Natural Remedies for Dog Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common conditions your veterinarian will see in their clinic, but unfortunately aside from medication there is little support they can offer. If you’re like many pet parents today, you want to find an effective natural option that holistically supports your pet’s nervous system and doesn’t come with a list of possible side effects.

There are many types of natural remedies you can try and some better suited then others for your pet’s unique health situation. In this article I’ll explain what the different types of remedies are, why you would choose one over the other, and the specific strategies for naturally relieving canine anxiety.

 

HERBAL REMEDIES/SUPPLEMENTS

Herbal medicine is the use of plant material to support and encourage health in your pet’s body. There are many ways you could give your pet herbs such as tincture, glycerite, powder, capsule, and tea. The best method for you dog’s anxiety will be both easy to administer and high quality.

It is important to know, not all plants extract medicine equally in all methods. For example, milk thistle extracted in tincture form will contain more medicinal content then in glycerite form. Likewise, milk thistle in capsule form will deliver medicine to your pet only if their digestion is optimal. Some plants such as turmeric can be sprinkled directly onto food but for an even better therapeutic effect larger amounts of this remedy may be necessary and therefore a higher concentrated liquid form may be more suited.

The following are 6 herbal remedies that will relieve canine anxiety. These remedies could be taken alone as simples or in formulas. I recommend using a combination of gently sedating herbs that are used for acute situations and nervous system restorative herbs that help to nourish and repair agitated pets over time to minimize anxiety reoccurrence.

 

Chamomile – Matricaria recutita

 
 

Chamomile is an amazing herb with so many healing benefits. Used to restore and calm the nervous system as a gentle nervine without being too sedating to take throughout the day. This beautiful yellow flower also has an affinity for supporting gut health, something that is often associated with anxiety and stress in pets.

Dose: tincture 0.5ml – 2.5ml /day /20lbs Dried herb: 150mg/kg/day

Suggested method: tea, tincture, glycerite

Skullcap – Scutelaria lateriflora

 
 

Skullcap is used to restore and calm the nervous system as a gentle nervine and sedative without being too sedating to take throughout the day. This herb is great to relieve separation anxious and to calm agitated gitters during car rides and vet visits.

Dose: tincture 0.5ml – 2.5ml /day /20lbs Dried herb: 150mg/kg/day

Suggested method: tea, tincture, glycerite

Oat straw – Avena sativa

Oat Straw.jpg
 

Oat straw is used to restore the nervous system and provide additional nutrients said to help “ground” excited energy. Oat straw can also be helpful for stress and mild depression. Oat straw milky stage is the most optimal part to use for this.

Dose: Dose: tincture 0.5ml – 2.5ml /day /20lbs Dried herb: 150mg/kg/day

Suggested method: tea, tincture, glycerite, powdered

Ashwagandha – Withania somniferia

 
 

Ashwagandha is a mild sedative and nervous system restorative and also aids in symptoms related to stress and trauma. This root also helps to reset sleep cycles so it’s a great choice for those pets having difficulty sleeping and adjusting to a sleeping routine.

Dose: tincture 0.5ml – 2.5ml /day /20lbs Dried herb: 150mg/kg/day

Suggested method: tea, tincture, powder

Passionflower – passiflora incarnata

Passionflower is a stronger sedative used for calming agitated and anxious pets. It works quickly and effectively for highly anxious pets.

Dose: tincture 0.5ml – 1.5ml /day /20lbs Dried herb: 100mg/kg/day

Suggested method: tea, tincture, glycerite

HOLY BASIL – TULSI – Occimum sanctum

 
 

Holy basil is a nervous system restorative and supports digestion and immunity. Known in India as the meditation herb. Holy basil is a herb to take regularly to help support the nervous system over time.

Dose: tincture 0.5ml – 2.5ml /day /20lbs Dried herb: 150mg/kg/day

Suggested method: tea, tincture, glycerite

 

 
Our Calm + Restore herbal supplement contain Chamomile, skullcap and oat straw in a tasty liquid herbal glycerite
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FLOWER ESSENCES (rescue remedy)

Flower essences are an energetic plant medicine similar to homeopathy. Flowers are soaked or put near water collection and then the water is further diluted. Remedies are created by adding drops of the diluted mixture usually into a mixture of glycerin and water (used as a preservative). To give flower essences to your dog only a few drops are needed at a time. Flower essences work on an energetic level usually with the emotions and work well alongside herbal medicines (which work on both levels but more so the physical). A great remedy to try for anxious pets is rescue remedy.

The following are the flower essences in the rescue remedy formula for pets.

Star of Bethlehem – Orithogalum umbellatum

Helps animals that have experienced abuse, trauma and shock, whether experienced recently or in the past. Helps the animal let go of the trauma and enjoy life.

Rock Rose – Helianthemum

For situations in which the animal experiences panic or terror such as an accident, going to the vet, thunderstorm or fireworks.

Cherry Plum – Prunus cerasifera

Helps animals who seem to have lost control of their actions such as constant barking, scratching or licking.

Impatiens – Impatiens gladulifera

Helps those animals who are impatient and can’t wait for for their meal or going for a walk.

Clematis – Clematis vitalba

For animals who seems to be sleeping too much and not really paying attention to what’s going on around them.

Directions

Add 2-4 drops of Rescue Remedy Pets in your animal’s drinking water add a drop to a treat, on food or rub it on the paws or ears.

 

DESIGNING YOUR PET’S UNIQUE HEALTH PLAN

To completely relieve your dog’s anxiety you’ll need to incorporate more then just natural remedies. Holistic medicine is addressing the root of the problem AND all systems involved. I recommend incorporating natural remedies while also addressing diet, and behavior adjustments for a complete holistic health plan. Eventually your dog will no longer need to regularly take natural remedies if you take this approach. The following is a little more information on diet and behavior to get you started.

Diet

Allergies and food sensitivities increase inflammation in your pet’s body. A diet that causes discomfort to your pet can negatively impact their nervous system. A diet that equates in a happy tummy will result in a calmer pet. Seek out a holistic veterinarian trained in canine nutrition to help you access your dogs diet. Hint: I encourage you to find what works best for your pet’s unique health picture versus following popular trends. The best way to do this is by working one on one with a health practioner.

Behaviour

For some dogs, small changes to routines in the household make a significant difference to their anxiety. For example, if your pet experiences separation anxiety when you leave the house an animal behavioral specialist might suggest a different morning routine. Please seek out a professional to learn more.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR /  Rickilee Walls MH.

Rickilee Walls is the founder and herbal formulator of Companion Herbals and chief medical herbalist for TGIPT, a supplement based dog treat company in Vancouver BC. A passionate educator, Rickilee enjoys teaching pet parents about herbal medicine and how to make their own herbal remedies for their pet. She is an advocate for the environment discouraging the use of endangered plant species and encouraging sustainable practices.

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