B-Naturals April, 2008 Newsletter Stress and Anxiety
By Lew Olson PhD, Natural Health
This month’s topic will cover the more generalized stress and anxiety, including motion sickness, thunder storm phobias, mild separation anxiety and stress from travel and change. Usually these conditions take a multi-task approach, including behavioral, remedies and some nutritional tips. Always remember, dogs do best with a regular routine of feeding times, physical activity including training classes and spending time with the people they love!
It is always best to start training puppies young in conditioning for car rides. This means introducing them to the car as a pleasant place, by using treats and toys. Crates work best, as they offer a safe, confined area for your dog. Start with short trips, maybe just up and down the driveway, and then to the end of the block. Try to plan these first trips on an empty tummy!
Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video
Not all of us get to start with puppies, and motion sickness can be harder to work with in older dogs than puppies. Ginger can be good remedy. You can use plain ginger capsules, or the Tasha's Traveler Tummy (comes in a liquid with a dropper top, give ½ hour before the trip) or even ginger snap cookies. For very small dogs, a small amount of chamomile tea can be effective. Use a few drops for toy breeds.
Prescription drugs for motion sickness include Meclizine (Dramamine less drowsy), but check with your veterinarian on dosage.
This can be very frustrating for dog owners. Dogs can become frightened and panic during and even before a thunder and lightning storm. One of the best remedies used for this is melatonin. Melatonin is an amino acid, and has been found to have a calming influence. Dosage can vary on the size of the dog, from one to three milligrams, at least one hour before the anxiety provoking incident. It is important to give it *BEFORE* the anxiety causing event occurs.
For more information, here are websites with more information:
This is a multi-task problem. This anxiety needs a strong behavioral approach. There can be many causes for separation anxiety that require modification of the owner’s behavior as well as the dog’s. While the dog may come with this problem, it can accelerate from our own reactions to the behavior.
It is important to give a dog plenty of exercise before we leave them alone for periods of time. This can include walks, throwing a ball for them and taking them for a run at a dog park. Dogs need activity while we are gone as well. This can include leaving a radio on, stuffing kong toys with treats for the dogs, having chew toys available and crate training the dog to feel secure in their own ‘den’.
It also means taking the dog to obedience class to help learn good communication with the dog and put order in the dog’s life.
If these tips don’t help, do consult with a canine behaviorist.
Dogs can also pick up stress when traveling, or when their human family members are having stress in their lives or during a move. It is important to help keep continuity in our dog’s lives. Crate training is great for this, and the dog’s crate is something we can use on car trips, in a new house, at a motel and is a place dogs can feel safe and have their own place. Always use comfortable bedding, provide toys and treats and use it for meal times for your dog, so they can feel safe and comfortable eating.
If you know a stressful event is going to occur, the herbal product Easy Does It is a good choice to give a week in advance of the event.
Easy Does it contains Skullcap, Passion Flower, Chamomile and Flower Essences. These help to keep a dog calm and relaxed during stressful times. It is a liquid and can be given in the gum line, twice daily.
Adding Probiotics (bacteria that is good flora and fauna) is helpful when anticipating stress events, such as travel, surgery, boarding or a move. The Bertes Ultra Probiotic Powder is very helpful in keeping stools firm and preventing gas. Give twice daily with meal at least two weeks before the event, and during the stressful time.
Nutrition can play an important role to prevent anxiety and stress. The first step is to try and keep a consistent schedule for feeding time. Dogs like routine (just like us!) and rely on a regular schedule to keep calm and relaxed. Just having to wait for meals can make a dog more anxious. Sometimes offering a small treat first thing in the morning and last thing at night (besides the two regular meals) can help settle an upset stomach for your dog. Some good choices might be hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes or beef jerky.
Protein plays an important role. Diets that are high in starches and grains are carbohydrates, which are sugars. Feeding a dog a diet high in sugar can cause hyperactivity and mood swings. Diets high in animal based proteins (meat, eggs, dairy) provide the amino acid profile dogs need, and can provide a more calming influence. A raw or homemade diet usually provides this, but if you feed a dry dog food, you might want to look at adding a good quality canned meat product, or adding fresh food that is protein based. This would include foods like unflavored yogurt, canned salmon, mackerel or sardines, eggs and meat.
For more information on mixing fresh food with kibble:
I hope that everyone is enjoying spring, and we will see you again next month!