Fido feeling frazzled or stressed out? After your vet rules out an illness as the cause of your pup's upset, you can try using some products designed to calm him. The best one for your particular pooch will depend on his personality and the situation causing his stress.
The Nose Knows
Synthetic dog pheromone products have a scent similar to the one nursing mother dogs give off to comfort their puppies, according to WebMD. These products work best for dogs dealing with general anxiety issues, but not for aggressive pups. Prior to travel or a trip to the vet, spray your pooch's carrier so he can inhale the calming scent of the pheromones. A study published in the April 2010 issue of "The Canadian Veterinary Journal" showed that pheromone-infused products worked well to calm and comfort pups dealing with separation-anxiety and fear because they were hospitalized for an illness. If your pup isn't feeling well or acts up when you aren't home, pheromone sprays, diffusers or collars may be your best bet to keep him calm.
If your pooch becomes anxious during storms, around noisy situations or from separation anxiety, special body wraps may ease his upset better than other calming aids. These wraps apply very light pressure around your pup's body, making him feel safe and secure. Many of these products are made from washable materials and have hook-and-loop fasteners that wrap around your pup's chest and tummy. These types of closures allow you to quickly wrap the suit around your furry friend and adjust it for his body type, especially if he puts on a few pounds after purchasing it. Measure your furry buddy and weigh him on a pet or baby scale so you can choose the proper size of the wrap-around suit for him.
To treat an anxious dog, use calming tinctures made from plant and flower essences, which you can find in both pet supply or health food stores. Purchase formulations designed for use with pets that don't contain alcohol. These herbal remedies are safe to use with your pup and likely won't interact with any prescription medications he might be taking, but you should still check with your vet before administering them. These herbal medicines can be used to treat short or long-term issues with anxiety in your pup and work best for those who bark excessively or have recently moved to a new home, or if you've added another pet to the family. Add the manufacturer's recommended dose of these essences to your pup's food, water or on a treat and repeat as needed.
The best calming aid for your pup will depend on how he reacts to it. You can use a combination of products for even better results in some cases. None of these products interacts badly with the other, and they all work in different ways. If your furry friend continues to have issues with anxiety, consult with your vet to see if she might recommend a prescription anti-anxiety medication. With any calming aids that you use, you should also use behavioral modification techniques and obedience training for best results. Most importantly, exercise your pup regularly so he can burn off his extra energy, which will only enhance any calming aids you're using.
- Dogster: Nine Calming Aids for Fearful, Anxious, or Nervous Dogs
- WebMD: Pet Behavior Problems: Can Pheromones Help?
- The Canadian Veterinary Journal: Efficacy of Dog-Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) for Ameliorating Separation-Related Behavioral Signs in Hospitalized Dogs
- Thundershirt: How Thundershirt Works
- The Veterinary Clinics of North America -- Small Animal Practive: Alternative Medicines for the Geriatric Veterinary Patient
- The Whole Dog Journal: Handbook of Dog and Puppy Care and Training; Nancy Kerns, et al.
- Bach Rescue Remedy: When to Use Bach Rescue Remedy
- Bach Rescue Remedy: Frequently Asked Questions
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