How Do You Calm Down a Scared Dog?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - 6:43pm
How Do You Calm Down a Scared Dog?
This post was written with the expertise of Magnolia Springs Veterinary Center, a Racine veterinary clinic.

When a dog gets scared, it’s hard to know what to do. You can’t reason with them. They may not understand that they’re not in danger. It’s important to know how to handle this. It will help your dog be less stressed and help them to feel better. This will make things easier on you too!

What Commonly Scares Dogs?

Every dog is different. Not every dog is going to be afraid of the same things, but there are a few common situations that can scare a dog. Here are some things that can cause a dog to become scared:

  • Loud noises, like thunder or fireworks
  • Separation anxiety
  • Specific objects
  • Other dogs or pets
  • New or confusing situations
  • Going to the veterinarian or groomer
  • Riding in the car
  • Strangers
  • Men
  • Children

Your dog might be scared of something else though. Try to identify these fears as best as you can. This can help you come up with solutions.

What Causes Phobias in Dogs?

According to The Spruce Pets, dogs can have phobias just like humans do. They may be rooted in genetics, or they could be due to a bad experience. For example, your dog might have been harmed by a larger dog and now fears all big dogs.

If your dog was not socialized from the time he or she was a puppy, they may be even more scared of other dogs and people. It’s important to socialize dogs so that they develop properly. The other causes aren’t always preventable though.

Signs a Dog is Scared

To help your dog, you need to know whether he or she is scared. Some can show this by seeming aggressive. Others may run away. According to WikiHow, body language is an important clue to your dog’s feelings. Look for these signs:

  • Ears down or backward
  • Whining
  • Shaking
  • Tucked tail
  • Diarrhea or urinating indoors
  • Licking or biting himself/herself
  • Escape behavior

To figure out why your dog is scared, look for patterns. Try to identify when your dog acts this way so that you can help him or her to deal with it. You might want to keep a log of when your dog exhibits these behaviors. This can be helpful to show the veterinarian.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Being Scared?

Prevention can help so that your dog doesn’t have a chance to be scared. Try stopping the cause of his or her fear, if possible.

First, you can use a pheromone spray or diffuser. This naturally keeps your dog calm. You can also train your dog. Focus on positive redirections away from what is scraring them and reinforce those. You may be able to keep your dog away from some scary situations. If your dog doesn’t like crowds, ease him or her into them. Don’t force your dog to go to a social outing every week.

Ways to Calm Down a Scared Dog

Keep in mind that all dogs are unique. What works for one may not work for all them. You may need to try a few techniques before finding what your dog responds to.

  • Hide the source: If your dog is afraid of a loud noise, close the blinds. Play some calming music to cover up the sound.
  • Distract your dog: Try playing with your dog. Take him or her for a walk. Offer him or her a bone. Your dog will associate some of their fears with something positive.
  • Pet or cuddle your dog: This can help your dog to relax.
  • Play soft or classical music: This is a great way to keep your dog calm. Some people even play music for their dog when they’re away.
  • Crate your dog: Some dogs enjoy being in their crate. They find it comforting and safe.

While you do need to take action, be careful. You don’t want your dog to feel as if he or she is being rewarded for being fearful. Judge the situation and try to make a good decision. It can depend on the dog and the problem at hand.

According to Purina, dogs are counting on their owners to comfort them. This is your job as a dog owner, so it’s important to be there to help your dog.

What Else Can You Do?

If you notice that your dog has a fear, you should talk to your veterinarian. They may be able to offer extra support or advice. They can also help you watch for any changes in your dog’s behavior.

Some dogs may need to be medicated for their fears. You can discuss this with your vet and come up with the best solution. There are also training classes available for dogs who have fears, which can be helpful. Socializing your dog can be effective. What’s most important is that your veterinarian is aware and is helping you to keep your dog healthy.


Try not to let your dog be scared for too long. They need to be comforted. Figure out what works for your dog and implement those routines. This will help your dog live a happy and healthy life! Plus, you won’t have to worry about your dog so much!

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