Natural calming supplements can help if you have a dog that suffers from anxiety or stress. Taking them can help with separation anxiety, aggression, reactivity, nervousness and other behaviours triggered by anxiety.
There is a vast range of options on the market, which can make it difficult to choose the best one for your dog.
Natural Dog Calming Supplements
Before you do anything, it is important to rule out possible underlying health issues that may influence a change in behaviour. When a dog is in pain, they may become defensive of their personal space. If you notice a sudden change in the way your dog acts, it is advisable to discuss this with a veterinarian before you start using supplements.
Be aware that your veterinarian may not have a positive belief in regards to natural supplements and may steer you towards veterinary medication. These days, in Veterinary College, natural supplementation is included in the training and you will find many veterinarian’s stock such products for their clients.
However, old school veterinarians may take a dim view of natural supplements. Don’t let this put you off if you prefer natural products over medication and there isn’t an underlying health issue with your dog. If there is a health issue, take the list of ingredients to show the vet for the supplement you want to use. Ask if any of the ingredients would cause a problem with the medication that your dog is taking.
Your veterinarian may advise you to contact a behaviourist who can arrange a visit to your home. He or she will ask you questions regarding your dog, his exercise, feed and environment.
Sometimes, a change in the dynamics of the home can cause a dog to feel anxious. Life events that create change can be a concern for your dog. Anything like a new baby, a divorce, and children leaving home, new lodger, a house move or a new dog coming in to the home can be challenging for your dog. If you suddenly have to be out of the house for more time than usual, say for a new job, this change in routine can cause your dog to be anxious.
Joanne R told us about her situation with her dog
“Sadly my husband suffered a heart attack and was in hospital for a week before he died. I was away from home, at the hospital for that week but did get a neighbour to look after Dotty. When I eventually came home, Dotty was inconsolable. She lay shivering on my lap, genuinely appearing afraid. I was in a bad state as we had been married for over twenty years and I cried a lot which didn’t help Dotty.
After a few months, Dotty was like a different dog. I was worried so took her to the vets but there was nothing physically wrong with her. She had loved Tom and I think she was confused as he wasn’t home any longer. The vet recommended a behaviourist who was a great help. She made me understand that Dotty was reacting to my grief, which made her feel unstable. She recommended a training plan and a supplement containing Valerian root and herbs.
Within a week or so, Dotty became calmer and more her old self. Months on and she is back to her usual bubbly character. I still keep the supplements handy just in case but they helped her (and me) at a difficult time that Dotty wasn’t able to understand”
What ingredients are in natural supplements?
Supplements may contain vitamins, herbs, flower essences or amino acids. You have a choice of powders, tablets, liquid or chews. Tinctures are also effective and popular. Most products are available in the form of treats, flavoured so that your dog will be happy to eat them.
You can drop liquid or tinctures onto the dog’s tongue or onto his food. Unless your dog is happy having his mouth held open, it is better to purchase liquid or tincture that you can put on his food.
When starting your dog on a supplement, be aware that it can take time to show results. Some ingredients have a sedative effect so will calm your dog within a short period. These are suitable for emergencies like a thunderstorm or if you hear fireworks in your neighbourhood.
Valerian root is the common ingredient for a supplement created to make your dog sleepy, rather than generally relaxed. The effect will depend on how much valerian root is in the supplement.
Read the instructions carefully so that you can anticipate the result that you may expect with your dog. Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure. This is particularly important if your dog is on medication from the veterinarian.
More Natural Dog Calming Supplements
Typical ingredients that you may find in a supplement:
Herbs, in the wrong dosage, can be dangerous. We recommend that you purchase a calming supplement purposely created for your dog, as you do not know the EXACT dose that is safe for your dog.
To summarize, supplementation can be a big help in the management of your dog’s behaviour in relation to his anxiety whether you use for emergencies, travel or longer term issues.