5 Best Tips to Calm Your Stressed Dog

• 3 min read

best calming treats for dogs

There's nothing tougher than coming home after a long day's work to find your house in shambles because your pup is struggling with separation.

Not only is the cleanup a nightmare, but it's also sad to see that our canine companion can't handle being away from us for very long. So, what's a pet parent to do?

To help your dog deal with their "me-time" better (and even enjoy it), here are five tips to help soothe your pup's separation troubles.

1. Exercise Your Dog

One of the best ways to reduce separation anxiety is to dedicate 30 minutes to give your dog some exercise. By doing so, you’ll not only keep them physically fit, but you’ll also tire them out and work up their appetite. Then, when it’s time to leave, your dog will be more concerned about food and napping than where you’re going.

In other words, this helps your pup associate their time alone as an opportunity to rest, relax, and feast like royalty.

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2. Change How You Leave

Your dog knows you like the back of their paw. Whether it’s from your work uniform, your morning alarm, or the jingling of your keys, you’re getting that sad “I know you’re leaving” face for a reason. So, why not try tweaking some of your habits?

For example, instead of grabbing your keys and bee-lining for the door, take your keys and go sit on the couch for a few minutes. This, along with other small changes to your patterns can break negative associations that cause dread from your loving (and highly observant) canine companion.

3. Don't Make Leaving a Big Deal

It’s not uncommon to feel guilty when your dog knows you’re leaving soon. But, that can lead to sorrowful goodbye ceremonies with apologies, kisses, and consoling – all while using your sad “I’m so sowwy” voice. Oh, you know the voice we're talking about!

Thing is, this can actually perpetuate separation anxiety by conditioning dogs to associate your departure as a sad experience. So instead, say goodbye with cheerful energy, a big smile, and even a belly rub to leave on a higher note!

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4. Practice Separation During Off-Days

There’s nothing like enjoying a hard-earned day off with your dog by your side. But, try to take advantage of that time with some periodic separation training.

Start by spending 10-20 minutes in another room with the door closed to help your dog become more comfortable with space apart. Next, practice walking in and out of the front door for a few minutes, while gradually increasing the intervals so that leaving and returning will become more ordinary and manageable for your pup.

5. Bring Home a New Furry Friend

If you’ve ever taken Fido to a dog park, or let them play with a friend’s dog, you probably saw a different (and fun) side of your pup. So, when it comes to their separation anxiety, bringing home another dog can help yours feel a lot happier when you’re out for work, shopping, or a fun night out. Whether you go with a breeder or the adoption route, we're sure your doggy would love having a new brother or sister to keep them company while you’re away.

We hope these tips will come in handy for pet parents that want to help their dogs overcome separation anxiety, but there are plenty of other great methods that are worth trying as well. Just be sure to consult a veterinarian for more information about your pet's specific temperament.

If you have any comments, tips of your own, or questions about our calming supplements, tell us below! You can also reach out to us at (800)-940-1972 or bark@zestypaws.com.


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  • Linda

    I just acquired a new YORKIE. She is six years old and weighs six lbs. I have a 14 year old rescue who suffers from separation anxiety. I’ve been leaving her with a friend when I have to travel or go to work. I’m anxious to see if having this new friend will calm her.

  • Zesty Paws

    Hello, Linda! What an amazing thing you have done for your 14-year-old rescue. Almost all breeds of pets, like most humans, are very social creatures and can be comforted by having a friend to spend time with while their human companions are gone. We hope that your pups learn to love each other and your Yorkie can help the older pup with their anxiety. We might have a few other suggestions as well if you want to reach out to us directly!

  • Dayna

    I have a 9 month old male Australian shepard who is deaf, and a 7 yr old female ausie, and a 4 yr old male aussie. Im looking for some tips for my puppy Shadow, who is deaf, that has some challenges.
    Thank you for any advice.

  • Zesty Paws

    Thank you so much for checking out our blog and your three Australian Shepherds sound so precious. Our number one priority is and always will be your sweet pups’ health so maybe to help with any specific challenges for Shadow, you could try training him/her with treats. Positive Reinforcement may help the puppy understand some basic commands. We do have Freeze Dried Chicken Treats and/or Freeze Dried Salmon Treats that your pup may enjoy for his “reward.” :) We have a variety of supplements to target different areas so we would love for you to contact us directly so that we can learn more about your four-legged-friends. :)

  • gary

    I have 2 dogs a shiatsu that’s still a puppy in spirit maybe 5-+ in age and very attached to me .. then the biggest problem is my black pug 10 + with arthritis in his hip and we’ve been giving rymadal for for it. My pug must have severe allergies because he licks his paws 24/7. I’ve tried Benadryl at night so he’d settle down and sleep but this constant licking is crazy. He licks the top of his paws while the shiatsu will lick the pads of her feet but not as bad as the pug. Looking for ideas.

  • Zesty Paws

    Thank you so much for reaching out to us, Gary, with your concerns about your fur-babies. To touch on your sweet doggo’s anxiety, I recommend trying our Calming bites! They come in two yummy flavors, Turkey and Peanut Butter! We even have an Advanced formula of Calming Bites featured with Melatonin flavored in Turkey. We’re so sorry to hear about your pup having arthritis. Luckily our products are designed to be taken in conjunction with other regimens including our own products. This means your pup can continue to benefit from his current medication while potentially taking our Senior Advanced Mobility Bites. These are wonderful for older pups for mobility support. While our products are not meant to treat or cure anything, these may really help. We always advise speaking to your vet before starting your pup on any new supplements! Lastly, Gary, seasonal allergies can be so ruff! As a brand, we carry Hemp Allergy Immune Bites and our traditional Allergy Immune Bites. Our traditional Allergy Immune Bites come in two yummy flavors, Peanut Butter and Lamb and our Hemp Allergy Immune Bites come in Cheese flavor! We hope this helps guide you while shopping for our products for your pupper’s specific needs! We wish you and your doggo’s nothing but the best on their health journey and I encourage you to reach out to us directly if you have further questions!

  • Vanessa Williams

    Long time customer and I’m disappointed. This makes it so normal “to go with a breeder”: Whether you go with a breeder or the adoption route, we’re sure your doggy would love having a new brother or sister to keep them company while you’re away. So many inhumane puppy mills on the one hand, and then so many thousands being put down in shelters. How can you encourage this?!?!

  • Zesty Paws

    Thank you so much for checking out our blog post and for your feedback, Vanessa! I also want to let you know that we sincerely value your loyalty to our brand. While we always prefer adoption, we do know of a great number of breeders who go the extra mile to take care of our furry friends. I encourage you to reach out to us directly so that we can help answer any questions you may have! :)