It’s that time of year again. While many people look forward to all the holiday food, festivities, fun, and friends & family… our dogs don’t always feel the same.
The loud noises, jarring movements, and strange faces can make the holidays a stressful time.
All the unfamiliar noises and people around… reaching out to pet, rub, and stick their hands in their faces. You’d be stressed too!
Fortunately, there’s some simple, effective ways we can make the holidays more enjoyable for our furry friends. Simply by helping calm nerves, feel safe, and enjoy good company–without the feeling of anxiety, overwhelm, or worry.
In this article you’ll find 5 ways to help your dog stay calm during the holidays.
Before we get into the specific tips, it’s important to know if this is something that would benefit you and your dog.
Because the truth is, the signs of social anxiety show up differently for every dog. And some dogs are great at hiding it from their owners. Here are a few of the most common ways stress and anxiety manifests:
It’s important to keep in mind that these all show up differently in dogs–even dogs of the same breed, age, and upbringing. Just like two humans can have totally different reactions to the same situation, the same happens with our dogs.
One of the easiest things we can do to make our dogs feel safe is to remove stress triggers.
Stress triggers are environmental situations and cues that flip the switch and put our dog into fight or flight mode.
There are countless things that can trigger our dogs (since they’re all different). But common triggers include particular noises, fast-jarring movements that make them feel vulnerable, and certain smells.
Knowing what stress-triggers affect your dog allows you to take simple steps to minimize their exposure to anything that can “set them off”–helping manage their state and emotions way better.
Calming sounds are a unique, natural, and proven approach to help relieve anxiety in your dog. And they’re a great trick to have up your sleeve.
My favorite part about using calming sounds for dogs is, it makes achieving a “zen-like state” safe and simple.
All you have to do is pop the CD in, or turn on the soundtrack on your phone and watch your dog calm within minutes.
Use it at home, on the road, or when your dog is in a new environment. These calming sounds can be a total game changer.
Movement, exercise, and play is one of my favorite ways to help dogs stay stress-free. It’s safe, easy, free, and works extremely well. Plus, both the dog and human get great health benefits from it.
The health benefits of play and exercise are so well documented, it doesn’t make much sense to go into them here. However, something that’s important to point out is… Movement, exercise, and play all release certain feel-good hormones in the body–for humans and our pets.
Not only do we get amazing health benefits from daily activity–even if it’s not hard, intense activity… Our body also releases hormones that increase our mood, happiness, and decrease stress.
Keep your dog busy and help them take their mind off things with movement and exercise. It’s a win-win.
Dogs sense how we feel even if we try and hide it. That’s why it’s important to do your best to create a safe place for them. Almost instantly, you can see their demeanor change.
If your dog is easily wound up or on high-alert around new company–keep them grounded as best as you can. Support, safety, and comfort is crucial. Especially if we want them to feel safe and relieve that sense of anxiety.
Sometimes an owner’s touch is all they need to know they’re safe and they can turn off the “alarm.” Hugs, pets, cuddles, or their favorite toy, bed, blanket can go a long way.
We’re big fans of safe, natural, and effective supplementation to improve our dog’s health and quality of life.
There’s a variety of natural herbs that can work wonders for helping relieve social anxiety and provide numerous health benefits.
When considering a natural calming supplement, look for ingredients like Chamomile Flower, Passion Flower, Ginger Root, and L-Tryptophan. Not only do they help cope with environmentally stressful situations… but they can also treat motion sickness and anxiety that comes with travel too.
Our favorite is Vet Naturals Hemp & Hips Senior Large Breed… an advanced natural formula for anxiety and stress as well as joint flexibility. It’s safe for your dog with no side effects like dangerous anxiety medications.
Hemp and Hips Senior Large Breed
As you can see, with a little extra effort and attention, you can make this holiday season a much more enjoyable one for your dog.
Keep an open mind, do your own homework, and try new things to see what works best for YOU.
Over time you’ll find a unique combination of these tips that work best for you and your dog.
Help them find a calm sense of peace and happiness even in new environments that would have scared them in the past. They’ll thank you over and over for it.