Around the fourth of July, many dogs become shaky, jittery shadows of their usual selves, spurred by the presence of loud, jarring fireworks. But for some dogs, the jitters are a year-round behavior as a result of their anxiety. They might also bark, bristle, growl, and hide around strangers or other dogs, preventing healthy socialization. But there are some proven ways you can help your poor pooch settle down.
1. Physical Contact
Dogs generally respond well to physical contact, especially when it’s from a person they love. When your dog first starts showing anxiety, try picking them up, cuddling them on the couch, or pet them slowly and gently. Alternatively, you can also try a massage — starting at the neck and working down their body in long strokes, soothing their tensed muscles. This can help change your dog’s physiological response to stress, which in turn can help change their mental state.
2. Hemp Oil
CBD, or cannabidiol, is found in cannabis and hemp. Anecdotal evidence suggests that hemp oil for dogs can benefit them as much as people — especially in terms of pain reduction, seizure control and, yes, anxiety mitigation. But be careful! Little formal research has been conducted on the appropriate dosage for dogs, so it’s best to check with a veterinarian and proceed cautiously.
Anxiety an excessive energy are often tied together in dogs. Taking your dog out for exercise can tire them out so they’re more relaxed when they return home. And like humans, dogs also receive a serotonin boost from exercise, so your dog will probably be happier, too, as a result. Exercise is also a great example of bonding time with your dog, which may help ease their separation anxiety.
4. Classical Music
Surprisingly, dogs benefit from classical music, just as humans do. Music therapy can be calming and relaxing for dogs, and may also help your dog manage any noise sensitivity they experience by blocking out car honking, howls, or even fireworks. So crank on the radio and tune in to some Woofgang Mozart or Andrea Poochelli — your dogs might just thank you.
These are four home techniques that can help you soothe your anxious dog. While no method will work perfectly for all dogs, with a little luck and a lot of patience, one of these just might. Help your dog put a paws on its anxiety with one of these tricks.