Dog anxiety is a common problem for dog owners and, depending on how a dog demonstrates his anxiety, can be a serious issue. A dog can manifest anxiety in a plethora of disagreeable and even alarming behaviors: chewing furniture, excessive barking, cowering in a closet during thunderstorms, shying away from strangers or people of a certain age, race or gender and reacting fearfully or even aggressively to humans and other dogs are all signs of anxiety. Since a dog’s anxiety can significantly decrease both his and his owner’s quality of life, dog owners should educate themselves in solutions for calming a stressed out canine.
Herbs and Homeopathy
Herbs and homeopathy can help a dog owner alleviate her dog’s anxiety. According to Natural Dog Health Remedies, herbs are mild, non-addictive and do not elicit drowsiness. Astragalus is a Chinese herb that contains immune-strengthening characteristics, boosting a dog’s immune system under stress. Valerian is another beneficial anxiety-reducing herb: it decreases tension and over-excitability and is effective for treating canine depression. Alternatively, homeopathic treatment can facilitate positive results that are almost immediate. Borax soothes dogs who fear sudden and loud noises or are averse to downward motion (like going down a flight stairs). Passiflora incarnata is effective for calming dogs during travel.
Natural nutritional supplements like L-theanine, thiamine (or thiamin) and decapeptide are effective remedies for a nervous canine. L-theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, facilitating a state of deep relaxation. Increasing thiamine (or thiamin) intake is beneficial since depleted levels of the vitamin are linked to irritability in animals. Decapeptide, isolated from the milk protein casein, has calming effects.
Increasing exercise can reduce anxious behaviors in a dog. Wagntrain.com states that most young dogs would be content with 20 to 100 minutes of full-speed running every day. Mental exercise, however, is just as important as physical exercise. Even older canines require continual training and exposure to new smells, places and types of play. It is a dog owner’s obligation to keep her canine companion stimulated.
According to paw-rescue.org, switching a dog’s diet from high-protein dog food to a low-protein, all-natural diet without any artificial preservatives can be helpful. Moreover, feeding a dog twice a day to keep her from getting hungry will prevent any mood swings that stem from low blood sugar.
For more serious cases of anxiety, a canine behaviorist can teach a dog owner how to implement an effective behavior modification program in his dog’s routine. While some programs are explained well in books, a canine behaviorist is a dog owner’s ideal resource since guided instruction yields optimum results. Additionally, consulting a veterinarian with experience with behavioral issues is vital to remedying canine anxiety. According to paw-rescue.org, a veterinarian will be able to determine if any medical disorders are the root of a dog's anxiety, such as low thyroid levels, improperly functioning adrenal glands or tumors and even injuries.