Does your pup run and hide every time a thunderstorm sweeps through? Or maybe your four-legged friend cowers in fear every time the doorbell rings. Anxiety is a common struggle for many pets, not just people! Fortunately, there's a great, natural way to help your family's beloved pet find a bit more calm. Did you know that weighted blankets are an awesome option for pets? Here's what you need to know about this awesome therapeutic helper:
How a Pet Anxiety Blanket Works
Just like it does with people, a pet anxiety blanket offers Deep Pressure Stimulation, or Deep Touch Therapy, to help provide a long-lasting feeling of calm. A weighted blanket is a blanket that has a certain level of weight — typically ranging anywhere from 5 lbs to 30 lbs in 5 lb increments — evenly distributed across the entire blanket. The weight is generally provided by small plastic or glass beads that are contained within quilted segments to ensure that the weight stays even across the whole blanket. The gentle but firm pressure mimics the feeling of a good hug or of being swaddled. This sensation, called Deep Pressure Stimulation, triggers calming feelings on a subconscious level as well as a conscious one, which helps the part of the nervous system responsible for relaxed functions jump in and take control of the body. Basically, the therapeutic benefits of a calming weighted blanket bring a feeling of calm that sinks down into your core, so it generally lasts longer.
Those same benefits also apply to pets, as far as we can tell. So, where a weighted therapy blanket calms a person's nervous system and brings feelings of relaxation to the forefront, it can likewise help provide that deeply rooted sense of calm to your four-legged friend. A pet anxiety blanket can help lower an animal's physiological feelings of stress and anxiety through that "swaddled" feeling. Through ongoing use, a weighted blanket can lower the feelings of anxiety enough that your pet may not freak out during the next storm. Or, even if a pet anxiety blanket doesn't provide perfect calm, it can still give your pet a way of self-soothing so they don't feel as anxious — which can cut down on anxiety-induced behaviors like peeing indoors, hiding, or destroying furniture.
When Pets Need A Weighted Blanket
Anxiety and stress can manifest in different ways in dogs, and some are more obvious than others. For example, it's pretty easy to see that your dog is stressed out when they choose to go and hide somewhere. However, destructive behavior like constant chewing can also be a good indicator that your pet is stressed. You may also notice your doggo trying to isolate themselves (even away from the family), grow increasingly lethargic, or eat less. Basically, a lot of the signs of stress in people carry over and are also signs of stress in animals. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it's worth having them checked by your veterinarian, but they may need some help calming down — which is where a pet anxiety blanket comes in.
Using A Pet Anxiety Blanket
After getting a weighted therapy blanket for your pet, the common instinct is to wrap them up in it. Unless you routinely swaddle your dog, don’t try to wrap them in the weighted blanket. This may make your pet feel trapped, which will hinder the calming effects. Instead, simply cover them with the blanket. The weight is evenly distributed so they will experience the benefits, and not being swaddled generally helps them feel more comfortable because they aren’t restrained.
It may take a couple of tries to help your pet get used to using a pet anxiety blanket. Once they are comfortable and familiar with the blanket when you’re around, you can start leaving it in an easily accessible spot so your pup can wriggle under the blanket on their own and self-soothe whenever they feel the need. Since dogs can learn to use the blanket without help, it’s a great option for soothing anxiety when no one is home — including separation anxiety.
Find Your Pet Anxiety Blanket
The ideal blanket should be roughly 10% to 20% of your pet’s weight, so a weighted blanket may be too heavy for small, lightweight dogs. Explore options for pet weighted blankets online with Density Comfort and find the right fit for your four-legged friend today!