How to Calm Dog Anxiety

During the winter months, when it’s always raining, my yellow Labrador has fairly constant anxiety. The sound of thunder breaking outside is enough to send him into a panic attack. His anxiety manifests as physical symptoms: shaking, crying, and hiding under the bed, the covers, etc.

Luckily, after years of having our dog, we’ve discovered a few ways to reduce his anxiety so that we can sleep soundly during a storm.

These tips can work in any event that your dog becomes anxious.

Physical Activity

If you can get your dog outside and run before the storm rolls in (or any other anxiety trigger), you’re likely to wear him out by the time the lightning strikes. A tired dog makes for a more relaxed dog, one who’s more apt to lay on the floor and withstand the noise instead of pacing the room. If you’re already stuck indoors, try walking through the house with him or gently throwing a toy. Eventually, he will get tired.

Establish a Norm

Giving your dog a regular routine is great, but if she tears up the blinds every time you go out for date night, you need to make some sort of change. Start leaving her alone for short periods during the day, or placing her in a specific area of the house where she is only allowed to be when you’re gone. That way you can ease her into a new procedure. Giving her a treat every time you leave may do the trick, or have a neighbor drop by mid-day to check on her.

Alternatives

Of course, anxiety medication is also an option for when your dog's anxiety becomes too much and his uncontrollable shaking or whimpering can’t be tamed. A veterinarian can prescribe these medications if necessary; don’t try any drugs out on your own. Holding your dog or getting him a cozy place to rest during these anxiety attacks is also a nice way to calm him down.

Photo: Pexels

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