Many different things or activities can trigger anxiousness in your furry best friend, ranging from the much-dreaded vacuum cleaner to those horrible-sounding thunderstorms. Despite of what the source of anxiety is for your dog, it’s important to take his feelings into consideration and try to minimize them as they can be harmful to your dog’s health. In fact, when dogs panic, “every single muscle in their body contracts simultaneously, like they’re having a seizure while standing up,” veterinarian Marty Becker told Fox News.
Not only can they be harmful, but anxiety induced by noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, can escalate to the extent that even loud bangs on the TV or honks from nearby cars can begin to seem distressing to your dog. For all these reasons, in addition to simply being a good owner and trying to make your dog feel calm and better, you should attempt certain strategies to reduce their distress. Check out and attempt some of the strategies below and see what works best for your particular four-legged best friend:
This complicated-sounding strategy lives up to its’ expectation – in fact, some people think you should hire a specialized trainer in this particular technique due to its’ difficulty to achieve. You could, however, and probably even should attempt to do it by yourself first to see if it works. Desensitization consists of showing your dog these nerve-wrecking objects or sounds and then rewarding them. The idea behind this technique is to make your dog feel that it’s a normal thing, and something they shouldn’t be scared of as they get praised right after.
Try a Thundershirt
A company is now making thunder shirts – garments for dogs and cats alike that compress in their bodies, imitating the feeling of an embrace or a hug. Thundershirts come in different colors and the company claims to have an 80% success rate amongst pets, so it seems like a good idea to try and see if it works for yours.
There are now specific calming music designed for reducing dogs in distress. There is one album, for instance, called Through A Dog’s Ear, which is a bio-acoustic type of musical notes that are proven to calm your dog down. For even better results, try placing your dog in a dark, calming room with the music before any agitating activity (thunderstorms, a party at your house, or maybe even a long road trip).
Consult With Your Veterinarian For Medication
In extreme cases, you could always go to your veterinarian and explore the option of medicating your dog whenever you know they will be under too much stress – such as the Fourth of July fireworks or a significant approaching thunderstorm. There are some dog-focused sedatives on the market that can aid to significantly reduce your dog’s anxiety and numb him out for a few hours. Before attempting to take such a drastic method, always consult with your veterinarian and check your dog’s health beforehand.