Just like humans, puppies experience stress and anxiety. Stress can have a severe impact on a puppy’s health if untreated. Causes of stress in puppies can vary from a visit to the veterinary to loud noises. Some puppies are also genetically predisposed to developing stress and anxiety based on their personalities and health.
When your puppy is stressed, he will typically exhibit signs of stress such as constant whining, destructive behavior, a decrease in playfulness, among others. If you notice your puppy showing these signs or generally acting out of character, it will be up to you to determine the cause of his stress. Look around your environment and try to identify anything that might be causing stress to your puppy and eliminate it. Now, it is imperative to keep in mind that removing the stressor will not magically eradicate your puppy’s stress. You need to do some things to calm your puppy down and relieve his stress. In this article, we look at how you can help your puppy manage stress.
Puppies get stressed by different things either in the environment or due to a medical condition. If your puppy’s stress is not a result of a medical condition but rather an external factor, then distraction will work wonders in relieving the stress. A good instance is when your puppy gets stressed by a fireworks display or any other loud noises that you have no control over. You can distract him from the cause of his stress by playing with him. A good distraction method is the use of tricks and treats. You can practice some of the tricks that you do with your puppy and reward him with a treat every time he does the trick. When your puppy focuses on completing the trick and getting a treat, his concentration will move from whatever is stressing him, and he will slowly calm down.
Another excellent distraction method is the use of a toy. You can get an interactive toy like the ZippyPaws Squeaky Hide and Seek dog toy to distract your puppy. The hide and seek interactive toy has a plush log with plush squeaky chipmunks hidden inside. Your puppy plays with the toy by pulling out the chipmunks through the holes, keeping him distracted and entertained.
Dogs have a powerful sense of smell, and you can leverage this to help your puppy manage stress through the use of pheromones. Pheromones in dogs are naturally produced by lactating mothers to help them bond with their puppies. It also helps to keep the puppies content and calm when they are around their mother. Since we do not all have a lactating dog, we can use Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAPs). DAPs are synthetic pheromones specially formulated to help dogs manage stress. You can use a diffuser with a DAP spray to keep spraying your house at your preferred time intervals. The human nose cannot detect DAPs, so you do not have to worry about your home acquiring strange smells from the pheromones. Alternatively, you can feed your puppy with melatonin laced dog treats. The melatonin has a calming effect on canines and helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Humans are not the only ones who enjoy music; dogs do too. Music is an excellent stress reliever for dogs just like it is for humans. If your puppy suffers from separation anxiety, you can leave some music playing in the house when you leave the house. The music makes the puppy feel like you are at home with him and aids in stress relief. Alternatively, you can leave your television on when leaving the house. The sound from the television acts as a distraction to your puppy and makes him think you are home. If you are wondering what kind of music to play for your dog, there is a particular type of dog music that helps calm down puppies and adult dogs in the presence of a stressor. Some dog music CDs like Through a Dog’s Ear have received numerous positive reviews for assisting dogs to calm down in minutes during fireworks displays and thunderstorms.
If your puppy shows signs of anxiety and stress, you should consider taking him out for walks. It is imperative to note that you should only take your puppy to public places a week after the second vaccination. The second vaccination takes place at about 11-12 weeks of age so you can only take your pup outside to public areas from 13 weeks of age. Taking your puppy outside before his last vaccination puts him at risk of contracting preventable diseases. If your pup has not had the second vaccination, you can take him out to your garden to walk or play there. Walking and exercising keeps your pup’s mind off the stressor and helps him calm down.
If you have ever had a massage, then you know how calming it can be. Massages have the same effects on our canine friends. A massage is an excellent stress management method for dogs since it calms both the mind and the body. Massaging a puppy creates a mood stabilizing effect to help him relax. It is also a great way to bond with your puppy as dogs associate your touch with a feeling of affection. Dogs generally feel safe and loved when getting a massage. Apart from emotional benefits, dog massage also has physical benefits. Some of the physical benefits of dog massage include increasing the blood flow and accelerating healing of injuries.
Creating a safe zone within your house is a great way to manage stress in your pup. Set apart a room or space in your home where your puppy can go to escape high-stress activities like fireworks. A favorite toy also helps when your puppy needs to hide away from the stressors around him. You can train your dog to always go to their safe zone whenever they feel anxious or stressed. It helps if you stay with your puppy in the safe zone when they are undergoing stress so that you can be a reassurance to them. Your presence can also accelerate your puppy’s recovery rate.
Most of the stress in dogs stems from external stressors but, can sometimes signify a severe medical problem. It is imperative to keep an eye on your puppy for prolonged signs of stress. If your puppy is always whining and scratching, you should take him to the dentist for diagnosis and treatment. Dogs are naturally happy and outgoing animals. Let us make sure that they remain that way by using these stress management methods.