How To Conquer Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety, Sound Anxiety or Travel Anxiety
If your dog is experiencing anxiety, life can be miserable both for you and your pup. I myself spent 2 years battling extreme separation anxiety with my dog, and we successfully came out on the other side. In this article I’ll share some of the resources and strategies that worked for us.
There are many forms of anxiety that your dog may be suffering from. Typical causes of anxiety in dogs might be:
- Separation anxiety – Fear of being separated from their owner. This often manifests itself by your dog pacing, drooling, biting, or being destructive while you’re away.
- Sound anxiety – Fear of loud noises like thunder, fireworks, or a vacuum cleaner
- Travel anxiety – Fear of traveling in a moving vehicle, or fear of intimidating places like your vet’s office or a boarding kennel
1. Experiment with CBD Oil for Your Dog’s Anxiety
One of the tools I successfully used in treating my dog’s anxiety was CBD. While your results may vary, approximately 67% of the dog owners polled here claimed that CBD was ‘extremely effective’ or ‘somewhat effective’ in helping their dog’s anxiety.
In my experience, CBD helped my dog calm down enough to respond positively to the other training methods I was using to treat her anxiety. When choosing a CBD oil, always look for a certificate of analysis showing a pure and safe product. I’d also recommend a product with 0% THC.
If you’d rather not give an oil tincture to your dog, there are also great CBD treat options available for dogs.
2. Desensitize Your Dog to The Cause of Their Anxiety
A key strategy for treating your dog’s anxiety is desensitizing them to the trigger of their fear. For example, my dog’s anxiety was triggered anytime I walked out the door to leave the house. For other dogs, the trigger might be you grabbing your keys or putting on your coat.
Begin by doing the trigger activity, but then immediately reversing it. For example, I would grab my keys and walk out the door. Then I’d come back 5 seconds later. I did this literally hundreds of times over a period of a week. Eventually, my dog was desensitized and bored by the behavior.
3. For Sound Anxiety, Trying Isolating Your Dog and Playing Loud Music
Many dogs that suffer from thunderstorm or fireworks anxiety experience relief in a smaller, more isolated room of the house where music can be played at a loud volume.
A word of caution though, if your dog is also experiences separation anxiety leaving them alone in a room during may be counterproductive.
4. Try Using a Compression Wrap (Available in Many Sizes and Will Fit Your Dog)
Many dogs are comforted by the feeling of compression across their body. One popular product many have found success with is the Thundershirt (available on Amazon). The product applies gentle, calming pressure that is very reassuring to many pups. The company claims the product to be helpful for about 80% of the dogs who tried it. It can be used to help calm your dog during fireworks, thunder, separation, travel, or vet visits, with no training and no medication required.
4. Try an Herbal Supplement for Your Dog with Calming Herbs Like Chamomile, Passion Flower, Ginger Root or Valerian Root
Many calming supplements exist for dogs that are palatable for dogs, easy-to-feed, and can help quickly relieve your dog’s stress and give a sense of safety and calm. Some supplements contain calming herbs like chamomile, passion flower, ginger root, and valerian root are a great option. Some products, such as this bacon flavored soft chew for dogs, contain all of the calming herbs in one.
5. Experiment with a Pheromone Diffuser for Your Dog
Canine pheromone diffusers mimic the calming pheromone that a mother dog emits while nursing her puppies. The diffuser can help many dogs feel calmer and more comfortable in stressful situations.
The same company that makes the Thundershirt above also makes a product called ThunderEase diffuser, which is also available on Amazon.
6. Try an Anti-Anxiety Supplement Containing L-Tryptophan, L-Theanine or Melatonin
Other popular ingredients in anti-anxiety supplements include the amino acids L-Tryptophan and L-Theanine, both of which offer calming properties and increase the release of “feel good” serotonin in your dog’s body. In addition, some calming products for dogs contain a small amount of melatonin, which can help regulate and improve their sleep. All these of these ingredients are available in some chews such as this.
7. Experiment with Using Your Own Scent & Sound to Calm Your Dog
In my experience, using your own scent and sound to help calm your dog is a powerful strategy in beating anxiety. I stumbled upon this one day with my own dog by accident.
Typically, if I left the home my dog would instantly enter a panic. But one day I needed to take a long phone call, and left my dog outside my bedroom door where I took the call. During the call, she calmly lied next to the door, where she could obviously smell and hear me. It occurred to me that I could possibly mimic this tactic while I wasn’t at home.
I recorded my voice on a CD player and then put it on loop. Then I placed a used t-shirt on the inside of the door where she could easily smell it underneath. To my surprise, I was able to leave the house for a short time. (I monitored her on a video camera). I slowly increased the length of time I left, and always found her calm and sincerely believing that I was just behind the door!
If you’d like to read the full story of how I cured my dog’s extreme separation anxiety, go here.
Defeating your dog’s anxiety is possible, but every dog’s journey will look different. I hope the tools and strategies above will be helpful to your journey.
For best results, you can pair the above CBD oil with the calming chews below. Between the 2 supplements, they offer 10 active and natural ingredients to help calm your dog without the use of medication.