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Veterinarian approved products to calm anxious dogs

If your four-legged friend is more fearful than friendly, you may already know all about dog anxiety. While it may sound like some sort of trend from the TikTok era, Ivana Crneca Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Tierärzte.orgconfirms that dog fear is real and growing.

“Anxiety problems in dogs are common,” Crnec said in an email.

Living through pandemic quarantine and isolation had a similar impact on dogs’ anxiety and social skills as it does in humans,” Crnec said. Since 2020 there has been an increase in dogs experiencing separation anxiety from their owners and fear of new people and strangers, she noted.

Danielle Bernala veterinarian with pet care company Wellness pet food, agreed that it is common for dogs to be afraid. “There are specific triggers that dogs experience that can affect their condition and a variety of factors, such as genetics, experiences, upbringing, training, and changes to routines or new environments,” Bernal said via email.

There are behavioral cues that can tell if your dog is anxious, he said Carling Matejkaa doctor of veterinary medicine and spokesman for a pet food company solid gold. This may include your pup pacing, shaking, panting, whimpering, excessive licking, yawning, hiding, or avoiding eye contact. They may also include destructive behaviors such as chewing or scratching, or accidents around the home, even when physically trained.

“An anxious dog may show physical features such as dilated pupils, a tucked tail, or a lowered posture. They may also show signs of aggression or fear, like growling or cowering,” Matejka said in an email.

Experts agreed that it’s important to pay attention to these clues and take action as soon as you see them. “Early intervention can help prevent the development of more serious behavioral problems,” Matejka said.

Aside from working with experts, veterinarians shared their favorite products to create a calming space for your dog at home and overcome their anxiety.

HuffPost receives a percentage of purchases made through links on this page. Each item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Subject to price and availability changes. The experts we consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the specific products in advance unless otherwise noted.

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A dog playpen or crate where they can feel safe

When it comes to calming an anxious pup, experts recommend creating a cozy, soothing place for your furry friend to retreat to. “Creating a safe and comfortable environment is key to dealing with an anxious dog,” he said Carling Matejkaa veterinarian and spokesman for pet food company solid gold.

Ivana Crneca vet with Tierärzte.org, says this can often be a playpen or crate — just something small and private to be your dog’s designated safe place. “Be sure to secure exits, as stressed dogs are excellent escape artists,” she said.

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A soothing dog bed

Did you know they make special dog beds for anxious dogs? you do now Whether you put it in the crate or playpen, or maybe just on your living room floor, Crnec recommends purchasing a specialized anti-anxiety or calming dog bed that will be comfortable and calming for your pup.

Anti-anxiety dog ​​beds like this extra plush donut bed are higher on the sides and sunken in the middle, allowing your pet to curl up comfortably, with the raised rim keeping them snug and providing extra head and neck support. Super stuffed with ultra-soft filling, they offer relief from joint and muscle aches and have a fluffy shaggy cover that’s soft and cozy.

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Comfortable blankets or sheets that are all theirs

Part of a puppy’s restful environment is having bedding or blankets that they own that they can drool on or otherwise get dirty on, Matejka says. If you’re feeling attached to your handmade blankets or don’t want your pup using certain textiles, you may want to get them a puppy blanket of their own, like this one, which is waterproof and has self-heating properties.

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Food dispensers or puzzle toys to keep them occupied

“Dogs need mental stimulation just as much as physical exercise,” he said Danielle Bernala vet with Wellness pet food. “The key to a happy and healthy dog ​​is regular activity that allows them to engage in behaviors such as playing, hunting, chewing and smelling. These activities keep your dog physically, emotionally, and mentally satisfied.”

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A ThunderShirt for full body security

Matejka and Crnec recommend trying a Thunder Shirt, “which applies gentle pressure to calm the dog,” she said. These come in sixes from XX-small to XX-large.

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A heartbeat toy to cuddle

If your dog is glued to your side and loves to cuddle and is always around people, Crnec recommends getting him a heartbeat toy that mimics a real dog. This one comes with heat packs so the toy gets warm too.

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Durable chew toy

“Distraction techniques, like using chew toys, can aid their mental stimulation and promote a calming and calming effect in the brain,” Bernal said. “This species-specific behavior triggers a release of endorphins, which can help dogs relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.”

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A sniff mat to keep them occupied

Another way to keep your pup busy? Crnec recommends getting a sniff mat or a super interactive, machine washable toy with fleece strips to hide food and snacks in.

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A white noise machine

Setting up a white noise machine or playing soothing music can help your pup relax when he’s upset, Matejka said.

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A bag for storing treats during walks

The experts agreed that dogs respond well to positive feedback. Carrying treats with you when you walk allows you to reward your pup if he stays calm while other dogs or people walk by.

If you leave the house or are away for a while, Bernal recommends giving your pup a good walk or run before you leave and having a walker take him out when you’re away.

“Physical exercise is just as important to calm behavior,” Bernal said. “If you can get a good walk or run in before you go (or if a dog walker stops by during the day), keep a few treats in your bag to reward good behavior while you and your dog are out.”

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A dog cam to see how they behave when you’re not around

If you’re interested in how your pup is doing at home alone or if you want to monitor their behavior during the day, Crnec recommends setting up a dog cam and watching the stream regularly to see what your pup is up to. This way you can see where they like to spend time in your house, what toys they play with, and how best to organize their space when you’re not home.

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A way to keep track of a sustainable walking and feeding routine

In terms of maintaining anxiety on a daily basis, Bernal and Matejka recommend creating a predictable schedule for your pup to feed, walk, and play with your pup at around the same time each day. Keeping your pup on a daily routine can help reduce overall stress and keep their anxiety levels down during really difficult moments. If your family loves a picture, you could benefit from a sign in a common area where you can all see if the dog has been fed or walked.

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