Fresh summer haircut? Check.
Flea and tick defense? Check.
Dog-friendly vacation plans? Check.
As a diligent pet parent, you’ve done everything you can to prepare your pup for summer. That said, summer can still bring about some added anxiety in pets. With 4th of July fireworks, thunderstorms, and an uptick in travel plans (with and without your dog), your typically calm pup may have some trouble coping with that summer stress.
Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to address your dog’s anxiety. Keep reading for some expert tips for soothing your stressed-out pet this summer.
Signs Your Dog is Stressed
Every dog is different. Not all dogs experience stress the same way, and signs of stress and anxiety can look different from one dog to another.
Common signs of stress in dogs include:
- Clingy behavior
- Yawning, drooling, or licking lips
- Whining or barking
- Trembling, shaking, or cowering
- Escape attempts
- Bathroom accidents
- Destructive behavior such as digging or chewing
You know your dog best—the more familiar you are with his behaviors and mannerisms, the better you’ll be able to pick up on signs of stress and anxiety ranging from subtle to severe.
Dealing With Your Dog’s Summer Stress
Before implementing new ingredients or practices into your dog’s routine, it’s important to understand the type of anxiety he’s dealing with.
Separation anxiety, for example, occurs when your pup feels legitimately panicked at the thought of being left alone and acts out in destructive ways as a result.
Generalized anxiety, also called behavioral anxiety, has no clear cause. If “anxious” is one of your dog’s primary personality traits, he may have generalized anxiety.
Fear-related anxiety, also known as social anxiety or noise anxiety, involves anything that makes your dog feel scared or stressed—crowds, loud noises, and unfamiliar environments, for example.
If your dog’s stress levels tend to spike in the summer, he’s likely dealing with fear-related anxiety. Common types of summer fear anxiety include:
We may find fireworks exciting and entertaining, but those unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can be incredibly distressing to our furry friends. In fact, many dogs have been known to run away from home as a result of panic.
What to do about fireworks anxiety:
Keep your pet home and indoors in a quiet, secure space.
- Use a fan or white noise machine to block out the sounds.
- Provide plenty of comfy bedding and favorite toys, or even a snug T-shirt or blanket wrap.
- Make sure your dog is wearing an ID collar and microchip in case of an escape.
Additionally, try to clean up the aftermath of the fireworks before your dog tastes or sniffs any toxic chemicals or metals.
Thunderstorm anxiety isn’t just about the noise—wind, lightning, pressure changes, and static electricity can also contribute to your dog’s stress. In fact, dogs can pick up on storms well before they occur, so be mindful of any subtle signs of stress in the calm before the storm.
What to do about thunderstorm anxiety:
- Stay calm, as coddling your dog may convey that the storm really is as scary as he thinks it is.
- Create a comfortable, quiet safe space with a fan/white noise machine and blackout curtains.
Distract your dog with favorite toys or treats, or go through commands together as the familiarity can be comforting.
- Plan an indoor puppy playdate with a non-fearful dog to boost your pet’s confidence.
If you do plan a playdate, make sure the dogs are already familiar and comfortable with each other ahead of time. Otherwise, this could exacerbate the already stressful situation.
Planning a pet-friendly vacation? As fun as the trip may be, changes in routine, unfamiliar environments, and car sickness can all contribute to your dog’s travel anxiety.
What to do about travel anxiety:
Before your adventure, prep with smaller practice trips ranging from long car rides to quick overnight getaways.
Choose a safe option for securing your dog in your car: dog seat belt, dog car seat, back seat hammock, travel crate, or pet barrier.
Bring along some comfortable bedding, favorite toys, and familiar food.
- Keep your dog busy with interactive toys—and don’t forget to wear him out before a long stretch in the car!
Plan to make stops every 2-3 hours when traveling with your dog, offering plenty of opportunities for food, water, bathroom breaks, exercise, and, of course, quality bonding time.
Calm Your Anxious Dog with PetHonesty
Whether your dog experiences separation anxiety, fear-related anxiety, or even motion sickness, our Calming Hemp Chews are a great way to soothe any stressed-out pup.
These calming chews use a blend of natural ingredients including valerian root, chamomile, ginger root, and hemp seed powder for a gentle, non-sedating way to ease anxiety and even increase focus for training.Plus, you have multiple tasty options: chicken or beef liver flavor, max-strength chews with duck flavor, or even Hemp Calming Fresh Sticks for an added fresh breath benefit.