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 stress.

Similar to humans, dogs can undergo stress for various reasons. For example, a dog may become anxious when separated from you, when lightening storms occur, around other people, or around other dogs. Dogs express their feelings of stress primarily by body language as well as vocally.

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. Some of these behaviors include:

  • whining, barking, panting
  • digging
  • pacing back and forth
  • freezing/getting stiff
  • a tucked tail/tucked ears
  • yawning, drooling, licking
  • shedding
  • hiding/running

Your dog’s behavior is your dog’s way of communicating to you. It’s important that you pay attention to what your dog is telling you. Look for any changes in your dog’s behavior like those listed above.

Also, pay attention to who and what is occurring at the time of your pup’s behavior. By identifying the who, what, where, and when, you can then consider ways to help eliminate or minimize those triggers to help your fur baby feel better.

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 situation.

For example, socialization is important for dogs. But not all dogs are comfortable with other dogs. If this applies to your pup you should remove him or her from the situation. Find a quiet place to help your pup calm down. Then talk to your vet or a pet trainer to find ways to help your dog feel conformable around other dogs.

Taking action to acknowledge your dog’s distress is the best to help calm your pup and show that you care.

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 other physical activity helps to produce beneficial endorphins that help combat stress.

Endorphins are brain neurotransmitters that help the mind feel good. 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 relaxation

Some pet parents have found that using CBD oil or CBD chews helps calm their pet’s anxious behavior and stress.

CBD is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the hemp plant and promotes a sense of calmness and relaxation. Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system.  The body’s endocannabinoid system is responsible for internal balance of both the mind and body. It regulates various functions within the body, including responses to stress.

While studies on the use of CBD specifically with dogs is scant, this has not stopped pet parents from using CBD to help comfort their pup’s stress 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, CBD may be an ideal solution. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a quality pet CBD product:

  • Don’t shop for pet CBD products on Amazon because there are none. Amazon doesn’t allow CBD to be sold on its shopping platform. The pet hemp oils and pet chews you see on amazon.com are made with hemp seeds or something else but not CBD.
  • Ensure the CBD product has 0.3% or less THC. A high amount of THC can be toxic to dogs so you want to make sure your pet CBD product has no more than 0.3% THC. If you prefer to avoid THC altogether, select a CBD isolate pet product.  A CBD isolate means the product contains only CBD and no THC.

→ Recommended: Types of CBD

  • Ensure you have access to the product’s lab report so you can verify the cannabinoid content, potency and that it has been tested for contaminants.  Credible brands will make their lab reports (called a Certificate of Analysis) accessible for viewing. Their products will have a QR code on the label that, when scanned, opens the lab report or a webpage that contains the lab report.

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only. 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 a veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical question or condition about your pet.

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