Dog relaxing in sanctuary space

Key takeaway

A sanctuary space filled with your dog’s favorite blankets, toys, and treats is the perfect place for them to feel a sense of calm. Whether they’re distracted by other dogs, overwhelmed by the sounds of a storm, or just want to eat dinner in peace, a sanctuary space is a perfect place to retreat.

How To Create A Sanctuary Space For Your Dogs

There are moments when your dog wants to be constantly cuddled and played with, but then there are also moments when they want to be left alone. With all the hustle and bustle that goes in a house, it can be hard for a dog to find a place where they can go to relax. Which is exactly why it’s so important to create a sanctuary space for your dogs.

A sanctuary space for your dog is a place where they can relax, sleep, and get away from the chaos that’s happening at home. When we’re stressed, we usually go to our rooms to relax. Dogs don’t have a bedroom where they can just close the door to shut out their stress. Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety too, and a great way to help relieve some of their stress is by creating a sanctuary space.

In this blog post, we’ll be going over how to create a sanctuary space for your dogs, the benefits of creating a safe space, and more. Help your pup deal with their stress and anxiety by creating a safe space where they can go to relax. To learn more, continue reading the post or use the links below to jump to a section of your choice.

Find A Comfortable Area In Your Home

1. Find A Comfortable Area In Your Home

First things first: You need to find a comfortable area in your home for your dog to spend time in. If your dog is not comfortable in their safe space, they’re not going to want to spend time in it, which defeats the whole purpose of creating this space for them. So, it’s important to find an area that your dog actually enjoys spending time in.

This area should be:

  • Cool in summer, warm in winter
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable - consider an area where your dog already retreats to
  • Big enough so your dog stretch out to sleep
  • Easily accessible so they can enter and exist freely

Some examples of where this safe space can be are:

  • A corner of your closet with the door open
  • A fort made of blankets or sheets
  • A room without windows so your dog doesn’t get distracted by visual stimuli, especially in the event of storms or firework shows
  • A crate in a quiet corner of your house

While it’s ultimately your dog’s choice whether or not they go into their safe space, you still want it to be a place where they’re comfortable. It might take some time before your dog gets used to this place, so give your dog some space and let them explore it for themselves. But chances are, they’ll be spending all their time there before you know it. 

Stock It With Comforting & Enriching Items

2. Stock It With Comforting & Enriching Items

Your dog’s sanctuary space is where they’ll go when they’re stressed, so it’s important to stock it with comforting and enriching items that will help alleviate some of that anxiety. Some examples of comforting items that you can put in their space:

  • Their favorite blankets or pillows
  • A cozy and supportive dog bed
  • Safe and durable toys that they love
  • Puzzles for mental and physical enrichment, as well as distraction and counterconditioning.

Supply Food And Water

3. Supply Food And Water

It’s crucial to always have water accessible in your dog’s safe space, so you should consider getting a spill-proof water bowl to keep in their area. You may also want to feed your dog in their safe space to create positive association with the area. Mealtime can be stressful for dogs, especially if you have multiple dogs, but having a space where they can go to eat in private can reduce some of that pressure.

Create Barriers From Noise And Other Distractions

4. Create Barriers From Noise And Other Distractions

A dog’s safe space should be quiet and stress-free, and a great way to do that is by creating a barrier from noise and other distractors. You can do this with a white noise machine that will mask any outside noise, or you can play soothing music for them. This is especially helpful for dogs who have noise phobias and need a place where they can go to block out the sounds. 

You should try to set up their safe space away from windows if your dog is easily frustrated by outside distractions. But if you can’t avoid windows in your house, just block them out with a dark blanket or blackout curtains and try to place them in an internal room.

Make Sure It’s Safe And Accessible

5. Make Sure It’s Safe And Accessible

Your dog should be able to enter and exit their sanctuary space as they please, but it also shouldn’t be completely isolated from the rest of the house. If your dog decides to re-join the family, they should be able to get to them easily. 

It’s also important to remove any safety hazards from the area, like toxic plants, plastic food bags, and power cords. Your dog’s safe space will probably be the place that they spend most of their time in when you’re not home, so you want to make sure they can get to it easily.

Benefits Of Creating A Safe Space For Your Dogs

There are many benefits of creating a safe space for your dogs, such as:

  • Alleviates dog anxiety: Whether your dog suffers from separation anxiety or general anxiety, having a safe space where they can go when they’re stressed can be really beneficial. Calming music, a cozy bed, and interactive dog toys can help your dog calm down and de-stress.
  • Give space to go to when there are too many distractions: When there are too many distractions going on, it’s very easy for a dog to get overwhelmed. This can include distractions from people, fireworks, other dogs, or loud noises. So in this case, it would be nice to have a sanctuary space where your dog can escape to if they’re feeling overstimulated. 
  • Establishes comfort, safety, mental enrichment: Having a safe space for your dog establishes comfort, safety, and mental enrichment so they can live happier and healthier lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs need a safe place?

While it’s not necessary to create a safe space for your dog, it’s definitely beneficial. As much as dogs love human interaction, they also need their alone time, and a safe place is a great way to achieve that. A safe space is where your pup can go when they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or if they just want to be alone. Whether or not your dog suffers from anxiety, having a safe space can help them regardless. 

How do I give my dog a safe space for anxiety?

The best way to give your dog a safe space for their anxiety is to just designate a certain area of your home as their space. Wherever in your house this place is, it should be quiet, comfortable, roomy, and easily accessible. You should stock it with plenty of food and water, as well as comforting and enriching items, like toys and blankets. The space should also be removed from any distractions from the outside, like windows and loud noises, which could trigger your dog’s anxiety. 

How do I build a safe space for my dog?

There are many ways you can build a safe space for your dog.  You can give them a corner of your closet and lay down comfortable blankets. You can create a fort for them with blankets that block out the outside world. You can make their crate extra cozy with pillows and comforting blankets. Just make sure you make the area as cozy as possible with lots of blankets, pillows, and toys. 

How do I get my dog to use their safe space?

Bring your dog into the newly made sanctuary space at least twice a day, and give your pooch a high-value food puzzle toy that will last up to 10 minutes. This conditions a positive association with that room; in addition to feeding meals there, you can also plan play sessions to further build their comfort in the space.

Dog resting in their sanctuary space

Final Notes

Anxiety can be super debilitating for your pup, and as their owner, it’s your responsibility to help relieve some of their stress; a great way to do that is with a sanctuary space. Your dog will benefit tremendously from having a safe space where they can go whenever they’re overwhelmed or stressed. It’ll be a place where they find comfort in, and it’ll help them more than you can imagine.

But if your dog suffers from severe anxiety or phobias, having a sanctuary space might not be enough. In this case, you should contact your vet to see if medication is necessary to treat your dog’s anxiety. If you’re noticing serious signs of anxiety in your dog, Dutch.com is a great way to connect with a licensed veterinarian to get help.

Dutch is an online pet telehealth service that connects pet owners to veterinarians who can prescribe them the necessary medication they need. You’ll describe your dog's situation to one of our vets, and if necessary, they’ll prescribe you medication, which will get delivered right to your front door. Dutch is an easy and convenient way to access pet healthcare without having to leave your home. Get started with Dutch today and help your dog become their happy, social selves once again.