Anxiety is not fun to live with. From a human perspective, it can be very debilitating. Dogs get anxiety just like we do. It could be due to thunderstorms, separation, travel stress or even just from a new situation but all of these can lead to panic attacks, excessive barking, crying, howling, biting, scratching and destruction. Dogs with anxiety issues can be very unpredictable and have the same fight or flight instinct.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs:
- tail tucking
- reduced activity
- escape behaviors
- injurious motor activity
- biting themselves or others
Causes of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs
- Any illness or painful physical condition increases anxiety and contributes to the development of fears, phobias, and anxieties.
- Aging changes associated with nervous system changes; infectious disease (primarily viral infections in the central nervous system), and toxic conditions, such as lead poisoning, may lead to behavioral problems, including fears, phobias, and anxieties.
- Fear from a terrible experience or forced into an unfamiliar area.
- Dogs that are deprived of social and environmental exposure at a young age may become habitually fearful.
- Phobias and panic may have a history of inability to escape or get away from the stimulus causing the phobia and panic, such as being locked in crate.
- Separation anxiety: history of abandonment, multiple owners, rehoming, or prior neglect is common; exacerbating the condition may be that the dog has been often abandoned or rehomed because of separation anxiety.
Herbs That Can Help Anxiety in Dogs
- Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis)
Traditionally used to calm all kinds of nervous disorders. Used primarily as a sedative to relieve sleep disorders, anxiety, nervousness or exhaustion.
- Horsetail grass (Equisetum arvense)
Improves general circulation allowing the body to function better. This herb has an accelerating and invigorating effect on the body.
- Black Cohosh root (Actaea racemosa)
This herb is an excellent nerve tonic working directly on the nervous system to calm nerves.
- Hops strobile (Humulus lupulus)
Hops help to produce a non-drug induced sleep. It calms nerves and relaxes excited cerebral conditions.
- Lobelia aerial parts (Lobelia inflata)
Lobelia is the strongest relaxant herb in the plant kingdom.
- Skullcap aerial parts (Scutellaria lateriflora)
This herb calms the nervous system without narcotic properties. It is slow working but very effective.
- Wood Betony aerial parts (Stachys officinalis)
A hypotensive herb which relaxes nervous tension. Wood Betony also opens up constricted blood vessels improving circulation to nervous system.
- Mistletoe branches (Viscum album)
Mistletoe works to quiet, soothe and tone the nerves. It calms cerebral excitement.
- Pulsatilla root (Anemone pulsatilla)
Traditionally used as a sedative, analgesic and relaxant.
- Motherwort aerial parts (Leonurus cardiaca)
This herb has carminative and antispasmodic properties.
Ok, that’s fine but how do I get my pet to take those herbs?
Now that you know how these herbs can help your pet, you may be left wondering how to get your pet to take them! At NaturPet we prefer to extract nature’s medicines into liquid herbal extracts because they offer benefits that pills can’t, and because they are easy to administer to your pets.
When you ingest a liquid herbal extract, it is quickly and easily absorbed, digested and utilized by the body. The minute the liquid extract touches your tongue it is instantly absorbed into the blood stream; the body goes to work right away to utilize the action of the herbs. That might scare you that NaturPet uses alcohol but the amount of alcohol left in the extract is less than you would get in one banana, so it is 100% safe and effective!
Benefits of Using Liquid Herbal Extracts:
- Allow for optimal absorption
- Bring about changes in the body much quicker than other methods of taking herbs
- Have a long-shelf life
- More concentrated
- Easily be placed on your pet’s food or directly into their mouth
NaturPet Home Alone is an herbal extract that utilizes all of the herbs above to sooth your pet’s anxiety.
What else can I do to help my pet with anxiety?
- Playing music is especially helpful for pet’s who suffer from separation anxiety. Try repeatedly playing a calming playlist while cuddling your pet, and then leave that same playlist on when you leave the house.
- There are many Aromatherapy products and essential oils formulated for their calming properties that can also help your pet when placed in a diffuser. A word of caution however, that many essential oils are harmful to cats so while they wouldn’t ingest them from a diffuser you may still want to try alternative methods if you have cats in the house.
- Noise anxiety caused by thunderstorms and fireworks are often helped by physical contact. Wrap your arms around your dog to calm and provide a sense of security.
- Anxiety can sometimes create uncontrollable energy, so getting them out for a good run can help as well.
- Reacting to your dog’s anxiety with nervousness of your own can cause your dog to pick up on your anxiety and heighten the problem further.