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Calming Healthy Habits for Dogs

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Does your pup struggle with anxiety and stress? If so, you're not alone. Anxiety is a common problem in dogs, but the good news is that it can be managed. That's where healthy habits come in - by helping your pup build new habits, you can make sure they stay calm and relaxed even in stressful situations. In this article, you'll learn about the signs to know if your dog is stressed, what are the best ways to help them, and the products you can get for them to alleviate stress or anxiety.

What are the Signs that Your Dog is Stressed?

1. Whining or barking. It's natural for dogs to vocalize, but anxious dogs may whine or bark more often as a way to get their humans' attention or to self-soothe. When they are feeling stressed or afraid, these behaviors can be intensified.

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2. Shedding. When dogs are nervous in the show ring, they can experience hair loss or "blow their coats." Even if it's not as noticeable, anxious dogs may start shedding more when in unfamiliar settings, such as a new dog park or the vet's office.
3. Shaking or Pacing. You may have seen your pup shake off after a bath or rolling around in the grass - and while it can be amusing to watch, shaking can also be a sign of stress. This is especially true when it comes to visiting the vet - many dogs will shake or pace back and forth while they wait for their appointment.
4. Licking, drooling, or yawning. Dogs may yawn when tired, bored, or stressed - a nervous yawn is usually more intense and drawn out than a sleepy one. Additionally, dogs may drool or lick excessively when feeling anxious.
5. Panting. Dogs may pant when hot, excited, or stressed - and if you notice your pup panting for no apparent reason, he could be feeling anxious or distressed.
6. Dilated Pupils. When dogs are stressed, they may display signs similar to those experienced by humans - like dilated pupils and rapid blinking. Your pup might also appear startled, with wide open eyes and more sclera showing than usual, as well as ears that are pulled back against the head.
7. Rearing legs or cowering. A healthy, non-injured dog should usually bear their weight evenly across all four legs. If they start shifting their weight to the back legs or cowering, it could be an indication of stress - they may also tuck their tail and freeze up when they feel scared.
8. Avoidant behavior. Faced with something that makes them uncomfortable, dogs may try to "escape" by turning away, licking themselves, or sniffing the ground. While ignoring someone may not be polite in human terms, it's still preferable to aggression. If your pet avoids interaction with other people and pups, don't push it - be sure to respect their wishes.
9. Displacement behavior. Faced with something uncomfortable, dogs may try to "escape" by turning away, licking themselves, or sniffing the ground. Ignoring someone isn't necessarily polite in human terms, but it's still better than being aggressive.
10. Change in other behaviors. Similarly to humans, anxious dogs may suddenly feel the urge to use the bathroom. If your pup urinates or defecates shortly after meeting a new dog, it could be related to marking territory and feeling stressed out. Refusing food and an inability to control bowel movements can also be signs of distress.

Dog Breeds Known for Their Energy

Particular breeds of dogs have notoriously high-energy levels, so it's essential to be aware of each dog's behavior and activity level, even if the signs mentioned above are present. The following groups include some of the most energetic dog breeds:

  • Sighthounds: Also known as gazehounds, these breeds have been specifically bred to hunt and chase prey rather than relying on scent like other hound dogs. Gazehounds are fast and agile, capable of covering short distances quickly. Unfortunately, when chasing their target, these dogs don't respond to humans easily - making them tricky to train. Popular breeds under this classification include greyhounds, wolfhounds, and whippets.
  • Herding breeds: Herding dogs are famously energetic, with Australian shepherds, collies, sheepdogs, and heelers all belonging to this particular breed. These canines have an instinctive drive to herd people and other animals.
  • Sporting dogs: Sporting breeds made for intelligent and alert companions and were bred to retrieve birds when guided by people. The best-known sporting dogs include spaniels, pointers, retrievers, and setters - all of which have been used in the past by hunters. Sporting dogs tend to love outdoor fields since they have been bred with this purpose in mind.

Calming Habits for Your Dog



Taking your pup out for a walk, hike, or run is a great way to get some healthy daily exercise and build an even stronger bond between you. Regular exercise is essential for keeping both you and your pet healthy and fit, and can also help put a stop to any unwanted behavior issues. Taking your dog outside for some fresh air and allowing them to stretch its legs will relieve the stress associated with feeling cooped up inside. An exhausted canine companion is a content one - and don't forget that senior pups still need regular exercise, too, as long as it's suitable to their physical condition.




When your pup is feeling anxious, there's likely nothing more comforting to them than receiving some physical comfort from you. Familiarize yourself with the signs of anxiety in your pet and do your best to soothe them as quickly as possible, whether through cuddles on the couch, a good scratch behind the ears, or simply by picking them up and giving them a hug.

Mental Stimulation

Next time your pup feels overwhelmed, try teaching them a new trick to get their attention off the stressful situation. This one-on-one bonding opportunity also gives them some love and care they crave. Going on a "scent walk" with a different route can provide physical exercise and an exciting sniffing experience. For even more stimulation, add some enrichment activities, such as filling a puzzle ball or toy with treats or food - let your pet explore the world beyond their bowl.


A massage can relax even the most stressed human - your pup can benefit from it too! Anxiety often causes tightness in their muscles, so massage therapy is a great way to give relief. Start at the neck, then work downward while using long strokes. Keep one hand on them as you massage with the other - you may even be able to pinpoint the places where they hold their stress and could use some extra loving attention.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is not just for humans; it can be of great benefit to our furry friends too! Playing music around the house, in the car, or even when you're away can help soothe and relax your pet. It also helps to block out loud noises from the street or other scary sounds that might cause anxiety.


Veterinarians often recommend L-theanine and L-tryptophan supplements to help with mild to moderate anxiety in dogs. Zylkene, a type of milk protein, is also an excellent option for calming down your pet naturally - it's especially popular for senior dogs who suffer from age-related anxieties. You can use Zylkene daily or when your pup needs extra support, like when there are visitors around the house.

Calming Products to Help Your Dog

Pet Honesty has a line of calming products for both dogs and cats.

Hemp Calming 3-Pack

Canine Hemp Calming Chews

Pet Honesty's Hemp Calming Chews make stressful situations like car rides, vet visits, thunderstorms, and separation easier on your pet. These tasty chews are made up of natural ingredients to help soothe and calm an anxious pup - there are 270 chews in a bag! Not only that, but they can help temporarily mellow out your dog's demeanor, address excessive barking or chewing and help with disruptive behaviors caused by separation anxiety. Pet Honesty's Hemp Calming Chews is also a useful tool for training as it helps to keep your dog focused. L-theanine, an amino acid usually found in green tea, is one of the calming agents featured in Pet Honesty's Hemp Calming Chews. This ingredient helps dogs to stay relaxed in situations that could otherwise be stressful.

Hemp Calming Max Strength 3-Pack

Canine Hemp Calming Max Strength

Pet Honesty's Hemp Calming Max Strength Chews are specially formulated to make stressful situations like car rides, vet visits, thunderstorms, and separation easier on your pet - all without resorting to sedatives. The natural ingredients of these duck-flavored chews can temporarily calm a dog's demeanor, address excessive barking or chewing and help with anxious behaviors caused by separation anxiety. The chews are also a great training tool as it helps to help keep your dog focused and soothes the discomfort associated with being apart from their owners.

It's important to remember that, just like us, dogs, too, need some extra help from time to time when anxiety strikes. Whether it's through teaching them new tricks, massage therapy, music therapy, supplements, or calming products - there are ways to reduce and manage your pup's feelings of stress and worry. With a little patience and love, you can help make their life more comfortable during times of distress. And who knows - maybe you'll even bring out the inner Zen master in them.