Just like their humans, dogs sometimes get stressed, particularly in their golden years. Numerous factors can unnerve your normally contented canine. Here are some effective natural remedies for dogs with anxiety. But first, how do you know if you should be concerned about your dog’s stress level? Here are some common signs of anxiety:
- Barking, whining, or crying
- Constant Pacing
- Tucked tail
- Digestive upset/lack of bladder control
- Reduced activity
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive licking or chewing
Playing music for your dog is one of the simplest solutions to calm your dog. But not just any music. Scientists have proven that the most calming genres of music for dogs are soft rock, and reggae, followed by light classical. It’s best to mix up the genres, though, as studies have shown that after hearing a certain type of music for seven days in a row, dogs get used to it, hear it as background noise, and begin showing signs of stress once more.
We came across this sweet video of a musician who composed a song specifically to calm down his dog, Daisy. Turns out it calms down shelter dogs, too.
Dogs need some form of exercise, even your senior dog. The types of exercise will vary, based on the health issues your dog may be experiencing. Can she handle a short walk? A game of fetch? If not, swimming may be a good low-impact alternative. Whole Dog Journal provides a helpful list of Do’s and Don’ts for exercising your older dog. Some things you should do include taking your best friend to the vet for an in-depth wellness examination, keep your dog at a healthy weight, and start her exercise little by little. Do NOT strain your dog, be rough with your dog, or exercise her without a warm-up.
According to The Natural Pet Doctor, these are among the top foods for reducing your dog’s anxiety. You can add them into your dog’s diet if they are on a kibble diet, or add in if she is on a home-cooked or raw diet. Include any of these foods three times a week:
1. Raw goat’s milk – Many dogs that experience anxiety suffer from leaky gut. Raw goat’s milk can help heal the digestive lining while helping your dog to more easily break down her food.
2. Turkey – A great source of L-tryptophan amino acid, it has a relaxing and calming effect.
3. Organic, grass-fed beef liver – High in levels of vitamin A, but not advised for dogs on a low phosphorous diet.
4. Organic spinach – It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, and balances neurotransmitters that help reduce anxiety.
5. Blueberries – Bursting with antioxidants and vitamin C, blueberries can help anxiety which is thought to be related to a lower antioxidant state.
6. Salmon – Chock full of essential fatty acids, salmon keeps the stress hormone from spiking. It also contains the calming L-tryptophan amino acid.
7. Asparagus – Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, folate, and fiber, and as such, is an excellent food source for healthy bacteria that coat the digestive tract.
8. Avocado – A small amount of this nutritious fruit a few times a week can help your dog with her coat, GI tract, and to calm down anxiety.
9. Eggs – Eggs are high in zinc, which helps reduces anxiety. Some dogs have sensitivities to eggs, so if your dog exhibits symptoms such as loose stool and/or itchy skin, consult your vet.
10. Sweet potatoes – This powerhouse food is packed full of vitamins and minerals and helps regulate fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can make your dog feel anxious.
Natural supplements abound for both dogs and their humans. And they work equally well for both species. Be sure to speak with your vet before administering them to your old pup. Here are just a few calming supplements that you may consider.
Cuddle, scratch, massage, dogs connect with their humans through physical contact. It’s a win-win, as physical contact with your dog calms her, and also lowers your blood pressure! Cuddle with your dog on the couch, or in bed. Scratch, scratch, scratch – it feels so good and usually elicits a vigorous tail wag. And who doesn’t love a massage? It’s soothing, pain-relieving, and drastically reduces stress. Try giving her a 15-minute massage on her head, feet, ears, or spine. Afterwards, you’ll BOTH be better off – emotionally and physically.
*The recommendations presented here are not intended to replace medical advice from your licensed veterinarian. Please check with your vet before administering any supplements to be certain they can be combined with your dog’s medications.