Dog Tips

How to Calm an Anxious Dog?

Just like us humans, dogs also face anxiety issues because of multiple reasons. As responsible and loving pet parents, we need to know how to identify if the dog is feeling anxious, how to calm him/her down, and how to prevent it from happening again. 

Want to learn how to calm an anxious dog? Let’s jump straight to the first question at hand, answered by Spot Pet Insurance.

Why do Dogs feel Anxious?

For a dog to feel anxious, the reason can be as simple as you coming home with a clean shave or as major as a traumatic abuse experience from the past. Some of the most common reasons are – 

  • Separation or being left alone for a long time

  • Crowds and loud noises 

  • Dietary changes

  • Change of environment like moving to a new house 

  • Strangers 

  • Past traumatic experiences

  • Introduction of a new pet at home

  • Underlying medical issues

  • Old-age

Cause of Anxiety

% of dogs

Other dogs and cats






Particular Surfaces


Changing environment


Loud noises




Source –

Which breeds are more prone to anxiety?

Some breeds are more prone to separation anxiety as compared to others because of their genetics. These include German & Australian Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Vizsla, Border Collie, Shorthair Pointer, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, King Charles Spaniel, Greyhounds, Havanese, and some toy breeds. 

Have Dogs Become More Anxious after COVID-19?

‘Certapet’ conducted a study in 2021 to find out the changing pet-parent relationships. It found out – 

  • 76% of the dogs face separation anxiety; up from 14% before Covid.

  • More than 50% of the respondents said that excessive barking and howling were the most common behaviors associated with dogs experiencing separation anxiety. 

  • 47% of Americans experience separation anxiety when away from their dogs for a long time. 

Now that we know that our changing lifestyles are affecting our four-legged babies, it is important to know how to identify and then cure anxiety and related problems for them.

Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs

The most common ones include – 

  • Aggressive behaviors like growling, snarling, biting, etc.

  • Urinating/defecating in the house

  • Drooling/panting

  • Excessive barking

  • Pacing / Restlessness

  • Repetitive / Compulsive behaviors like shadow chasing, tail chasing/whirling, chasing flying items only they can see, eating items other than food, etc.

While some of these can be a one-time occurrence, they can turn into recurring behaviors and hence result in a serious issue. 

How to Calm Dog Anxiety Naturally? 

While anxiety can be cured in dogs using prescribed medications, it is recommended that you try some natural remedies first. Most of the time they will work and comfort your dog. These include – 

  • Music – Music has been known to cure anxiety, depression, and many illnesses in humans as well as animals like dogs. Playing calm, soothing music or some white noise like the gentle hum of a fan or the consistent rumble of the ocean surf, can reduce stress and hence anxiety levels for your dog. It can help distract your dog from triggers that are making it bark. You can find multiple playlists online dedicated to this cause.

  • Grooming – Grooming doesn’t just clean your dog but acts as a way of bond between you and your dog. Moreover, brushing the coat releases endorphins in the dog’s body which can reduce stress and help the dog relax. View our pet grooming tips today.

  • Massage – There are natural pressure points in a dog’s body like the top of the head, feet, and ears. Massaging them can provide maximum stress relief to your dog. 

  • Play – Distracting your dog with some game or activity can help change the focus of your dog from the anxiety-causing trigger to you and the activity. This can be especially helpful during situations like fireworks or thunderstorms, or in crowded places. 

While these are some natural ways to reduce anxiety for your pet, you can even try giving supplements to your dog. Melatonin, L-tryptophan, CBD oil, and Rescue Remedy are popular supplements that can help calm your dog's nerves and reduce anxiety.

CBD Oil to Cure Anxiety in Dogs

CBD is an active ingredient in cannabis that is derived from the hemp plant. Not to worry here as it comes without the factor causing ‘high’. CBD oil for dogs has shown promising results in helping to reduce anxiety in dogs. It can help hugely during situations like thunderstorms, fireworks, grooming, vet visits, travel, and separation anxiety. It helps dogs relax, reduce restlessness, and improve their overall demeanor. 

It can be given directly in the mouth or added to food or a treat. However, it is very important to consult your vet before introducing the oil to your dog. It does have its potential side effects like dry mouth, lethargy, dizziness, increased tremors, itchiness, upset stomach, restlessness, slow heart rate, fast heart rate, and rapid breathing.

How to Prevent Anxiety in Dogs?

As they say, prevention is always better than cure. While you may not be able to completely prevent anxiety in your dog, you can reduce the occurrence and the impact of it. Some of the most effective ways include – 

  • Maintain a consistent schedule – Daily routines make dogs feel comfortable and secure. These canines thrive on habits and hence predictability. Staying consistent with feeding times, exercise times, playtimes, and sleep times will ensure a comfortable dog and hence low chances of stress and anxiety.

  • Work and play – Both exercise and play are important for your dog (even for you). Regular exercise releases endorphins, which reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. It also burns the excess energy in them. Walking, hiking, playing fetch, swimming, etc. are some activities that you can include in your daily schedule.

  • Mental engagement – Apart from physical engagement, it is also important to keep your dog mentally engaged. Introducing puzzle toys, training, playing with other pets, etc. can keep your dog’s mind active and reduce stress or cope with stress, if any, better.

  • Desensitization – It is another effective way by which you can reduce the frequency of anxiety and lower the impact of triggers. Slowly and gradually introduce your dog to environments and things that cause anxiety. For example, if your dog is afraid of loud noises, play some music on your phone and increase the volume gradually. Introduce your dog to a couple of strangers on a walk before taking it to a room full of it.   

My Dog is Increasingly Anxious Around Other Dogs. What Do I Do?

You need to identify the root cause in this case. It could be fear, frustration, or a past negative experience with other dogs. Once identified, 

  • You can use positive reinforcement techniques like offering a treat for good behavior in front of other dogs.

  • Avoid stressful situations like introducing your dog to a loud-barking or aggressive one.

  • Gradually introduce your dog to other dogs after checking with the owner for its friendliness.

  • If your dog's anxiety persists, consider seeking help from a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to diagnose any underlying issues and provide appropriate treatment.

How Do You Calm an Older Dog with Anxiety?

Wondering how to calm an anxious dog that is older? As dogs get older, they face a cognitive decline, which is a significant contributor to anxiety in them. They can experience cognitive dysfunction, which impacts their memory, awareness, learning capabilities, sight, smell, and hearing. Here are some ways you can use to cure anxiety for them – 

  • Stay Calm – Dogs, especially older ones, can sense your emotions and pick up on them. Staying calm at such times helps.

  • Maintain a routine – Older dogs can find it more difficult to adjust to changes. Regular wake times, walks, meals, playtimes, and bedtimes can help them feel comforted.

  • Comforting – Leaving the lights or music on at night to make them feel less alone can also help here.

How Can Pet Insurance help with Anxiety?

The consequences of prolonged anxiety in dogs are as follows –

  • Weakened immune system

  • Poor digestion

  • Diarrhea

  • Skin problems

  • Sleep issues

  • Depression

Spot accident and illness plans can be used with any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Whether you are home, or traveling to the U.S., veterinary services your pet receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of covered conditions can be eligible for reimbursement. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions including; broken bones, lacerations, aggression, kidney disease, diabetes, and more. With the addition of Wellness Riders for an extra cost, you can also receive reimbursements for wellness exams, certain vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more. Learn more about dog insurance or get a free quote. 


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