While dog anxiety can be caused by different reasons and managed by anti-anxiety medications, it is not advisable to put a dog on such medications for a long period of time. Before resorting to conventional medicines, you may want to try using safer and milder natural alternative treatments as introduced below.
Dogs can suffer from different types of anxiety, such as social anxiety (nervous and anxious around other dogs and/or humans), noise anxiety (afraid of loud or unusual noises, e.g. thunder, fireworks), and separation anxiety (afraid and anxious to be left alone).
While the long-term solution to all these three types of anxiety is proper positive training (desensitization), the training does take time and patience. While your dog is being trained, what can you do during one of his "anxiety attacks"?
Conventional drugs for calming dog anxiety are usually some form of anti-depressants (e.g. Prozac). However, these drugs may cause undesirable side-effects.
Many dog parents have now turned to natural remedies such as herbs, essential oils, and so on to deal with the problem of dog anxiety.
This page looks at how some natural remedies can be used to alleviate and lessen the symptoms of an anxiety attack in dogs. These remedies include the use of herbs, homeopathic remedies, essential oils, and more. Some effective natural remedy products are also recommended. If your dog shows unwanted behaviors brought on by anxiety, read on...
Herbs are excellent in calming nervous dogs suffering from anxiety.
Herbs are mild and non-addictive, and they do not cause drowsiness after use! Even better, some nervous-calming herbs are nutritious tonics, providing additional support to our dogs' nervous system.
There are several nerve-calming herbs that can be used on dogs, and they can also be used in combination for synergistic effects. Below are some herbs that are commonly used to "calm the beast" inside an overly-excited, anxious, stressed or aggressive dog:
This natural herbal formula contains calming herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, and more and is effective in reducing dog anxiety and its accompanying unwanted destructive behaviors. It also contains echinacea to boost the dog's immune system.
Calming essential oils (e.g. Roman chamomile, Lavender, Bergamot) can also be used to calm an anxious dog. For small dogs or those who are too sensitive to essential oils, try using hydrosols. (If you are interested in using essential oils with your dogs, here is a useful eBook for you!)
Homeopathic remedies are also effective in calming nervous dogs with anxiety problems.
For homeopathic remedies, the effect is almost instantaneous; therefore, if your dog suffers from anxiety caused by noise (such as thunder), or if she becomes nervous in a car, keep one or more of the following remedies handy so that you can administer the remedy to your dog before any upcoming stressful event.
Some common remedies include:Borax (Note: this is a homeopathic remedy, NOT the common borax powder used for cleaning)
Dogs needing this remedy are easily startled by sudden noises, such as gunshots. They are also fearful of downward motion. For example, they may panic when you place them on the floor after holding them; or they may have a strong resistance in going down stairs.Chamomilla
This remedy (from chamomile) can be given in low potency to calm a dog suffering from anxiety. Usually, the dog is irritable and restless, and has to be carried all the time - she will whine and become restless the moment she is put down.Passiflora incarnata
This remedy (from passionflower) has calming properties but not a sedative. It is effective in calming frightened animals and is good for travel and other stressful situations.Phosphorus
Dogs needing this remedy can be startled easily. They may generally be sweet and gentle, but in threatening or stressful situations (such as at the vet's), they may become explosive. They fear thunder and lightning and other loud noises.Rhododendron
Dogs that require this remedy are sensitive to stormy weather and are afraid of thunderstorms. The symptoms usually worsen before a storm.
This is a homeopathic formula contains borax, chamomilla, phosphorus, and rhododendron - all effective in calming a nervous dog.
Some natural nutritional supplements can be effective remedies for anxious and hyperactive dogs as well. In particular:
This is a natural product that contains L-theanine, thiamine, decapeptide, and lecithin (which is also calming to the nervous system). Many dog parents have successfully used this composure liquid to calm their dogs with anxiety.
These chews are made with relaxing herbs (chamomile, passion flower, valerian, catnip).
Great for stressed out, nervous, anxious and skittish dogs.
What's more, they are low in fat, and are grain free!