How to help your dog to overcome anxiety this Summer
We all love the summer, long sunny days, warm relaxed evenings, barbecues and picnics, paddling pools and day trips to the beach … but for our canine pals, this time of year can be anxiety-provoking and stress-creating.
Helping your dog have the best summer ever
Children, dogs and holidays
Children and pets usually mix well, but in the summer, when children are off school and underfoot all day, it can sometimes feel to your dog as if they have no quiet place to get away from all the running, shouting and giggling.
You can help your dog enjoy this aspect of summer by giving them a dedicated space to chill out in – literally. If they use a crate, leave it open during the day, with a light cover over it to block the view, and put a cooling mat inside so that they can take a break whenever they want.
You also need to teach the children, including visiting kids, that when your pooch heads for his or her bed, they must respect that choice and don’t go cuddling the dog or trying to entice them to come and play.
Summer food and canine anxiety
We all love barbecues and picnics, al-fresco treats in the garden, ice cream elevenses and leisurely afternoons with Pimms and a packet of crisps. But all this can make a dog very anxious. Why? Because food is a trigger for many canine behaviours and having food around their usual play space can cause a dog to be confused and uncertain about what they are allowed to do, even getting told off for scrounging or sniffing around all that lovely outdoor grub that seems – to them – to be offered at the most tempting height for hungry pups.
If you’re planning to dine outdoors, consider offering your pet a Kong full of their usual dog food, but frozen, which gives them a delicious long-lasting treat while you eat.
Storms, sunshine and dehydration
Summer weather is often gorgeous, but the weather we adore can give our dogs a hard time. Many breeds find summer sun a real problem: white dogs like poodles and West Highland Whites can get sunburn on their ears, paws and noses, while heavy-coated dogs like Alsatians and Huskies, overheat easily and can suffer heatstroke. Dehydration can affect any dog if they don’t have enough shade and cool water, and hot pavements can burn feet and cause immense stress to tired and overheated dogs.
To help your dog have a chilled summer, invest in a cool mat and buy them their own fan, or even an air cooler, to help them remain relaxed. Offer ice cubes regularly to help your dog cool down and don’t take them to the beach or make them traipse long distances in the heat. Instead try walking them earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
Summer storms can clear the air but often terrify dogs – thunder is particularly disturbing to a dog’s sensitive hearing, so if a storm is forecast, consider engaging your dog in their favourite games, playing some calming music loudly enough to distract from the storm and giving your pet a place well inside the house, so they can’t see the lightning and the thunder is muffled.
Trips, travel and your dog
While we might love a summer road trip, dogs can often find them stressful. To give your dog a mellow time:
- plan to take regular breaks along the route, where they can stretch their legs and experience open spaces
- don’t play music too loudly, as it can create anxiety in a sensitive dog who can’t escape the volume
- don’t eat in the car if you can avoid it as food smells can create stress in a dog that feels it’s missing a meal when everybody else is eating.
(You can find a full checklist on travelling with your pet this Summer here!)
Serene-UM: a natural supplement to help your dog stay calm
All these summer situations can be made easier by VetIQ Serene-UM, a natural dietary supplement that can reduce stress, lower tension and give your dog a more relaxed disposition. Serene-UM is veterinarian recommended and, when combined with appropriate training/behaviour redirection, can ensure that your dog has as chilled a summer as you do.
Available in calming drops, calming tablets, or Xtra calming tablets.