Anxiety is dogs is often treated with medication prescribed by a veterinarian. While these drugs often help, they are only a short-term solution and come with some serious side effects. As a result, many pet parents seek out alternative, natural ways to relieve their canine’s stress.
Nearly 15 percent of all dogs suffer from some form of anxiety. Some very common triggers for anxiety are separation, noise, traveling, and confinement.
A dog will display anxiety symptoms in a variety of ways, from slight behavioral changes to others that are far more obvious. Some subtle signs may include excessively licking their fur, panting, or pacing. While others are much more noticeable like non-stop barking or howling, chewing furniture, and even aggression toward other dogs and people.
Once you recognize your pet may be experiencing some stress, they are some very simple and natural ways to relieve that anxiety. Before running to the vet for pharmaceutical medications, try some of these alternative anti-anxiety options.
Herbs like valerian and St. John’s wort can be effective remedies for anxiety in dogs. Both have a calming effect and act as natural antidepressants.
Herbs found in capsule form can be easily added to food and have little or no side effects. While using herbs to treat anxiety in dogs can be a safe alternative to prescription drugs, a holistic veterinarian should be consulted to determine the best herbal formula for your pet.
Similar to herbs, essential oils are another easy, yet powerful way to help your dog let go of stress. Lavender and bergamot are the most useful and effective oils for calming a canine.
Essential oils can be used in either a diffuser or by momentarily putting a vial near your dog’s nose. You can also rub a few drops behind the ears or on the stomach.
When using essential oils, it is important to only use therapeutic-grade quality, as some lower-grade oils can contain impurities. Just as with herbs, it is important to consult a holistic vet before using oils on your pet.
Exercise can go a long way to relieve anxiety in dogs and the more heart pumping, the better. If your pet does not get enough daily exercise, extra energy can manifest itself through destructive behavior, constant nervousness, or possibly both at the same time.
Getting outside and playing with your dog, going on more walks, or taking occasional trips to the dog park will release that pent-up energy. Not only will the additional activity help calm your dog, it will also improve your physical and emotional health as well.
If your dog is experiencing signs of anxiety, punishment or dominance techniques generally do not work. These methods do not treat the underlying issue and tend to increase a canine’s anxiety. In contrast, if you try to soothe and comfort your pet during a period of anxiety, your actions only reward the stressful behavior and encourage more if it.