic scents of lavender or chamomile to soothe your anxious dog, and a speaker that plays soothing music to cheer up anxious Fido.
Kittystar made this Thundershirt from a soft, breathable fabric, padded with Viscose fiber to hug your dog snugly and comfortably. It yields a constant, mild pressure that helps your dog feel secure when battling anxiety.
The jacket is ideal for calming down canines that get anxious when exposed to crowded places, flames, and loud noises. Available in multiple sizes, you will hardly miss one that fits your dog snuggly.
6. Work on your mood
Dogs can read your emotions accurately. Thereafter, these canine friends will adjust their mood according to yours. They will get anxious when you are sad, stressed, depressed, and optimistic when you look contented.
Therefore, if you are a moody pet parent, fix your mental wellness before you proceed to help your dog. Some suggestions are having enough exercise, eating a balanced diet, learning how to manage your emotions, and going for counseling.
7. Distract your canine
Treating anxiety isn’t always about complex therapeutic processes. But, you can dissipate it by simply redirecting your dog’s thoughts from fear, panic, apprehension, or uneasiness to positive things like fun, socializing, and bonding.
Though this therapy sounds too simple to alleviate anxiety, it works effectively. Actually, mental wellness therapists have been using distraction as a remedy for people with panic attacks.
So, rest assured, this distraction therapy will work effectively on your dog too. Some of the most significant anxiety distractions you would want to use are:
Exercise will not just distract your dog from stressors. But, it will also boost the production of feel-good hormones to cheer up your furry friend. You can go for walks in the woods, or engage in fun play activities like fetch or hide and seek. Exercise your pooch regularly to improve its mental agility.
• Visit a dog park
Dog parks are another great anxiety distractors. They will help your canine divert its focus to fun activities like playing off-leash, as well as meeting and socialize with other dogs. Regular visits to the dog park could help your canine cope with future episodes of anxiety, especially those resulting from poor socialization.
• Train a new skill
Is there a new skill you’ve been looking to teach your canine? Take advantage of their anxiety attacks to teach that skill. Since training needs intensive attention, your pooch will easily steer clear from fearful thoughts, and focus on mastering the new skill. Also, Fido will feel more secure as you spend some time close by.
8. Use dog calming pheromones
Dog calming pheromones release an appealing scent to induce a calming effect similar to that puppies get when they are under their mother’s care. Vets claim that the calming pheromones work like Clomipramine, a common anxiolytic for dogs.
When your dog detects the pheromones, it will produce hormones that help it feel less fearful and secure. Thus, with the pheromones anxious Fido, will get a natural sense of security and comfort, even when no one is around.
Pheromones are great for dogs with separation anxiety, those that are sensitive to loud sounds, as well as the canines that get anxious when exposed to a new environment, people, or dogs.
Dog calming pheromones are available in online stores and pet shops as wearables, sprays, and plug-in diffusers.
9. Training your dog to overcome fear
Anxiety, more so that occasioning from fear, separation, and poor socialization, can be fixed forever. So, if you feel that your dog gets anxious due to loud noise, the presence of visitors, or your absence, don’t just rely on anxiety drugs and therapies.
Instead, help it learn to cope up with the fearful situations. That way, your dog will lead a happier life with fewer anxiety attacks and little need for medication. But, how do you help your dog overcome anxiety? Below are effective tricks.
Desensitization entails exposing your furry friend to its causes of fear. For instance, if your dog fears fireworks, expose it to the fireworks sound frequently to help it get used. You can record fireworks and then start playing them in low volume whenever you are indoors. Keep increasing the volume slowly to help your dog get used to the sound.
Counterconditioning is a process of helping your dog like what they supposedly fear. For example, if your canine fears the presence of new dogs, help it like other dogs. How? Gift it with treats every time you meet a new dog on the way. This simple trick will help your pup to associate meeting new dogs with good things.
Also, you can encourage your dog to greet new dogs, and if it complies, give treats to reinforce the achievement.
10. Use soothing herbs
Check the labels of many natural remedies for anxiety, and you will discover that many are made from herbs, some of which are readily available in your kitchen garden, or at the grocery shop nearby. Those herbs can still calm down anxious Fido, without much processing.
Not sure of which herbs could help your nervous dog calm down? Here is a list of the most effective herbs for dog anxiety.
• German Chamomile
While all types of chamomile are potent anxiolytics, the German variety is more powerful. It has loads of apigenin, a sedative compound that increases serotonin levels to help your anxious dog calm down. You can administer it as an herbal tea.
Kava contains loads of kavapyrones, a substance that excites your dog’s limbic system. It calms, relaxes, combats pain, and improves sleep. You can administer it as a tea or grind it to make a powder that you can add to your dog’s food.
Lavender contains linalool, an aromatic compound with powerful relaxation and sedative action. For years, scientists have used it to improve mood, alleviate depression, and manage anxiety.
• St. Johns Wort
St. Johns Wort is rich in cyclopseudohypericin, hyperforin, protohypericin, and several other flavonoids with an anxiolytic effect. These flavonoids stimulate the production of feel-good hormones that improve mood while reducing anxiety.
11. Supplement your dog’s diet with brain-boosting foods
Like human beings, healthy dogs need a balanced diet to keep every vital organ in a top working shape. So, if your dog gets anxious easily, the chances are that its central nervous system isn’t well-nourished.
A simple modification of your dog’s diet could improve its brainpower, thereby making it more resilient to anxiety.
A good diet for dog anxiety should provide adequate B vitamins, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Avoid foods with a lot of sugar and heavily processed dog foods as they can compromise your dog’s mental health.
Time to cheer up your anxious canine
Prescription drugs aren’t the only treatments for anxiety. But, you can also use natural remedies like aromatherapy, good nutrition, canine massage, distraction, and pheromone therapy.
In addition, you can manage dog anxiety using desensitization training, music therapy, anxiety jackets, and enough exercise. All these natural remedies are as effective as anxiolytics.
Finally, I feel that the best way to ease your dog’s anxiety is through showing your love for your furkid. All dogs want to know that their paw parents love and care for them so if you do not spend a lot of time with them, they will get anxious. Over time, this becomes an issue for them and you’ll see them acting up. Thus, if you have to make sure you do not neglect your furry friend no matter how busy you may be. They are just like your own children. You have to make sure that you make them a priority in your life.