Namaste: Remedies for canine anxiety

If your dog is dealing with anxiety or phobias, natural remedies for canine anxiety is a good place to start. Keep your dog healthy with these proven techniques.


Katie Abendroth

1/5/20245 min read

dog lying on bed
dog lying on bed

Top Tips to Reduce Canine Anxiety

Dogs are bred to be companions and protectors since they are social creatures. So if your dog is dealing with nervousness or phobias, natural remedies for canine anxiety is a good place to start.

Canine anxiety can impact your whole household. It is upsetting to watch your pet struggle with anxiety, particularly if you have experienced these emotions yourself.

Anxious dogs can also be reactive or destructive, putting themselves and others in danger. A great example of destructive anxiety occurs in Marley & Me (Grogan, 2005), when Marley destroyed walls, sofas, and doors in his panic over bad weather.

Whether it’s separation anxiety, phobias, or general anxiety, keep reading for additional ideas to support your pup. In this guide, we’ll explore natural tips to discover natural remedies for canine anxiety that work.

What is Canine Anxiety?

Before we roll out natural remedies, let’s take a moment to understand canine anxiety. Dogs, much like humans, can experience a range of emotions.

Negative emotions like fear, stress, and anxiety can have lots of triggers.

Common triggers include loud noises, separation from humans, or changes in routine. Obviously dogs cannot tell us their fear in words.

One of our dachshunds was so scared of thunderstorms, he would hide, shaking, under a pile of laundry in the closet, until the storm passed. So watch their body language for signs of fear.

For dogs, anxiety looks like excessive barking, trembling, pacing, or destructive chewing.

Each dog has it’s own personality and some breeds are more prone to anxiety than others. Our shih tzu gets anxious if left alone for too long, and he barks nervously whenever I leave the house.

Natural Remedies for Canine Anxiety

For canine anxiety, a natural approach is helpful because of the focus on mind, body, and spirit. Natural remedies can be a gentle way to promote relaxation for your dog’s peace of mind. Below are options you can try.

These are great options before resorting to medication. Remember that what works for one dog may not work for another, so be patient as you try these different techniques.

Herbal Supplements

Chamomile: This is a safe option in small doses for helping your puppy relax. Just like humans, dogs can benefit from the soothing effects of chamomile. Be careful not to give you dog too much, however, as it can cause stomach upset. This guide can help.

Valerian Root: This herb has mild calming properties, allowing your dog to settle down enough to rest. This is a great option on holidays where there are visitors or fireworks that may stress your dog.


Massage can calm your dog. This video by DogWorx has a great demonstration of massage techniques for your pup with pro tips explained.

Each pet is different, so watch your dog’s body language closely. Try out different pressure points behind their ears, along their back, or massaging their legs to see what helps them relax.

Do not put your face right in front of your dog’s face when they are stressed or anxious. This can lead to unexpected snapping or biting, even in dogs who have never shown aggression.


Essential oils can be diffused in your home to create a calming environment for everyone. Lavender is a popular choice. It is so relaxing and refreshing.


Thundershirts are snug-fitting garments that provide gentle pressure to your dog’s body, like a weighted blanket. My sister used thundershirts with her chihuahua mix and had good success.

They are less expensive than other options, but still provide comforting weight.

Behavior Training

Positive reinforcement training techniques can help desensitize your dog to anxiety triggers and teach them coping mechanisms for dealing with stressful situations.

One dog I had was terrified of baths and showers, so I spread peanut butter over a textured lick mat, and placed it in the shower. As he walked in focused on the peanut butter, I slowly added small amounts of water until he was comfortable with the shower running.

Stay calm yourself. My dog is very reactive to my emotions, so if I jump or startle, so does he. Communicating calm vibes on walks and around others lets your dog know they are safe and you are in control.

Crate Training

Crate training is essential for nervous dogs. As den and pack animals, kennels offer a secure place to retreat and recharge. Keep the crate cozy and clean, and do not kennel your dog more than a few hours at a time.

Start when they are young and use lots of treats and positive reinforcement so they enjoy their space.

If kennels are new for your dog, a “treat fairy” approach can work well.

Here you leave the kennel open but randomly sprinkle treats for them to find, making a positive association with their crate. It is not cruel to kennel your dog and can be the safest option if they are anxious.

Remedies for Canine Anxiety Checklist

To ensure a balanced approach to managing your pup’s anxiety, consider their mind, body, and spirit: Here are a few areas to consider or discuss with your vet or dog trainer:

  • What are the triggers?

    What causes your dog’s anxiety? If you cannot control them (e.g., fireworks or leaving the house), what factors can be controlled to make their home more comfortable?

  • Where is their Safe Space?

    Dogs are creatures of habit and like having a safe “den” to retreat to. Crate train them from an early age, where they can stay safe and cozy. A crate should be big enough to allow your dog to stand up and turn around. However, a full room such as a bathroom or laundry room, is not relaxing because dogs still feel exposed.

  • Breeds who were bred to hunt or herd may need a tremendous amount of exercise. If they are destructive when left alone due to boredom, look into doggy daycare options where they can burn energy all day.

  • How Healthy is their Diet? Feed your dog a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support their overall health and well-being. Try a fresh food diet, or select a high quality kibble that has meat as the first ingredient.

  • Rely on Routines: Your dog wants and needs routine. If your schedule varies, you can still set daily patterns like walking them after you feed them, or sitting with them in the same spot each morning while you drink coffee, to provide structure.

When to Consult Your Vet

Natural remedies for canine anxiety can be incredibly effective for mild to moderate concerns. Talk to your vet if you encounter any of the following:

  • Your dog’s anxiety persists or worsens despite trying various natural remedies.

  • They exhibit reactivity or aggression that puts themselves or others in danger.

  • You wonder if underlying medical issues are increasing your dog’s anxiety.

  • Your pet has dementia or age-related health concerns.


Managing canine anxiety with natural remedies is a great starting point for supporting your pet’s emotional well-being. By incorporating herbal supplements, aromatherapy, crate and behavior training into your dog’s routine, you can help them find their zen.

As pet-centric parents, exploring natural remedies for canine anxiety is a gift of love, patience, and support for your dog’s well-being. It can make your life a lot easier, too because a healthy dog is a happy dog!