Whether your dog expels nervous energy through barking, destruction, or trembling, anxiety is no fun for anyone involved. Many dogs get nervous and scared, especially around loud, sudden noises (like explosive fireworks, party horns, and clanging pots and pans).
Sometimes, the “acoustic violence” these noises produce can cause long-term trauma for pups. Remember, dogs hear sound on a range of frequencies much larger than what humans detect, and their sensitive hearing picks up sound from far away. That means those pinprick popping fireworks are actually booming, and the talk and laughter of your party guests is really quite stressful.
There are many products out there that can help your pup feel more relaxed (like a ThunderShirt—the snug fit has a calming effect similar to swaddling a baby), but you might already have a way to create an anxiety wrap in your home right this second: a scarf.
How Does It Work?
Ideally, you want to use this anxiety wrap on your dog before you expect them to experience anxiety (like during a thunderstorm or car ride) to allow the calming effects to “kick in” a little bit in advance.
Find a scarf (or similar stretchy length of fabric) long or short enough to suit your dog’s size. A little trial and error may be in order.
Place the center of the scarf across the front of your dog’s chest, and bring the ends up over their shoulders.
Cross those ends over their back, bring below the chest, and cross again before bringing back up near the hips, tying in a secure knot away from the spine. Congrats, you made an anxiety wrap!
The scarf should be snug, but not constricting. The slight pressure around the body (like a constant hug!) is meant to deliver a calming effect, or at least take the nervous edge off in high-stress situations. This anxiety wrap option is on hand in a pinch, and could save your pup from unnecessary discomfort.
More Ways To Help Relieve Anxiety In Dogs
1. Take your dog on a good, long walk to shed some anxious energy.
2. Consider asking your neighbors to skip the firecrackers (or at least do it away from your house).
3. Before an stress-inducing event, make sure your dog has eaten and always has access to plenty of water.
4. Set up a “safe spot” a quiet room. Place your dog’s bed inside, or a blanket and a few toys. Don’t be concerned if your pup needs to escape the ruckus—that safe spot is the best place for them.
5. In the safe room especially, but preferably all over the house, shut the curtains and try playing some calming music to produce the most relaxed environment possible. If you have a fan available, turn it on low to mask any loud noises.
Every dog is different, but remember: a confident, calm human combined with positive reinforcement methods goes a long way. Your dog looks to you when they’re unsure, so conveying reassurance is the first step to helping them overcome their fears.