Proven Ways To Alleviate Your Dog’s Stress Symptoms

Even though dogs can give off the impression that they live the good life, they can get overstimulated and stressed just like humans.

Common reasons for stress include the dog not getting its needs met and is then under-stimulated. It may also suffer from an illness, or it can be too energized which can lead to stress in the long run.

Unfortunately, environmental stress and anxiety are common in many dogs and occur in both young and old pooches.

The difficulty for vulnerable and stressed dogs lies in the fact that they, unlike us, cannot solve the problems on their own.

Your dog cannot turn off loud noises or do some yoga to relax its mind and body. The dog depends on you as its owner to monitor its behavior and make sure that it is not exposed to any stress.

In the article below, we’ll explain some ways that can help you control and alleviate your dog’s stress symptoms.

Make Sure Your Dog is Covered

Before we dive into the ways you can help your dog relieve its stress, we must emphasize that as a dog owner, you must always think ahead and make sure that your dog’s condition is not caused by an underlying issue. If not addressed in due time, it can develop into chronic stress and a more severe illness.

Dogs that are exposed to stress for a long time can develop problematic behaviors. Not only does it cause mental strain, but they can also get elevated cortisol levels over time and eventually a weakened immune system.

As a result, the visits to the veterinarian might become more frequent, and the costs for these check-ups might become overwhelming. When owning a pet, the smart thing to do is to cover your furry friend with the right insurance plan. If confused and don’t understand which plan would work for you, there are highly credible pet insurance marketplaces such as Pawlicy Advisor, that work as a comparison tool for different types of insurance plans. They will assist you in recognizing your needs and help you make the right decision for you and your pet.

Less intense play activities

Throwing sticks or kicking a ball with the dog are activities that most dogs enjoy doing. It is important to know that these trigger the dog’s hunting instinct and cause the dog to increase its stress levels, and it can be difficult for the dog to unwind afterward. Often the owner intends to get the dog to run as much as possible, but for a dog that gets easily stressed, it is an activity that should be reduced or avoided completely.

If you want to activate your dog before it is left alone for a while, it is better to choose an exercise that does not pull the dog into severe stress, for example, go for a long leisurely walk or play fetch together.

Go for Walks

Calm physical activity has a good effect on stress, and long walks can be very good for lowering the dog’s stress levels.

However, long walks are far from suitable for all dogs. If the walk is full of things that trigger stress, it can do more harm than good.  In that case, it is better not to go.

If you have the opportunity, feel free to go out to an empty dog park, or somewhere else where it is calm with not so many people and dogs around to stress out your dog. You can also take the walks at times when it is quiet, generally early in the morning and late in the evening, or when it is pouring rain and no one else wants to be outside.

If it is difficult to get stress-free walks, there are many ways to exercise the dog at home as an alternative.

Massage the Stress Away

One of the favorite ways when it comes to reducing stress and helping a nervous dog relax is massage. Massage works wonders for reducing stress in several different ways, both instantly and for a longer period. The hormone oxytocin is released, which both gives a relaxed, pleasant feeling and at the same time counteracts the unpleasant stress hormones.

As you have probably experienced yourself, stress tends to lead to muscle tension. And tense muscles lead to discomfort and pain, which in turn leads to more stress, which leads to more muscle tension, which leads to more stress… A vicious circle, to put it mildly.

A massage helps the dog relax, increases the release of oxytocin, reduces the number of stress hormones, and alleviates muscle tension. Remember that the massage should not be uncomfortable. Massage in a way your dog feels is nice. Long strokes with the whole hand and small, light circular movements with the fingertips are usually appreciated. Never force the dog to get massaged. If your dog has an injury or seems sore somewhere – contact a veterinarian or a physiotherapist for advice.

Let It Sniff for Food

Another way to help the dog reduce the stress is to let it sniff for food. The dog gets something to concentrate on in a calm manner. Sniffing out food is a very natural behavior for dogs, that’s what they are made to do.

In addition to being a calming activity, it is also a very good way to give the dog mental stimulation, something that is important for them to feel good and keep their minds fit. 

The Chew and Lick Tactic

Giving the dog some good bone to chew on, or something to lick is often very soothing and calming, and it is a great way to help the dog unwind.

Chewing is also a good way to release tension in the jaw muscles, where stressed dogs, just like stressed people, often build up tension.

Final Thoughts

Counteracting and reducing stress in dogs can be divided into two parts. One part is to avoid or reduce things that add to the stress, the other is to add or increase things that help reduce stress.

The main advice for a pet owner is to know your dog and create a balance of the things we mentioned in the article above. Most dogs would surely benefit from these tips, even those that do not seem stressed. In the end, the most important thing is to create routine and security as well as build up a language and communication with your dog that will allow the both of you to live a long, healthy, and stress-free life.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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