How to Help Calm Your Dog in Stressful Situations

As a new or current dog parent, you might not recognize when your dog’s behavior is a signal of your dog experiencing stress. Similar to humans, dogs can undergo stress for numerous reasons. For example, you may notice that your dog gets anxious when separated from you, when lightening storms occur, around other people, around other dogs, or perhaps just all the time. Dogs express their feelings of stress primarily by body language and, for some, vocally.

Here’s a few simple tips on how to identify whether your pup is exhibiting stress indicators and how you can try to help calm your four-legged family member.

Pay Attention to Signs

Pay attention to your dog's behavior for indications of stress

dog owner looking into dog's eyesWhen stressed, dogs tend to perform repeated behaviors. For example, some indications of your dog feeling stress include whining, barking, digging, panting, pacing back and forth, freezing or getting stiff, a tucked tail, tucked ears, yawning, drooling, licking, shedding, hiding and escaping.

Your dog’s behavior is your dog’s way of communicating to you. So watch carefully and pay attention to what your dog is telling you. Look for any changes in your dog’s behavior like the indicators listed above. Also, pay attention to who is around (or not around), where you and your dog are, and what is generally occurring at the time of your dog’s anxious behavior.

When you pay attention to who, what, where, and when your dog expresses stress, you’ll be able to identify the triggers that cause your dog stress. Once you’ve identified what causes your pup stress, you’ll be able to assess ways to eliminate or minimize those triggers and how to help your dog better cope with stress.

Dogs communicate their wants and needs, their happiness and fear, and quite effectively their aggression. Their messages are conveyed primarily through body language.

AKC Owner’s Manual, Canine Body Language: Your Dog is Trying to Tell You Something

Altogether, paying attention to your dog’s body language is super important and a necessary step to help support your dog’s comfort, calmness and overall wellbeing.

Separate Your Dog

Remove your dog from the situation triggering the stress

woman holding small size white dog Certain circumstances may trigger stress for your dog that may require you to separate your dog from the stressor.

For example, socialization is important for dogs, but, at times, introducing your dog to a new environment, other dogs, or new people may be stressful for your pup. If your dog’s body language or verbal expressions (such as whining, barking, growling) suggest your dog is stressed, remove your dog from that situation. Find a quiet place for your dog to unwind. If you notice that your dog’s stress subsides, assess the situation of the stressor and work on ways to avoid that stressor from reoccurring or having a less impact on your dog’s feelings.

Acknowledging your dog’s distress and removing your dog from unfamiliar or uncomfortable environments is certainly an ideal way to help lower or alleviate your dog’s stress.

Exercise Your Dog

Ensuring your dog gets sufficient exercise can help reduce your dog's stress

Like humans, exercise may help reduce your dog’s stress. woman and dog jogging

Experts say that playing ball, going for a long walk, jogging, running, swimming and any other physical activity helps to produce beneficial endorphins that help combat stress.

Endorphins are brain neurotransmitters that, for all intents and purposes, make the mind feel good. So, when your dog is exercising, the physical activity helps to boost your dog’s endorphins and help your dog feel good.

Try a Natural Hemp Plant-Based CBD Pet Product

Hemp extract CBD promotes calmness and may help your dog's stress

A hemp extract CBD oil or CBD chews may help calm your dog when stressed. Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system.  The body’s endocannabinoid system is responsible for internal balance of both the mind and body, and regulates various functions within the body including responses to stress.

Studies, mostly human, have shown that CBD can influence the body’s endocannabinoid system to promote calmness and relaxation. While clinical studies on the use of CBD for dogs is lacking, many pet parents have turned to hemp extract CBD to comfort their pup’s stress, separation anxiety and anxious behavior.

In one survey of pet owners, over 53% reported that their pets felt less anxious after being administered CBD oil. In this same survey, 41% reported that CBD relieved their pet’s stress.

If you’re looking for a natural aid to help calm your dog’s stress or anxious behavior, a hemp-derived CBD oil based pet product may be an ideal solution.

When shopping for a CBD product for your dog, look for quality over price, and ensure the CBD product has a QR code displayed on it’s label.

In Florida, and some other states, brands are legally required to place a QR code on their product labels that directs the consumer to the CBD product’s lab report. Part of the reason for this legal requirement arises from fake and unsafe CBD products existing in the market. As such, the CBD product’s lab report provides transparency on the potency (amount) of CBD in the product, what other cannabinoids, if any, exist in the product (and, if so, how much), and whether the CBD product passed safety testing for harmful pesticides, solvents and heavy metals, among some others.

The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment, and may not and should not be used for such purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your pet’s veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical question or condition about your pup.

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