By Caroline O’Sullivan DVM, MS

Steps to take to help our pets with Anxiety based reactivity

  1. Recognize frustrations, boredom and depression as major factors in anxiety. Increase periods to fresh air and exercise. Foster the dog’s natural drives and allow the dog to succeed in these tasks. (Examples may be herding, long lining, water work, docking diving, nose work, detection work, protection work, agility, etc – not just straight obedience) Dogs do need to learn a recall command and obey that command in order to do these other activities safely. This will take time and commitment by the owner to allow the dogs to work and succeed and go to sleep tired every night.
  2. MINIMIZE OVERALL HOUSEHOLD STRESS. We humans and our frustrations play a huge role in the lives and reactivity of our pets. Do what needs to be done not to take your problems home. Remember the unconditional love that greets you at the door and try hard to return it to your pets.
  3. Turn OFF the EM. Turn off phones, computers, handheld toys and the television.
  4. Remove genetically modified foods from diet. Glyphosate can inhibit the necessary component of relaxation (norepinephrine, endorphins, etc) Go Organic and GMO free, if at all possible
  5. Ignore anxiety behaviors and positively reinforce relaxation and FUN behaviors
  6. Consider “Through A Dogs Ear” audio recordings to play during times of relaxation to build a bridge toward relaxation during periods of current wind up and anxiety. Pet should have a positive relationship with this music and the environment while it plays
  7. Oatmeal – steel cut oat porridge in morning will help soothe the nerve.
  8. Oat water – 1 tablespoon of oats and a cup of warm water, let sit for 20 minutes and then strain. Give drinks water in small amount to help decrease anxiety during a stressful event
  9. Rescue remedy for Pets – use as directed on bottle
  10. Chamomile and Lavender Tea (never use in cats) slowly give or add to food dish and use to moisten food (1/4 cup per 20lbs of dog)
  11. Simmer a handful of Sweet Leaf Tea/ Wild Bergamot in a pot on the stove to act as an environmental relaxation. It can be use to decrease anxiety and soothe nerves.
  12. Adrenal Support – to help the adrenal glands be as healthy as possible structurally and functionally. To be used with veterinary examination and supervision ONLY
  13. Physiological tranquilizers – helps balance the parasympathetic tone. To be used with veterinary examination and supervision ONLY
  14. Thyroid function and health should always be considered in animals with anxiety, hyper reactivity, or irritability. Thyroid testing is a blood test and is vital to the recognition of overall health status
  15. Acupressure points and massage. Acupressure points available by mail. Please contact me if you would like a copy.
  16. Traditional Chinese herbals and acupuncture based on individual clinical presentation

Thank you very much and I hope this is a helpful start down the road to recover your pets balance.

The information in this list is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. A veterinary-client-patient relationship must be established with an office consultation to proceed with many of the possibilities mentioned above.