How to Help Your Dog Relax: 8 Calming Tips for Canines

Did you know August 15th is National Relaxation Day? If your dog is anxious, stressed, or just plain hyperactive, it can be tough to get them to relax. Changes in routine, new environments, and exposure to loud noises are just a few common stressors that can affect your dog. As their guardians, it's our job to help our furry friends find calm, so we're giving you 8 tips to help your dog relax.

1. Start by creating a calm environment with minimal distractions. Creating a calm environment is a good place to start. This means minimizing distractions and ensuring that your dog has a safe space like a bed or crate to retreat to if they need some time alone.

2. Try staying calm yourself. Dogs pick up on our emotions and if you're feeling stressed, they will too. Take deep breaths and ensure that you’re speaking in a calm voice.

3. Give your dog some calming supplements. Catnip and Valerian Root are two natural herbs with mild sedative qualities that many integrative vets recommend giving dogs for anxiety and improving nighttime sleep. Dogs have catnip receptors in their stomachs. When they eat it, the essential oil in catnip, Nepetalactone, binds to the receptors and sends a message to the brain to relax. Try sprinkling some Juananip on your dogs food and letting them eat it. It usually takes about 30 minutes to calm your dog. You can also try giving your dog some Juananip treats, which are made with catnip and valerian root.

4. Pet your dog. There is nothing more calming to an anxious dog than the loving touch of its owner. If you notice your dog displaying signs of anxiety, try picking them up, cuddling on the couch, or giving them a good long petting session. Spending some quality time with your furry friend can be helpful in reducing their stress levels.

5. Give them something to stimulate their mind. You can try training exercises such as obedience commands or puzzle toys as these can be calming for dogs while also providing mental stimulation. Interactive toys like treat dispensers or bones can help occupy their minds and take the focus off of whatever is making them anxious.

6. Give your dog a massage. Humans are not the only ones who benefit from massage therapy - dogs can too! A massage can help to relax and calm even the most anxious dog by alleviating tension in the muscles. Try starting at the neck and working downward with long strokes, keeping one hand on the dog while you massage.

7. Play some soothing music. Did you know playing music can help calm dogs with stress and anxiety? Studies have shown that playing music—specifically soft rock and reggae—can reduce dogs’ heart rates, cortisol levels, and other symptoms of stress. There is even special calming music meant for dogs! It can help ease separation anxiety when you’re away from home and alleviate noise sensitivity by blocking the street or scary noises that bother some dogs and create anxiety.

8. Exercise! One way to help your furry friend chill out is by giving them some exercise. Exercise can help relieve stress by producing beneficial endorphins. Going for a run or playing with a Doggijuana toy are great ways to get your dog moving and burn off excess energy. A long walk or run is ideal, but even playing fetch in the backyard can be helpful. Not only is exercise a great way to get rid of pent up energy, but it's also a great way to bond with your pet!

      If you find that your dog is still anxious after trying all of the ideas above, it may be worth a visit to the vet to explore prescription medication options.

      Have you tried other relaxation methods that have worked to calm your dog? Let us know in the comments!

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