Creating a Calming Routine for Your Pet
Through the chaos of the last few years, I’ve seen more and more pets struggling with issues like separation anxiety, noise aversion, and reactivity. So many pet parents (including myself) have a hard time finding solutions and support to help their pets face these challenges so I wanted to share a few pointers that have helped the animals in my life.
With the 4th of July just around the corner, it is important to establish a successful calming routine for your pet so that it is as low stress as possible for them on the big day.
Choosing the Right Calming Supplement
Just like us, every pet has unique needs and tendencies, so it is important to find a calming routine and supplement that works best for them given their situation.
For some pets, tossing them a simple chew a few times a day is the best option, especially for pet parents who are constantly on the go. For those of us with picky pets, adding oil to their routine is a discreet and effective option.
There’s also the option to combine a couple different products so you can tailor things to fit your pet and your household. I have two very large, very crazy dogs, so my go to calming routine is using a botanical powder like our No More Wiggles Meal Topper alongside one of our High potency oils for some extra calming kick.
Building a Routine & Using CBD Over Time
While adaptogens and botanicals like CBD, Ashwagandha, and passionflower can provide some immediate relief for nervous nellies, they work best over time when being used consistently.
So finding a routine that is easy for you and your pet is essential to helping bring your pets nervous system back to balance. Pets who have been constant worrywarts tend to have excess amounts of cortisol (stress hormone) in their system and it can take a bit of time to help those levels even out.
By using CBD every day, you will get your pet acclimated and have a better idea what may need to change in order for it to be most effective. For example - with the 4th of July approaching, experimenting with increasing CBD now instead of a couple of days before is the smart to know what works best for them!
Adding Physical (and Mental) Activity into Your Daily Routine
Another important part of helping our nervous pets relax is adding in some mental and physical exercise. I know for myself, taking a walk or reading a good book always makes me feel a bit better when I’m stressed. The same principle applies to pets, finding a consistent exercise routine for your pet can be so helpful, you don’t need to run a marathon with them but setting aside a little bit of time everyday to get them moving and thinking can make a big difference.
Too Tired To Be Scared
The day before or the morning of a stressful event (such as a firework show) is an excellent time to get them out for a long walk or play so they will tire out and relax.
For kitties, I suggest setting aside some time to play with them everyday before dinner, this gives them a chance to “hunt” before they have their meal. Our feline friends can be quite particular so try out lots of different toys to see what gets them moving.
With most pups I recommend at least one unstructured walk per day where they can sniff to their heart's content, allowing them to sniff adds a great mental aspect to the walk.
Hide & Seek
For both cats and dogs (and rabbits, horses, and even birds) a favorite activity for adding some additional mental push ups is hide and seek, you can do this with favorite toys, treats, even with other family members! For my own pups, I close the bedroom door for a few minutes so they don’t see where I’m hiding their goodies and hide some of their favorite treats around the house for them to find.
Calming Music and Environment for Stressful Occasions
Another important aspect to a calming routine is creating a safe space for your pet… somewhere calm and cozy for them to hang out when they’re nervous or overwhelmed.
Designate a room in the house for your pet to relax in, with their favorite bed or blanket ready for them to relax in. My nervous pup loves relaxing in her fuzzy calming bed with some music or tv on in the background to distract from any scary noises outside.
Our springer Bailey (of the No More Wiggles range) always does better when we put on some background music (such as Absolute Radio or rain sounds) that blocks out some of the outside noise and creates his own calming environment.
Treat Dispensing Tools and Lickmats
Lastly, we want to mention some tools that can be really useful to occupy and distract pets in times of stress. Treat dispensers distract them from stressful situations and keep them curious while lickmats give them something to preoccupy themselves with and enjoy while the chaos occurs.
I recommend getting a variety of treat dispensing toys (the westpaw toppl is a favorite in my house) or lickimats for your pet, licking is a calming behavior for cats and dogs which is why we often see nervous nellies that over-groom.
Lickimats and toys that you can add food to give them a healthy outlet for this calming behavior and are especially helpful on days that you might not have as much time to exercise with your pet.
Putting It All Together...
There are a LOT of different ways you can support your pet and help them get to a calmer state of mind. And, of course, what works best will depend on your pet's personality. Have fun with your pet trying different strategies and creating a routine that's truly customized for them.
Example Routine for Nervous Pups:
🐾 Afternoon: Hide and seek or a frozen lickimat, give a wiggles chew for some extra calming support throughout the day.
On extra scary days, where your expecting triggers in the evenings it’s important to make sure they’ve got plenty of CBD and botanicals in their system leading up to the trigger so I’d continue adding a chew here and there throughout the day.