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Most of us think our dogs lead a pretty relaxing life and don’t get stressed out much… unless there’s a thunderstorm. But veterinarian Dr. Nancy Dreschel says 20% of dogs are actually chronically anxious. And it’s just as unhealthy for dogs as for humans. So, here are a couple ways to help your dog relax:
•Be careful with strangers. Dr. Dreschel says many dogs aren’t properly socialized as puppies. Which means they see every stranger as the bogeyman. So, when you introduce your dog to someone new, take it slowly… And create positive associations by doing meet-and-greets with treats.
•De-stress your pet: Give them plenty of exercise. Dr. Dreschel says dogs need at least 30-minutes of exercise a day to burn off stress hormones… And larger dogs may need more. She also recommends sticking to a schedule, if at all possible… Because dogs relax when they can count on a routine.
•Finally: Find a way to make your dog feel at ease when you’re away from home. According to the Animal Behavior Department at Tufts University, 1-in-5 dogs suffer from separation anxiety. But the solution depends on your pet – and your situation. For example, some dogs do well with treat puzzles and toys that keep them from getting bored. Other dogs feel more relaxed if you leave music playing. But Dr. Dreschel says a big mistake some owners make is ignoring their dog when they’re home. Dogs are such social animals that being ignored by their owner can make them feel terribly anxious.