How to Comfort Your Dog When They Are Anxious and Fearful

How to Make Your Dog Feel Safe and Secure

Dogs experience emotion like no other animal. It’s heart-wrenching to see your furry companion looking anxious, nervous, or scared. You may notice some common red flags that all is not well with your pup, such as tearing up their beds, not eating, or hiding in the closet.

If you are noticing any of these signs with your pup, you may be wondering, “How can I comfort my dog?

Let’s run through some of the reasons why your pet might be afraid and what to do when your dog is scared.

Why Your Dog May Feel Afraid

Knowing how to make your dog feel safe starts by understanding your pet’s stress signals and what could be causing them issues in the first place.

Some of the signs you might miss of a stressed doggy include:

  • Repeated yawning
  • Shaking
  • Ears back, head down
  • Hiding in a dark, enclosed location

Every dog is different, and figuring out how to comfort a dog starts with understanding the cause of their fears.

For example, some shelter dogs may have been abuse victims and certain behaviors may bring up their trauma. Dogs are just like us because they remember the terrible things that happened to them. You must be mindful of this if you have a rescue dog who went through trauma when they were puppies.

Other common triggers for fear include loud noises, unfamiliar scents, other animals, and even diagnosed medical issues.

You know your dog, so if you don’t know how to calm a scared dog down, begin with what could have caused their trauma in the first place.

How to Make Your Dog Feel Safe

The first step when deciding how to comfort your dog is to let them lead the way. If they run from you when they’re scared, welcome them with open arms. Don’t turn them away. They’re looking for the comfort of their pet parents.

Likewise, if they’re currently hiding under your bed, don’t rush to coax them out either. Some dogs need that “safe” space to help them come to terms with what’s going on.

When your dog is ready, follow these tips for how to comfort a scared dog.

Distraction

Even humans going through trauma can overcome it by staying busy. Techniques like this are the art of distraction.

Consider how to distract your dog. Think about what they love the most. If they’re in love with playing fetch, get a favorite toy and play with them. If they go crazy for a specific treat from your pantry, make an offering.

Dogs often have one-track minds, so distracting them isn’t as difficult as you think. Keep them distracted until the fear has passed.

Scent Therapy

Dogs love to snuffle. Use their powerful scents to calm them down. Aromatherapy sprays and pheromone diffusers are highly effective for calming a scared dog down.

Make sure you speak to your vet for suggestions regarding the best scents to use. Some scents can be hazardous or distressing to dogs. Your four-legged friend has a far more sensitive nose than you. If an odor smells like it has mild undertones in the air, your dog is being completely overpowered by that same scent.

Physical Contact

Wondering, “What’s one of the best options for how to make my dog feel safe?”

If you’re trying to figure out how to make a dog more comfortable, good old physical contact is the perfect way to do it. Pet your dog, sit beside their dog bed and let them play off your calming presence. Just make sure you’re also calm and positive.

Sometimes your dog won’t want to be touched, but they still want to be around you. Even your close proximity can help your pet feel better about what’s distressing them.

Only initiate physical contact if your dog comes to you. Don’t chase them around trying to cuddle them!

Exercise

Dogs are similar to humans because exercise helps fears and anxieties melt away. If your doggy is acting out or pacing, the chances are they’ve got a lot of pent-up energy they need to get rid of. It may be time for some outdoor sun bathing on an Outdoor Dog Bed and some pool time.

Add an extra walk to their daily routines or pencil in some extra playtime to keep them calm. Nervous energy is a problem that afflicts many dogs, especially if their parents have a busy schedule.

Give Them a Quiet Space

On the other hand, some dogs find themselves over-stimulated, so the answer is to give them some time to relax.

One of the easiest ways to figure out how to comfort a scared dog is to give them a quiet room or a luxury dog bed to lower anxiety and calm down in. Animals Matter recommends the donut style dog beds, with the surrounding bolsters, such as the Katie Puff Luxury Dog Bed. If your dog has a favorite hiding place, an Ali Jewel Blanket or a Cozy Water Proof Blanket and their favorite toys and give them as much time as they need to relax.

Act Positively

Dogs have a high level of emotional intelligence. In other words, they can tell how their owners feel at all times. There’s a reason why your dog runs to cuddle with you when you’re feeling sad. It works both ways.

Whenever you see that your dog is feeling scared, put on the positivity. Show outwardly that there’s nothing to be afraid of, and they’re in a safe place.

Try Music Therapy

Music therapy has proven beneficial for canines and humans. The power of music creates a calming effect that helps dogs to relax.

It’s especially effective for dogs that are scared by loud noises, as it can help to tune it out. Classical music is considered the most effective. It acts as a natural sedative. Playing some harp music can be especially calming for your dog.

Of course, every dog is different. Try some different music pieces to see what works best. Every dog will have “their song.”

Conclusion

Working out how to make your dog feel safe is a problem every pet parent has to solve at some point. Try a combination of techniques to reduce your dog’s stress.

Remember, let your dog lead the situation. Don’t put them under pressure when they’re nervous or scared. Adapt to how they’re behaving.

Give your dog the luxury experience they deserve with a deluxe dog bed.

Also in Pet Education

Dog walking up the Mini Companion Stairs to rest on a blue chair

7 Signs It's Time to Get Your Dog a Set of Dog Stairs for the Furniture

Dogs may love jumping, but it’s not always best for their health. Here are 7 signs it's time to get some dog stairs.
Read More
Dog in the tub with owner and Animals Matter soap bar

The Ultimate Guide to DIY Dog Grooming

How often should you groom your furry friend? Here’s everything you need to know about DIY pet grooming.
Read More
anxious dog staring at owner

6 Ways to Effectively Reduce Dog Anxiety

Like humans, dogs can suffer from anxiety which can be expressed in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways you can help your pup deal with anxious feelings.
Read More