If your dog often panics or starts barking, you can use a few natural means to calm dogs. These natural means will not harm your dog and are more likely to train your dog in the long run to respond to certain stimuli that may make him anxious. Medication treatment is also available, but the drugs will change the dog’s personality and dull his senses.
1. Detect the Triggers
Dogs may get anxious due to many obvious factors such as excessive noise, thunders, fire alarms, but there are also other triggers that can make the dog anxious such as visitors, a new family member.
It is important to identify the trigger, so that you know how to calm your dog.
Firstly, you will have to take your pet away from the triggering factor.
Aromatherapy can reduce stress and your dog may be more relaxed and less likely to develop panic attacks.
The aromatherapy can be performed at home, using essential oils that will soothe the dog:
- Palm tree oil
- St. John's Wort
Add 2 to 5 essential oil drops to 1 gallon of water and warm up the water, allowing the dog to inhale. Alternatively, you can use a vaporizer, making sure that the dog is exposed to the aroma dissipated by the vaporizer.
Massage can also work when your dog is stressed. Use gentle, circular moves and try to cover the dog’s entire body, starting with the head and finishing with the feet.
Use calm, reassuring words and dim the lights, as the dog may feel more at ease.
Make sure to use some massage oils, as otherwise, the dog’s skin can get irritated.
4. Valerian Root Supplements
The valerian root is a natural sedative and calming plant and may be used if your dog is suffering from anxiety. The supplements come in the form of tablets, which can be added to the dog’s food.
However, you may also purchase valerian root essential oil and apply a few drops on the dog’s neck, so that he can sense the scent that is very likely to calm him.
While some specialists claim it’s best to keep the dog away from the triggers causing panic and anxiety attacks, others are adepts of the desensitization method. The dog can be exposed to the factors causing the anxiety or stress and in time, he will no longer be affected by these.
The key to the desensitization cure is to expose the dog to the triggering factors gradually. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, expose him to loud noises for 2 minutes at a time and try to keep him calm during this period, rewarding him if he behaves as you want him to. Increase the time your dog is exposed to the noise to 10 or 15 minutes; continue the desensitization cure until your dog is comfortable with the noises.