It’s easy to get swept up planning for parties, running to the store for S’mores ingredients and arranging plans to view fireworks. But during the seasonal festivities, keep in mind that dogs feel differently than you do. It’s common for them to be frightened by changes in routine like loud booms of thunder or fireworks and crowded party atmospheres.
There are many things you can do to help ease your dog during a stressful time. It begins with recognizing your dog’s body language and behavior. When a dog is stressed, be their pack leader. When your pooch can’t identify the alpha, she can become anxious and insecure.
“You will see signs often in conjunction with each other,” says Darlene Arden, dog behaviorist and author of over a dozen books including The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs. “It is important you remain calm. If you’re anxious, your dog will pick up on that.”
To help identify stress, Arden said to look for the following signals:
– Excessive licking of paws, nose or lips
– Panting that isn’t heat related
– Pinning back ears and cowering
– Refusing treats
– Diarrhea or vomiting
– Clawing at walls, doors or gates trying to escape
Ways to Soothe Your Stressed Dog
“Drawing the curtains helps to keep out flashing lights that may startle your pets,” Arden says. “And if you plan on being out, leave a few lights on. That can also help ease a dog’s mind.”
If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave the house, so the dog can’t run off. Play noises your dog is familiar with like the TV, radio or CD player and encourage your dog to hang out in her “den”—a crate or other private area with soft blankets or pillows, favorite toys and a treat-release toy or puzzle game filled with kibble.
Taking your dog for long walks, playing fetch, or spending some time learning new tricks are other ways to help relieve pet stress.
And for the ultimate stress relief, consider a soothing essential oil treatment at the Barkery. Low in cost but high in relaxation, it can help aching joints or calm a nervous, stressed-out dog.
Thank you PetMD for the great tips on how to tell if your dog is stressed out.