September 1, 2021
Let’s face it, sometimes life can get the best of us. Maybe you’ve been working long hours, trying to pass that monster class or just been feeling stuck in that never-ending hamster wheel. Even with all that you do, money might still be tight, and the weight of your stress may be getting too heavy, and your dog is probably feeling it, too.
It doesn’t have to be a financial stretch for you and your pup to reset and recharge. When it comes to our four-legged friends, sometimes less is more, especially when all your pup wants, and possibly all you need, is a little quality time together.
If the pressure is on, we’re here to help you and your pup find some relief with a few things you can do to help alleviate both your stress, without breaking the bank.
Recently we posted about 7 Healthy Exercises for Your Dog, so review that and let’s get active! Get your dog used to getting regular fresh air and exercise by going for a walk together around the neighbourhood, to the beach or to the local dog park or nature trail. Getting out in nature is a sure-fire way to calm your dog’s anxiety as well as your own. Begin with an easy stroll in the neighbourhood where the sights and sounds are already familiar, then step up your game by venturing out into nature. Trail or beach hikes can be tricky for untrained dogs so it’s important that you and your pup are both prepared.
To help alleviate stress before taking your pooch for a more challenging walk, try Ready Pet Go! Bacon and Cheese Flavour Zen Chews. They are super affordable and are packed full of things that help your dog get into the Zen zone like valerian root, chamomile and tryptophan.
Just like humans, animals have pressure points and hold stress in different areas of the body. You could get a massage for your dog at a local pet grooming parlour or at the vet but to save on costs DIY is the best option. For starters, dogs love to be touched, but massaging your pet can also promote a stronger bond, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and cause your body to release oxytocin (the“ love drug”) in your brain. Giving your pup a5-10 minute massage can help to alleviate the bodily stress and help your dog relax and feel more comfortable with you. Massaging your pooch can also be a great bonding and relaxing experience for you both.
Music has the uncanny ability to impact the listener’s mood -- so, why wouldn’t that also apply to our pets? A 2017 study examined the effect of different genres of music on stress levels in kenneled dogs. What they found was that when any genre of music was played, the dogs spent more time laying down. The study also discovered that when listening to soft rock and reggae, there was a significant reduction in stress, and concluded that listening to music influenced physiological and behavioural changes in the dogs that were observed, validating that music can help reduce signs of stress and anxiety in dogs. Whether it’s during a storm or if you just want to chill with your pup, play Chewy ’s Zen Dog Playlist for relaxing, easy favorites, curated just for dogs. We bet you’ll like it, too!
For around $20, you can purchase an aromatherapy lamp that glows in different colors and sends outa beautiful scent of whatever essential oils you choose. You could also rub a small amount of the aromatherapy scent onto a blanket or cuddle toy, which can be uber effective in helping calm your dog and alleviate anxiety. Because dogs have a more powerful sense of smell than humans, don’t overdo it on the smells.
Some good scents to try are Bergamot, which helps to balance emotions and ease panic. Lavender is easy to find and, just like with humans, the scent evokes a natural state of calm. Frankincense is an oldie but goodie that can help slow breathing during times of stress or fear. Often used to alleviate PTSD symptoms, Spikenard is grounding and calming, while Geranium Rose can help bring a sense of calm and balance to your pup.
For around $20, you can purchase a therapeutic body wrap that helps to calm your dog’s anxiety. If you are at home, try wrapping your pup in a warm, moist towel, or one from right out of the dryer, for about 20 minutes. One of your T-shirts might also do the trick, since your pup will feel more comforted wrapped in something that smells like you.
If you often find your pup taking a snooze in the crate, it’s a good indicator that your dog feels comfy, cozy and stress-free in that tiny little “safe space.” If the crate is already in a quiet area of the house, cover the top and sides with a blanket. If your dog isn’t a chewer, toss in a comfy pet bed and a few of your pup’s favorite snuggle toys. If your pup prefers something other than a crate, make a special cozy corner in the closet. Ideally, the closet should be away from windows. Most likely, doggo will be thrilled to hang around shoes and clothes that smell just like you -- unless pup likes to chew on shoes!
When it comes to your dog, there’s really no wrong way to comfort. The best part is that any time you spend with your pup is mutually beneficial. Your dog doesn’t care about a fancy spa day if you’re not there too. So, give yourself, and your wallet, a break and take a few minutes to practice your own self-care by loving on your pup.