Calm Your Anxious Dog with These 7 Vet-Approved Techniques

Just like us, dogs get anxious when they’re placed in scenarios that they’re not familiar with. Think of the feelings you had on your first day of school, or at that job interview where you weren’t confident about your skills. Well, dogs feel that way too, especially if they’re placed in an environment that they’ve never seen or smelt before. If you’re transporting your dog to a different country, they’ll experience a whole new world of sights, sounds and smells and they need a little bit of reassurance from you, as the pooch parent, to show them that everything’s going to be okay.

So, what causes anxiety in dogs? In this guide, we’ll look at the signs of anxiety in dogs as well as effective tips on how to calm an anxious dog. We’ll only explore the natural ways of treating anxiety in dogs.

dog on carpet

Causes of Anxiety in Dogs

Anxiety is a common problem that can lead to behavioural issues and health problems. Understanding the root causes of anxiety in your dogs can help you better treat your pet’s anxiety. Some of the common causes of anxiety in dogs are:


Your dogs may develop anxiety in response to specific fears, such as loud noises, crowds, or strangers. The fear of such things can lead to trembling, pacing, and, in some cases, even escape attempts.

Environmental Changes

Dogs are creatures that follow specific routines in their daily life. So, changes like moving to a new home or introducing new pets can trigger anxiety in them. Even the changes in your work schedule can develop anxiety in your furry friend.

Separation Anxiety

One of the most prevalent forms of anxiety in dogs is separation anxiety. By nature, dogs are pack animals, so when they are separated from their owners for a long period of time, they may become anxious. This can lead the dogs to harmful behaviour and excessive barking.


Some dogs are genetically prone to anxiety. This is because these breeds may be more trained to think more and be intelligent working breeds. That’s why certain breeds, like the Border Collie and German Shepherd, are more prone to anxiety than others.


Older dogs may develop anxiety more than younger dogs due to age-related changes in their cognitive function or mobility. This condition is often known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), which leads to confusion, disorientation, and fear growth in dogs.

How Does Anxiety Affect Dogs?

how anxiety affects dog

Although dogs do experience the same emotions as us when it comes to anxiety, they show it in different ways. You’ll not often see a dog chewing its nails, for example. The problem is it’s sometimes difficult to pick out the signs of anxiety in dogs. They can’t come out and tell you how they’re feeling, and the fact that they’re in a whole new environment can make it confusing for us humans, too, as we don’t know how they’ll react to the change. But, there are ways of finding anxiety in dogs with the change in their body language and habits.

The main effects of anxiety in dogs are:

  • A Change in Eating Habits

Your dog might start to eat less because they don’t feel hungry or because they’re too distracted by anxiety disorder to be interested in food. Equally, though, they could start to ask for much more food and might start eating other food items around your house. Yes, dogs can comfort eat too.

  • Withdrawn Behaviour

Another effect of anxiety in dogs is sudden behaviour problems seen in your dogs. If your dog is usually cheerful, loving, and always excited to be around you, you’ll notice a big difference if they suddenly start spending a lot of time in rooms away from you or in a corner on their own. Corners feel like safe spaces for dogs, as they can see what’s coming from all angles, knowing nothing is behind them. If your dog has taken to sitting by themselves in a corner, then it might be a sign of anxiety in the dog, and you might need to take action on time.

  • Choosing to Be Alone

Dogs are natural pack animals, so if you have more than one dog, that’s great. However, if you notice one of your dogs deliberately spending time alone or nipping at the other dogs in your household as a warning to stay away, then this could be a sign of anxiety in your dog.

7 Tips For Treating Anxiety In Dogs

Dogs’ anxiety can quickly turn into a form of doggy depression if not handled well. Spending time alone, away from you, and not eating the right diet are signs that your dog needs some love and attention to make them feel better. So, here are the tips that can help you how to calm an anxious dog.

1. Be a Role Model

Your dog looks up to you as the head of the pack, so you need to put your best foot forward and lead the way. When you’re in a completely new environment, new house, new garden, new country altogether, there’s going to be a lot of things that your dog is unsure of. Especially if you take into consideration how much more sensitive they are to smells and sounds than we are.

You need to reassure your dog that everything around you is safe. If you want them to explore their new outdoor space, do it with them. They trust you, and if they see that you’re confident, then it’ll push them to feel the same.

Dog with family

2. Physical Contact

Dogs love intimacy. It’s built into them as pack animals. That’s why you’ll always see them lying in a heap on the floor rather than sitting nicely in their beds. The contact of someone they trust helps to give them confidence. No matter what, they’ll feel a need to protect you, and knowing you’re there close to them, will make them bolder and more confident. Physical contact like petting and massage causes the brain to release oxytocin hormone in both dogs and humans. It helps to strengthen your bond and calm the anxious dog. Spend time with your four-legged friend outside, taking in the new smells and sounds together, or in the house curled up on the sofa.

3. Provide Regular Exercise and Mental Encouragement

Exercise is always a winner. It even helps people with their anxiety, so it must be great for calming an anxious dog, too, right? Walking allows your dog to take their mind off things. It gets them excited about exploring the outside world, and it also tires them out so they’ll be able to sleep when they get home. Take a walk around your new neighbourhood with your dog. They’ll become more comfortable with their surroundings and feel better about their new home.

Boredom is also one of the reasons for anxiety in dogs. Involving your dog in mental stimulation like puzzle toys and other training can reduce their anxiety. You can teach your dog basic obedience cues like “sit,” “watch me,” “stay,” or “stand up” so they don’t get bored.

walk the dog

4. Maintain a Consistent Routine

Another natural way of treating anxiety in dogs is making a routine. Dogs love a routine. They know exactly what time their meals are each day, what time their walks are, and where they’ll be sleeping at night. When you make such a big change in their lives, it’s important to keep as much as you can the same for them. Alright, you might be in a different time zone, so walkies might differ. But get back into a routine as fast as you can so they know what to expect.

It’s also advisable to take their old toys and bedding with you when you move. They’re going to want those old home comforts in a new environment. So, don’t be tempted to start from scratch. They won’t appreciate it.

5. Create a Calm Home Environment

Create a calm space just for your dog. Dogs pick up on your every, so remaining calm and avoiding chaos in the home can help reduce your dog’s anxiety. Avoiding loud noises or unfamiliar people can also create a more relaxed atmosphere for anxiety treatment. Sometimes, they need some alone time in a comfortable space to grow well.

6. Music Therapy

Music therapy has been recognized as an effective way of treating anxiety in dogs. The right kind of music has a physiological calming effect on dogs. Music with a slow tempo and soft melodies can help lower a dog’s stress levels. Also, focusing on pleasant music diverts your dog’s attention away from frightening sights and sounds in your new home. A familiar and peaceful tune can lower blood pressure and stop anxious thoughts on them. Making music part of your dog’s routine trains their brain and body to relax.

7. Consult With a Veterinarian

If your dog’s anxiety gets worse despite these efforts, it’s better to consult a veterinarian or a dog behaviourist. Firstly, they are trained to diagnose potential reasons like thyroid disorders, pain, or other conditions. They can recommend several medications that can be used for treating anxiety in dogs depending on the causes of anxiety, like severe separation anxiety, noise phobias, travel stress, and other persistent anxiety issues. Also, they are trained to provide behavioural counselling and support for your dog.

Common Mistakes: What Not to Do When Calming an Anxious Dog

When you notice the signs that your dog isn’t happy, it’s tempting to do whatever you can to comfort them and make them feel better. After learning the ways of treating an anxious dog, you also need to know what not to do to calm an anxious dog. As we talked about, some dogs will show their anxiety with a change in appetite. Don’t be tempted to give them more food because they’re asking for more.

It’s also not advisable to change the type of food that they’re eating if you notice that they’re eating less. It’s unlikely that they’ve suddenly decided they don’t like that particular brand, and changing their diet is likely to upset them more.

Try not to leave them alone for too long at first. Yes, you will have to leave them alone eventually but think back to when they were a puppy. You’ll have had to wean them gradually off the time they spend with you so that they weren’t shocked when you suddenly left for hours at a time. Go back to that. Start with leaving the room for a few minutes and work your way up to a few hours at a time. Remember, you’re their comfort blanket, and they’ll become more anxious if you leave them in a new place and just disappear.

Look for other tips from experts, e.g., here’s what the American Kennel Club has to say about dog’s anxiety.


Remember to always think ahead when you’re planning a big move. Your dog will be anxious at the move; there’s no avoiding it. But be mindful of this and take all the necessary measures we suggested for treating anxiety in dogs. Our pet relocation company has all the answers to your pet travel questions. Hence, these are the 7 important tips on how to calm an anxious dog. If you need any help, we’re here to provide support and guidance throughout this process. Contact us today to learn more about our services for reducing anxiety during pet moves so you and your furry friend can look forward to new adventures ahead.

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Why is my dog anxious about moving to a new house?

Dogs can become anxious during a move due to the unfamiliar environment, changes in routine, and the stress of the moving process.

What causes anxiety in dogs?

There are many potential causes of anxiety in dogs, including:

  1. Separation anxiety
  2. Fear of strangers
  3. Fear of vehicles
  4. Moving to a new house
  5. Medical problems
  6. Fear of other animals, etc.

How can I socialize my anxious dog?

Socializing an anxious dog can be challenging, but it's essential to do so to help them live a happy and fulfilling life. Here are some tips:

  1. Try to expose your dog to only a few new people and situations at a time.
  2. Every time your dog interacts with a new person or situation, be sure to reward them with treats, praise, and petting.
  3. Don't force your dog to interact with anyone or anything they're not comfortable with.
  4. If you're struggling to socialize your anxious dog on your own, consider hiring a certified dog trainer.

How can I tell if my dog is anxious?

Signs of anxiety in dogs may include changes in eating habits, excessive barking, pacing, trembling, panting, or destructive behaviour.

Should I consider medication for my anxious dog?

Medication should be discussed with a veterinarian as a last option if natural techniques and behavioural training methods are not effective in managing your dog's anxiety.

Can regular exercise help reduce dog anxiety?

Yes, daily physical activity can help a dog spend excess energy and reduce anxiety in dogs. A tired dog is often a calmer dog. As a pet owner you can relate to this, as often by being outside or by doing some physical exercise, the attention to mental concerns drops away. Its similar in dogs.

How can I help my dog adjust to the new house?

Slowly introduce your dog to the new environment, one room at a time. Use familiar items like their bed and toys to make them comfortable.