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7 Means of Dog Anxiety Treatment

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Scared or anxious dog getting a hug.

When your dog is scared or anxious, don’t fret. There are lots of means of dog anxiety treatment at your disposal. Just like with us, some trial and error may be needed to pick the one or combination that works best for your dog. Here is a rundown of some options to consider when it comes to dog anxiety treatment:

1. MASSAGE

Scared or anxious dog getting a massage.

Massage makes for a good dog anxiety treatment. Photography ©K_Thalhofer | Getty Images.

Ah, never underestimate the soothing and calming power of therapeutic touch. Some dogs calm down when you gently massage their ears and bodies. Or, you can turn to a professional. Yes, professional animal massage therapists do exist. So do animal reiki healers. Thoroughly check out the individual’s credentials in advance, and ask your veterinarian to make a recommendation.

2. CALMING HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS

The use of herbs and over-the-counter supplements for pets is on the rise. Popular herbs picked for dog anxiety treatment include chamomile, valerian and lemon balm. There are a lot of new natural calming treats and pills for dogs. Play it safe by consulting your veterinarian in advance before giving your dog herbs or supplements, especially if your dog is on a prescription. You don’t want to accidentally give your dog a toxic-level dose.

3. ESSENTIAL OILS

Many essential oils come in tinctures and are administered by a dropper. All essential oils are not the same and vary in efficacy by manufacturer, plus what you take for yourself may not be safe to give to your dog. If you wish to pursue this option, talk to your holistic veterinarian about the pros and cons of essential oil products you are considering.

4. PHEROMONE SPRAYS AND DIFFUSERS

Dogs definitely outdo us when it comes to the sense of smell. Many are led by their noses. Consider some commercial products available in sprays and plug-in diffusers that emit dog- appeasing pheromones that have helped some dogs calm down when facing stressful or scary situations. Again, check with your veterinarian about this option for your dog.

5. SOOTHING MUSIC

Don’t underestimate the power of music as a dog anxiety treatment, but be selective in the genre. Anxious, scared dogs fare best with classical music with soothing melodies far better than acid rock tunes. And, there are even some dog music CDs available that are backed by scientific research on their effectiveness to soothe agitated dogs.

6. TRAINING/BEHAVIOR MODIFICATIONS

Fortunately, there are organizations filled with positive reinforcement dog trainers who specialize in offering tips and techniques to deal with scared dogs. Check with your veterinarian or local animal shelter officials for recommendations on dog trainers in your area.

7. TOWEL WRAPPING OR ANTI-ANXIETY VESTS

Wrapping your dog in a thick bath towel or blanket, or fitting him in an anti-anxiety vest (like the Thundershirt) may help your dog feel less scared or anxious. For some dogs, these feel like safe and comforting hugs. Practice toweling your dog or try on an anti-anxiety vest when your dog is happy and calm. Heap on the treats and positive praise to help your dog associate these items with a safe and pleasant experience.

Thumbnail: Photography ©MonikaBatich | Getty Images.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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