Six ways to alleviate pet anxiety

Feb 6, 2019 | Pet Health, Tips and Tricks

I’ve recently been helping a friend with a situation involving a very sweet Portuguese Water Dog whose owner has passed away.  She came as a pair with her brother but the family has split them up leaving this poor sweet girl to find a new home.  She is now with my friend and suffering from anxiety.  She’s been through a lot in a short period of time and although is now safe, warm, and fed, she is missing her owner and brother terribly.  I called the dog’s vet to see what we could do for her and she recommend giving her Benadryl.  I was surprised to hear that Benadryl could help calm anxiety in dogs.  I know every dog is different and may have a different reaction so I got online and did some research.  There are several different ways to treat anxiety and nervousness in animals including homeopathic, Hemp based products, and herbal supplements.  

Over the counter anxiety medication

  • Benadryl is recommended due to it’s calming effect.  The antihistamine is known to serve as a mild sedative. When administered correctly prior to the environment or activity that may cause heightened anxiety in your pet, it can help him remain calm and relaxed.

Homeopathic treatments

  • If your dog suffers mild anxiety or you want to use more natural remedies to alleviate his symptoms and behavior problems, homeopathic treatments might also be a recommended solution. A combination of different flower essences including Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum may work for calming an anxious dog.  
  • Make sure to always check with your vet before trying different treatments.

Prescription medication

  • Alprazolam, Amitriptyline, Clomicalm, and Buspirone are all potential medications that may be prescribed for your pet. 
  • Because anxiety medication typically takes at least 30 minutes before they start working, it’s best to give it to your dog ahead of time rather than waiting until they present symptoms.
  • Never use another pet’s medication for your dog even if they’re in the same household. 

Herbal supplements

  • A regular vitamin regimen may help ease your dog’s anxiety symptoms. Herbal supplements such as Echinacea and Valerian Root may be organic options your pet will respond to well to treat both anxiety and excitability.
  • Check with your vet before giving your dog herbal supplements so that he or she can help you know what to look for because your pet could be allergic to these herbal supplements.  

Hemp-based products

  • Pet-safe cannabis “treats” or oils have been used to treat dog anxiety. 
  • Cannabis use plant extracts and other organic ingredients that do not get your pet “high” as might be assumed.
  • A hemp-based product is not administered as a pharmaceutical but rather a nutrition agent for your pet designed to provide ongoing benefits. When considering options for your dog, discuss this alternative method with your veterinarian or other pet expert to learn about how it can help your pet be free of stress and anxiety.

Aromatherapy (see this post on Essential Oils For Dogs and Cats)

  • Lavender typically works as a sedative to help your dog feel restful. Aromatherapy oils like chamomile provides calming and in some cases, pain relief, while sweet marjoram has been used to help with stress relief in pets. Watch out for allergic reactions in pets and discuss this kind of remedy with your veterinarian to get recommendations for the best kind of products to use. 

While talking to the vet, she also recommended training for the dog as anxiety is a behavioral issue.  Lots of TLC is recommended and patience to allow your pet to work through their anxiety and to show them that there is nothing to fear.  There are also calming collars, vests, and sprays that can be bought at any pet store.  I’m sure Amazon and Chewy can be helpful resources as well.  I know people who are against holistic treatments but whatever your belief is, take action in helping to treat your pet.  

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