Summertime…thunderstorms, days at the beach, and the Fourth of July… The summer is full of fun events for us humans to enjoy. However, the summer may be full of stress and anxiety for our pets. The stress of missing you while you are gone or the startling sounds of thunder or fireworks may cause your dog’s behavior to change dramatically. The signs of fear, stress, or anxiety may range from the subtle such as a tucked tail or trembling, to very noticeable such as “accidents” or even damage to your favorite pair of shoes. . .and in extreme cases to your home.
With the summer and the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, here are some ways to combat the stresses and anxieties the summer brings to your dog.
Physical and Mental Exercise: Some trainers and veterinarians suggest increasing physical and mental exercise for your dog. A “tired out” dog is less likely to become hyper-stimulated by the stressors of summer. So, increase the length and/or frequency of your walks. Take your dog to the park. Teach your old dog new tricks. All of these activities will help contribute to a calmer mental state for your dog. As an added bonus, increasing your dog’s exercise may help get you into better beach shape too!
Stay Calm: Your dog is a pack animal and you are the leader of his or her pack. In times of stress your dog looks to you for guidance. If you stay calm, you provide visual and scent cues that let your dog know that his or her pack leader has the situation under control.
Counter-training: We have all heard of Pavlov’s dog who was trained to associate the ringing of a bell with food. Why not train your dog to associate thunder or other loud noises with a treat? During a thunderstorm or other periods of loud noises like Fourth of July fireworks, give your dog a treat after each crack of thunder or firework explosion. In time, your dog will be running to the food dish rather than running for cover.
Calming wear: Products such as the “Thunder Shirt” activate pressure points on your dog’s body that promote a calm mental state.
Calming Nutrition: You can add to your dog’s diet with nutritional products that contain molecules such as L-Theanine that promote a calm and quiet dog. L-Theanine is found in the green tea plant. Studies have shown that anxious dogs given L-Theanine demonstrate an increase in interaction with human strangers and an increased time of those interactions. Other studies have shown that L-Theanine increases dopamine release in the dog brain. The calming effects of L-Theanine can be further enhanced by other molecules. For example, hemp-derived cannabinoids, have been shown to have a calming effect by increasing alpha-wave generation and altering blood flow patterns within the brain. Combining L-Theanine with hemp-derived cannabinoids allows the two molecules to work together to calm your dog when he or she needs it most.
As you are enjoying some summer fun, just remember that the events of summer, especially the Fourth of July, can be very traumatic for your pet. To combat that stress, keep in mind these all natural ways to help keep your pooch calm and quiet: Increase their physical and mental exercise, be a calm and strong pack leader, counter-train to change the way your dog associates the stresses, wrap your dog in calming wear, and last, but not least, add calming nutrition to your dog’s diet—like Therabis’ Calm And Quiet.