Stressed-out dog? Here's how you can helpLucy Connor 25 March 2019
3 signs of a stressed dog and how to help
Being over-excited, acting nervous and separation anxiety in dogs is not uncommon. We know that every dog is different, so will react to situations in different ways. For example; there are some dogs that can be left alone and others that would find the experience stressful. We’ve outlined below ways your dog may show stress and how to help.
- Separation anxiety in dogs
As with any kind of training, dogs’ brains work by association. Separation anxiety in dogs is very common but helping your dog get used to the situation can help them cope better. Remember, a sleepy pooch is a stress-free pooch: ensuring your dog is well exercised is always important, but it’s especially helpful when prepping for stressful or exciting times. If your dog is trained to bring the ball back, playing fetch is a fun way to get rid of excess energy! When your dog is tired out and ready for a nap, they’re less likely to show signs of separation anxiety. You’ll usually find dogs that can be left alone are content because they are well exercised, so feel more relaxed. Practice makes perfect! Invest some time to get your dog used to being left alone by instigating a positive routine when you’re leaving:
- Try and make time to take your dog for a short walk before you leave, even if you won’t be gone for long.
- When you get home have a place that you can settle them in, where they feel safe. Maybe on their bed, or in their crate.
- Spend a few minutes giving them a bit of a fuss before you leave (and maybe a treat!). A few of our Calming Crunchies make for a great farewell snack to get them relaxed and happy.
Have other family members who are usually in your home encourage the routine as well, so your dog becomes comfortable with the experience no matter who is settling them in and leaving. Practising this routine every time your dog will be left alone will help creative a positive association with the experience!
- Dog barking
Dog barking is a natural behaviour and it can be a sign of stress. While dog barking shouldn’t be rewarded, it’s important your dog understands when it’s ok to bark. Dog barking is common when there’s a knock at the door; your dog does this to alert and protect you! If this is a common occurrence, it might drive you barking mad…
- Try popping the radio or television on to help mask the noise of the knocking, the distraction may help them feel more at ease.
- Encourage your dog to settle down and stop barking before you answer the door, telling them firmly to ‘sit’ should help.
- Once they have settled for a few seconds without barking, reward them with praise or a treat, to positively reinforce their good behaviour.
- Restless Dog
Your dog may be restless due to excitement, nervousness, or stress. Natural remedies are a great way to help keep your dog happy and relaxed; herbs such as chamomile and lavender are naturally calming:
- Choose grain-free food/treats with added natural calming ingredients
- Try using a calming spritz to help your dog relax. To make your own: Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with water in a small spray bottle. This is great for spraying around their bed, or the seats of your car if your dog gets stressed during travel.
We get lots of positive feedback from our customers for our calming products. Calming Crunchies, which contain stress-busting chamomile, make the perfect bedtime treat. If your pooch is generally anxious or excitable, take a look at Pooch & Mutt Calm & Relaxed grain-free food. Rich in serotonin boosting L-Tryptophan, the dry food contains natural ingredients to help keep your dog relaxed and happy. We recommend using the food as your dog’s main meal source for up to 6 weeks to see full benefits.