From fireworks to thunderstorms, dogs can get stressed and anxious over a number of things pretty easily. At times, pinpointing the exact culprit(s) behind your dog’s distress can be quite difficult. But many times, it’s obvious; a journey to the vet, traveling with your pet, a visit to the groomer or the kennel, to name a few.
But now most people are at home with their dogs, so all is good - right? Well, not so fast.
Now that so many people are home with their pets, you may think that your dog shouldn't be stressed - after all you are there now; but any disruption to the usual routine, even if it seems like it would be a positive one, could cause your pet stress. Their routine is interrupted and they just don't know what to expect anymore. In addition, dogs are very intuitive and often pick up on the worry and stress that their humans are feeling.
And, just like for humans, prolonged stress can be really harmful for a dog's health; therefore it is important for the owner to identify the cause of stress and do whatever they can to isolate their furry friends from it.
While every dog reacts to stress in different ways, the most common symptoms to look out for include:
If your dog shows one or more of these symptoms when they are going through a new experience it is okay, but if the behavior lasts for some time or repeats frequently when a certain situation occurs, it’s best that you don’t take it lightly. Thankfully, there are many ways to calm your stressed out buddy, the most useful of which are discussed below:
Obviously, this wouldn’t work if your dog is stressed out because of fireworks or a thunderstorm (in which case, staying indoors would be the best idea.) However, if the cause is something else, going for a walk can work like magic and lighten up your dog’s mood. Especially now when they may have more people around in "their space" at home, getting out for a walk and some fresh air can work wonders.
There’s nothing a little massage can’t fix! Dogs, especially ones that get easily stressed out, love being massaged. You don't need much, and can even do it yourself in the comfort of your home. Just use slow and long strokes to gently rub all over their body from neck to hind quarters to soothe their nerves.
Humans know that music can soothe and comfort, but did you know that dogs love music, too. Play some soothing music in the house, or put headphones over your dog’s ears if they are stressed because of loud noises outside, 4th of July fireworks or even a summer thunderstorm. Play some soothing music (or anything which your dog enjoys) and watch the magic happen. Leaving the music or the TV on when you go for to work or out for groceries can also help with separation anxiety.
Keep in mind that just as pets are adjusting to having their owners home with them right now, anticipate that they will also have a hard time adjusting once things go back to normal and everyone returns back to work outside the home. Expect your dog to have some separation anxiety once they are left home alone again. The above techniques can also work to help calm your pet when you are gone, just as they will help de-stress them during this current unusual situation.