When your dog gets anxious they express their emotions through chewing and destroying everything in sight. Often, your dog will get anxious when you leave for an extended period of time. Because dogs are pack animals, they get worried when their pack leader (you) leaves for too long. This worry turns to anxiety which then turns to creative ways to ease the anxiety – e.g crewing on your favorite running shoes. Luckily for you (and your running shoe budget) we have compiled a list of the top 8 ways to reduce your dog’s anxiety.
The 8 Best Ways To Reduce Anxiety In Dogs
1. Provide proper stimulation prior to leaving. This means anything from a game of fetch inside or a run around the block. Whatever energy level your dog has should be matched prior to you leaving. If you head out with your dog eager for activity they will find a way to entertain themselves… note that chewing is a favorite pastime!
2. Leave cartoons on for your dog. Many pet owners think the nature channel or Animal Planet is the best way to keep your dog entertained but these shows backfire as your dog can pick up on the other animal noises. Sometimes stressing them out even more. Instead, turn on Shrek or another kid favorite and your dog will be soothed by the sound of human voices.
3. Leave ample toys around. Having fun and stimulating toys available while you are away gives your dog plenty of alternatives to chewing or destroying other things in your house.
4. Have a safe space for your dog to sleep. There are many mixed reviews on crate training. I personally am a huge fan and my French bulldog Gustav is grateful for his personal spot. He knows that his crate is his personal space and that no one messes with him when he is in there. We often come home to find him fast asleep in his den, happy as a clam.
5. Dog walkers can help. If you are gone for a long time consider hiring a dog walker to come by mid-day and give your dog exercise and attention. There are a bunch of affordable options and your dog will be excited about the mid-day adventure.
6. Calming vests help anxious dogs. Pet product designers have figured out a creative solution to calming dogs by fitting them with snug fitting vests. These anti-anxiety vests are a great option dogs that get anxious during thunderstorms or travel. Most come in a variety of colors and designs to fit your dog’s personal style.
7. Switch up the diet. Sometimes your dog’s diet can contribute to their anxiety. Making a food switch can help alleviate their anxiety. Plus, there could be some great additional health benefits that come along with it.
8. CBD Oil for Dog Anxiety. Hemp and CBD oils are making a huge splash in the pet supplement world and for good reason. These oils are shown to dramatically improve the mood of pets and greatly reduce anxiety in dogs. The oils are non-toxic and all natural so you do not need to worry about overdosing on them. Plus, they contain no THC so your dog will not get ‘high’ from taking the oils. Not only do the reduce anxiety they are also rich in Omega fatty acids and help reduce inflammation.
Now that you have eight great options for reducing your dog’s anxiety it is time to take action! Try one or try them all. If your dog suffers from anxiety, it is the least you can do to help them out and relieve their stress.
I have personally tested many of these on Gustav and have found the best results with exercise prior to leaving the home as well as CBD oils. When we were training him as a puppy we would start with leaving the house just for 30 seconds or so at a time. As he got used to use leaving, we would extend the time by just a few minutes at a time. Eventually, we could leave for 6-8 hours at a time and he would be totally fine.
Consider taking the time to do these small training steps in addition to the suggestions above. Your dog sees you as the pack leader and wants to please you. Make it easy for them to understand what is going on and they will make your life easier by not destroying your home.