Ah, summertime. The season of thunderstorms and fireworks … in other words, the season of nightmares for my dog! In the last couple years, Finley has developed a high-level of anxiety during these stressful situations. He’s always been sensitive to sound, but now a small raindrop or stray firework will send him into a tizzy. It’s equal parts heartbreaking and frustrating – we want to do everything in our power to make him feel safe, but he can’t talk to tell us what he needs! I’ve turned to social media on several occasions for help on this topic, and it turns out this is a far more common issue than I once thought. If you and your pet are in the same boat, then these 5 tips to help manage your dog’s anxiety might be the place to start. We practice all these steps with Finn and have seen positive results!
+ Have a neutral attitude. How we react to stressful situations is probably the most important way to help manage your dog’s anxiety! If they pick up on our nervousness, that usually affects them whichever way, too. Keep a neutral, nonchalant attitude (aka keep calm). I try to accomplish a mundane task, such as folding laundry, so Finn can sense that nothing is happening to change our routine. If you can get your dog to play with you, even better! A positive distraction is key.
+ CBD oil. This has made THE biggest difference in Finn’s behavior and demeanor during stressful situations. It’s not a cure all, so Finn still shakes and pants some, but overall he’s much calmer. We’re even able to get him to lay down now, whereas before he would pace/climb/be all over the place. Just make sure to get CBD oil that’s formulated specifically for animals – we order from here.
+ Calming treats. A cheaper and easier-to-get alternative to the above. We’ve used these the longest, and while not as strong as the CBD oil they definitely still work. Great for car rides, the vet, etc. Also heard great things about these gel packets.
+ Play music and/or some sort of white noise. Simply do a search on YouTube for dog anxiety music, and you’ll come up with plenty of results! Classical music also typically does the trick – I think it’s channel 76 on XM radio that has been heaven-sent during car rides. Other suggestions are turning on the T.V. (Finn loves to watch sports!) and turning on fans or a sound machine.
+ Give your dog a safe, cozy place to go. Dogs have a natural “den” instinct, so dark, enclosed spaces are a comfort to them. A covered crate (with the door open) or a closet are two examples where your dog might feel safe. For Finn, he usually likes to be plastered against me or standing on my legs so we’re working with him to recognize the crate as his little retreat.
Other suggestions that I’ve received are a Thunder Jacket, essential oils, and worst-case scenario a prescription medication from your vet.
Does your dog suffer from anxiety? Any other tips to add?