The roar of thunder, the whirl of the vacuum cleaner, the blasts of fireworks or simply being left alone can cause anxiety in dogs. Anxious dogs may exhibit destructive behavior, such as going through doors and windows in separation anxiety. Self-destructive behavior, such as constant chewing or licking of body parts, is also evidence of anxiety. While veterinarians can prescribe medications for these disorders, herbs may help in less severe cases.
Since ancient times, chamomile has been renowned for its calming effect. It is a key ingredient in many over-the-counter herbal blend anti-anxiety products for pets. Chamomile is available in liquid extract form, powder and tea. Brew chamomile tea for your dog and pour it over his food once it has cooled.
St. John's Wort
Hypericum perforatum, commonly referred to as St. John's Wort, may help dogs suffering from separation anxiety and the obsessive-compulsive behaviors often related to anxiety. Do not give St. John's Wort to animals on other anti-anxiety medication, and check with your veterinarian before beginning treatment. It may take up to a month before the herb's effects are noticeable. The herb is available at health food stores and online. Open capsules and mix with food. Consult your veterinarian for dosage recommendations.
Valerian may be helpful for dogs suffering from separation anxiety. According to Schnauzerama, valerian may cause excitement in some dogs. Give the herb approximately 30 to 45 minutes before departing the house if you plan to return within a few hours. Mix the powdered form with food, or wrap capsules in cheese or meat and feed it to the dog. Available at health food stores, give one quarter of the human dose for small dogs, half the dose for medium-size dogs and the full dose for large dogs.
Also called apricot vine, passion flower may help calm a nervous, anxious dog. It is also a mild painkiller; pain can cause nervousness in canines. Passion flower is found in various over-the-counter herbal calming supplements for dogs.