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Anxiety in different situations is not uncommon in dogs. Among other methods, acupressure can help calm your dog down in stressful situations. In this article, you will find an acupressure chart suitable for calming down your stressed dog.
Anxiety and Stress in Dogs
Like us humans, dogs get into stressful or scary situations. Some dogs don’t like to be alone and have separation anxiety, others find it stressful to have to take the subway or crawl under the couch on New Year’s Eve. In short: there are enough triggers for anxiety in our dogs.
What to do if your dog is scared?
In general, you should ask yourself whether your dog’s behavior represents “normal” fearful behavior or whether you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder. Also, note that some dogs can be prone to aggressive behavior in stressful situations. The safety of yourself and other people around you should always be your top priority.
If you’re not sure if your dog’s fear is an anxiety disorder, get help. In many cases, dog schools and veterinary practices have trained staff who can help you identify any problems. There, you can also get guidance and professional instructions for treating your dog’s behavior.
Acupressure to calm anxious dogs
Acupressure can be used to relieve “normal” states of anxiety, such as calming down on New Year’s Eve, or to support behavioral therapy. In any case, consider your own safety here, and do not try to treat your dog if it does not like to be touched or if it may even show threatening gestures.
The acupressure points described below have different effects on the body. While one (GV 20) is more suitable for calming down in stressful situations, the other points are suitable for generally boosting self-confidence and calming the mind. In any case, the points should be gently massaged daily over a longer period of time.
Acupressure points for anxiety in Dogs
GV 20 works magic! Many cats even fall asleep by massaging this point. Use this point in stressful situations to calm down your dog.
- GV 20 – Right on the head, just a bit cranial to the bony prominence.
- HT 07 – In the grove outside above the carpal joint.
- PC 06 – On the inside of the front leg above the carpal joint between the tendons.
- ST 36 – just below the knee joint on the cranial aspect of the hind leg.
- KI 03 – in the little grove on the inside of the hock.
Massage Techniques for Acupressure
During acupressure, you will use your hands to be aware of any changes happening in the body. These could either be an existing blockage or the free flow of Qi after removing a blockage by acupressure treatment. Learning to sense what the body is communicating takes practice. You can educate your hands by focusing on the various sensations experienced during these sessions and by learning what the sensations indicate.
- The One-Finger Technique: During this technique, you’ll use the finger pad of your thumb. Place it on the acupressure point and apply gentle pressure to it. Depending on the location, you can gently move your thumb and work a little bit deeper into the tissue. This technique is best used on fleshy, well-muscled body parts or on the limbs of larger dogs.
- The Two-Finger Technique: To perform this technique, place your middle finger over the nail on your pointer finger and apply gentle pressure on your dog’s body surface. Use this technique on smaller dogs or on the legs.
You’ll get better over time!
The meridians and acupoints that will be treated are just under the skin, so you only need to apply gentle pressure. Extreme pressure could cause additional pain. If your dog ever shows signs of discomfort at any point, stop to apply pressure and move on to a different area.
If you are unable to feel changes in your dog’s body at first, that’s ok! It takes time to learn how to feel the sensation of moving Qi and removing blockages through the hands. Simply apply gentle pressure to the acupoint for approximately 30 seconds. If you don’t manage to stay on the point for the full 30 seconds, don’t worry, that’s ok too, it will still work. While performing your acupressure session, look for signs in your dog. Your furry friend will tell you when you’re getting better at what you’re doing.
Recommended Books & Videos
ACU-HORSE: Guide to Equine Acupressure provides you with a step-by-step guide to performing an acupressure session with your horse. Also, this full-color, 230-page equine acupressure book offers tons of charts and photos to help you learn equine acupressure.
ACU-DOG: Guide to Canine Acupressure gives a step-by-step guide to an acupressure session with color photos and charts. It explains how to apply Chinese medicine theories, plus active descriptions and photos of hands-on techniques.