Skip to Content

How to Calm Down a Dog: Techniques & Strategies (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

how to calm down a dog

When your dog is anxious, it’s essential to provide comfort and tranquility to help them feel safe and secure. Understand the causes of anxiety, such as separation, loud noises, routine changes, and medical conditions, and watch for signs like barking, panting, shivering, and body posture changes.

To calm your dog, you can implement physical and sensory calming techniques, as well as create a calming environment. Physical calming techniques include gentle touch and reassurance, massage, and the use of calming coats or supplements. Sensory calming strategies include music therapy and aromatherapy with pet-friendly essential oils.

Creating a calming environment involves providing a secure space, consistent schedules, and adjusting routines gradually. By understanding these techniques, you can effectively soothe your dog and help them feel more relaxed.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the signs of anxiety in dogs, such as barking, panting, shivering, and changes in body posture.
  • Implement physical and sensory calming techniques, including gentle touch, massage, and calming coats or supplements.
  • Create a calming environment by providing a secure space, consistent schedules, and gradually adjusting routines.
  • Understand the causes of anxiety, such as separation, loud noises, routine changes, and medical conditions, to choose the right calming techniques.

How to Calm Down a Dog?

To calm down a dog, techniques such as gentle physical contact, creating a quiet environment, and using calming supplements can be effective. These strategies help reduce anxiety and over-excitement in dogs by providing comfort and distraction.

Understanding Dog Anxiety

Understanding Dog Anxiety
Understanding Dog Anxiety: Causes and Signs

Dogs can experience anxiety for various reasons, including fear of loud noises, separation, changes in routine, and medical conditions. Some common signs of anxiety in dogs include barking or howling when their owner isn’t home, panting and pacing, shivering, and changes in body posture or eyes. Subtle signs may include lip licking, showing whites of the eyes, lifting a paw, and looking away. If you notice these signs, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further development.

Causes of Anxiety in Dogs

Understanding Dog Anxiety: Separation Anxiety, Loud Noises, Routine Changes, Environment Changes, Medical Conditions. Dogs can experience anxiety for various reasons. Some common causes include separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, changes in routine, changes in environment, and medical conditions. Recognizing these causes is essential for choosing the right calming techniques.

Signs of Anxiety to Watch For

Dogs communicate their feelings through body language, and understanding these signs can help you recognize when your dog is anxious. Here are some common signs to watch for:

  • Pacing: Your dog may walk back and forth or in circles, indicating they’re restless or uneasy.
  • Panting: Dogs pant to cool themselves off, but excessive panting can be a sign of anxiety.
  • Drooling: Dogs may drool more than usual when they’re anxious or stressed.
  • Dilated pupils: If your dog’s pupils are dilated, it could be a sign of anxiety or fear.
  • Licking: Excessive licking, especially of their paws or a specific area, can indicate anxiety.
  • Lip licking: This is a subtle sign of anxiety that can be difficult to notice but is important to recognize as it may signal more mild signs of anxiety.
  • Tail-tucking: If your dog tucks their tail between their legs, it could be a sign of anxiety or fear.
  • Avoiding eye contact: Dogs may avoid looking directly at you when they’re anxious or fearful.
  • Hiding: Your dog may seek out a safe space or hide when they’re anxious.
  • Whining or crying: Dogs may whine or cry when they’re anxious or stressed.
  • Shivering: Some dogs may shiver when they’re anxious or fearful.
  • Escaping: Dogs may try to escape from the situation that’s causing their anxiety.
  • Destructive behavior: Anxious dogs may destroy objects or furniture.
  • Self-harm: Dogs may lick or chew their paws excessively when they’re anxious.
  • Not eating: Loss of appetite can be a sign of anxiety in dogs.
  • Urinating or defecating in the house: Anxious dogs may have accidents in the house, even if they’re housebroken.

Recognizing these signs early can help you intervene before your dog becomes overwhelmed by anxiety, ensuring their well-being and maintaining a strong bond with your furry friend.

Physical Calming Techniques

Physical Calming Techniques
To calm a dog, you can use physical calming techniques. Start by showing them some physical affection like petting or cuddling. Additionally, massage can relax muscles and alleviate tension.

The Power of Touch

Calming Your Anxious Dog Through Touch

The power of touch can’t be underestimated in easing an anxious dog’s mind. Here are three methods to employ physical contact to soothe your furry companion:

  • Gentle Touch and Reassurance: Gently stroking your dog can provide solace and tranquility. Recognize indicators of anxiety and react promptly.

  • Physical Contact and Connection: Expressing affection through embraces and cuddles can deepen your bond and alleviate stress.

  • Massage and Relaxation: Begin at the neck and progress downward with extended strokes that can relax muscles and alleviate tension.

Massage for Relaxation

Just like a soothing back rub after a long day, massage techniques can release your dog’s muscle tension. Gently apply targeted pressure along their spine to trigger relaxation. This stress reduction ritual not only enhances your bond but can also be integrated with calming coats or supplements in your dog care toolkit, providing a tranquil alternative to anxiety medication.

Sensory Calming Strategies

Sensory Calming Strategies
When your dog’s anxiety flares up, consider sensory calming strategies like music therapy and aromatherapy. These methods can create a serene atmosphere and provide relief for your stressed pet.

Music Therapy

Music therapy can be a calming and relaxing experience for your dog. Play classical music or harp music on a music player at a low volume. Place the player in a quiet, accessible location. Adjust the music duration and timing based on your dog’s comfort level.

Music therapy can help block noise sensitivity and provide an alternative to pheromones or supplements for dog anxiety. Additionally, consider desensitization techniques and veterinary advice for more targeted anxiety relief.

Aromatherapy Benefits

Aromatherapy is a natural way to help calm your dog. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and peppermint can provide calming benefits. Diffuse these scents in a pet-friendly formulation to create a soothing environment. Always follow safety precautions and consult with a veterinarian before using aromatherapy for your dog’s health.

Creating a Calming Environment

Creating a Calming Environment
Creating a calming environment for your dog starts with establishing a safe space where they can find respite from anxiety. Consistently adhering to schedules plays a pivotal role in providing stability and reducing stress for your furry companion.

Safe Spaces for Anxiety Relief

Creating a haven for your dog can markedly diminish anxiety, particularly in cases of separation anxiety or fear triggers. Consider their bedding preferences and provide a snug, cozy spot. Introduce calming scents like lavender or chamomile, and make sure the area is tranquil and sheltered from drafts.

For dogs with outdoor access, guarantee a secluded and secure area for them to retreat. Regular exercise and playtime can also help your dog feel more secure and confident.

The Role of Consistent Schedules

Establishing a consistent schedule is essential for your dog’s well-being. Here’s how you can maximize its benefits:

  • Schedule Advantages: A consistent routine provides structure and predictability, reducing anxiety and stress.
  • Schedule Adjustments: Gradually modify your dog’s schedule to accommodate changes, like travel or new routines.
  • Routine Benefits: Regular exercise, feeding times, and play sessions help maintain a balanced and calm dog.
  • Time Management: Plan activities and breaks to guarantee your dog receives the exercise and mental stimulation they need.
  • Activity Planning: Include interactive games and training sessions into your dog’s routine for bonding and learning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some common signs of anxiety in dogs?

Common signs of anxiety in dogs include:

  • Barking or howling when owner isn’t home
  • Panting and pacing (even when it’s not hot)
  • Shivering
  • Running away and/or cowering in the corner of a house
  • Digging
  • Escaping the yard
  • Destroying furniture
  • Self-harm, including excessive licking or chewing
  • Not eating
  • Urinating more frequently
  • A general inability to settle

More subtle anxiety signs that can be difficult to pick up on include:

  • Lip licking
  • Showing whites of the eyes
  • Lifting a paw
  • Looking away

These subtle body language signs can signal more mild signs of anxiety and are important because they’re precursors to deeper anxiety. If you pick up on them and act, it’s less likely to escalate.

How can I use music to calm my dog?

To calm your dog using music, you can play calming genres like classical music, reggae, or soft rock. These types of music have been proven to reduce stress in dogs, as they have a soothing effect on the canine nervous system.

Additionally, you can try playing music specifically composed for dogs, which can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It’s essential to mix up the music genres to avoid your dog getting used to the background noise.

Remember to play the music at a moderate to low volume, as dogs have a more sensitive sense of hearing than humans.

What is the difference between pheromone diffusers and collars for calming dogs?

Pheromone diffusers are like calming air fresheners for your home, constantly releasing peace vibes, while collars are personal zen masters for your dog, offering on-the-go tranquility wherever their paws may wander.

How can I use exercise to help calm my dog?

Exercise is a powerful tool for calming your dog. Before leaving, tire out your pet with a brisk walk or play session to release energy and stress. Physical activity provides bonding time, releases endorphins, and helps your dog feel secure. Additionally, exercise can improve your dog’s overall health and well-being, contributing to a more relaxed state.

What are some natural supplements that can help calm my dog?

Natural supplements can be effective in calming dogs, and there are several options available. For instance, Nutramax Solliquin Soft Chews and VetriScience Composure Soft Chews are popular choices. Other supplements include Purina Calming Care Supplement Powder, which contains L-tryptophan and L-theanine. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best supplement for your dog based on their health history.


Picture your dog, once anxious, now resting calmly beside you, a proof of the efficacy of the techniques you’ve applied. By comprehending the causes and signs of anxiety, you’ve fostered a tranquil environment.

Employing physical soothing methods like touch and massage, and utilizing sensory tactics such as music and aromatherapy, further bolsters this serenity.

Consistency in routine also contributes to this calming state. Understanding how to calm down a dog not only betters their well-being but also strengthens your connection with them.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.