Nobody knows your dog like you do – which means that when your four-legged friend is exhibiting the signs of pet stress, you probably notice right away. Just like their human counterparts, dogs experience stress triggered by a wide range of factors. Anything from an unexpected visitor to a change in daily routines can act as a stressor for your dog, inducing canine anxiety symptoms.
For any pet owner, realizing that their beloved dog is feeling anxious can, in turn, be seriously stressful. But you and your furry family member don’t have to suffer from stress any longer! By learning more about what can cause pet stress and ways to help reduce it, you and your dog can both be feeling better in no time.
Signs of Pet Stress
One of the biggest sources of stress for dogs is when their human family members are away for an extended period of time. For some pets, a regular workday can feel like forever, while others find it very challenging when their owner is on vacation. But how can you tell when a dog is stressed?
If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms of dog stress before, during, or after spending time away from your pet, they are likely dealing with some unpleasant feelings of anxiety:
- Pacing or shaking
- Barking or whining
- Changes in their ears or eyes (such as widened eyes or ears pinned back)
- A change in body posture
- Increased shedding
- Refusing food
- Having “accidents” inside the house
10 Tips for Relieving Your Pet’s Stress
For most dog lovers, it’s fairly easy to see when stress is having an effect on their pets. The bigger – and more important – question is: how can I reduce my dog’s stress?
Here at Canine Country Club & Feline Inn, we’re no stranger to helping dogs (and other pets!) deal with stress effectively. So, to make it easier for you to support your dog, we’ve rounded up our top 10 tips for dealing with pet stress.
1. Daily exercise
Regular exercise is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce dog stress. Just like humans, dogs benefit greatly from staying active and burning off excess energy. Daily walks are a wonderful addition to your everyday routine for both you and your dog – don’t be surprised if you experience positive effects from the activity as well! Playing, swimming, and going to your local dog park are all excellent ways to keep your pet’s body moving and their stress low.
2. Positive mental stimulation
Exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body and is especially true when your dog is facing the challenges of pet anxiety. Many types of dog exercise engage their minds as well as their muscles, making it easy to check both goals off your list with something as simple as a walk around the block. For some pets, extra mental stimulation is needed to chip away at significant stress. Look for specialized toys that make your dog “work” for a reward, like treat puzzles and similar products.
3. Creating a “safe space”
When you’re feeling stressed out, the odds are that quiet, comfortable space in your home can help, right? Just like you, your pet needs a safe haven from the stressors of everyday life. Depending on your dog, that space could be anything from a comfortable crate to a familiar corner of the couch. The key to making the most of the space is to ensure that it’s a welcoming, comforting area that’s reserved specifically for your dog.
4. Comforting, familiar items
A security blanket or favorite toy can offer plenty of comfort for a stressed pet. If you’re planning to go on vacation and leave your dog at home, try to find an item that can help them feel more comfortable. It might be a towel or blanket that has your scent on it or a soft plush toy that they’ve had for a long time.
5. Music and other calming background noises
You probably know at least one dog owner that leaves the television on for their pet, and though it might sound unusual, it’s actually an excellent way to reduce canine anxiety. Calming, classical tunes can work wonders for many pets, while the gentle sounds of a TV on low volume can offer a comforting sense of companionship.
6. Keep yourself calm
Although it’s difficult to not get upset when you discover that your dog is stressed, try to stay calm and collected. Your pet can sense and absorb your stress, worsening their own symptoms. As challenging as it is to keep a cool head when you’re nervous about leaving your pet for any amount of time, knowing that it truly helps them can make it a little easier.
7. Quality time together
Extra love and snuggles before and after a stressful scenario can make a big difference in cutting down on pet stress. After all, your pet most likely considers you a comforting presence, so making sure to spend plenty of time together can be a safeguard against stress.
8. Practice, practice, practice
If a certain situation causes your dog to become stressed (such as having a visitor to the home or seeing you leave for work), you could try some “exposure therapy.” Introduce your dog to the trigger on a smaller scale, and continue working with them to become more familiar with the scenario until it becomes less scary.
9. Avoid sedatives if possible
There are so many products that promise to calm your pet, but it’s best to stay away from medications as much as you can. Long-term use of pet sedatives can cause health issues and dependence. There are some high-quality natural options to consider, though it’s ideal to find a solution that doesn’t come from a bottle if possible.
10. Consider doggy daycare and professional pet boarding
Being at home alone can be scary, especially for pets. But at an outstanding pet boarding facility and doggy daycare, they can enjoy positive play, interaction, and exercise in a safe space. Not only will your pet be supervised and less stressed while you’re away, but they’ll have fun as well!
A Place of Comfort for Your Pet
Oftentimes, to truly help a pet dealing with stress, a major change needs to be made. For many dogs and cats alike, that means finding an alternative to anxiety-inducing alone time.
Whether your pet is exhibiting the signs of stress after a few hours or a few days without you at home, Canine Country Club & Feline Inn can help. With a wide range of flexible options such as pet boarding and doggy daycare in Phoenix, our facility has been a welcoming place for both human and furry family members for years. Affordable, safe, and completely dedicated to our four-legged friends’ health and happiness, Canine Country Club & Feline Inn is proud to be one of the most trusted pet boarding facilities in the Valley.
For more information about how our services can reduce your pet’s stress, contact Canine Country Club & Feline Inn today.
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