Fido can become stressed for a variety of reasons, which may even affect his health. Anxiety isn't good for your dog and can compromise his immune system. It also can lead to behavioral problems such as aggression, inappropriate elimination and destructive chewing. While there are ready-made canine calming products on the market, you can make your own to soothe Fido's frazzled nerves by using simple herbal remedies.
Aromatherapy for Dogs
Commonly used in aromatherapy, essential oils are distilled from plants and contain the concentrated scents of the flora from which they are derived. The aromas of some essential oils, like lavender, have a calming effect on dogs. A study published in the September 2005 issue of the "Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association" showed that the smell of lavender helped to ease anxious behaviors in dogs during travel. To make a homemade relaxant for Fido, mix around 15 drops of lavender oil with a cup of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and spritz it in the areas your dog frequents or rub a few squirts into his fur.
Calming Herbal Tea
While you might think that herbal teas are just for people, you can safely give them to your pooch as well. Chamomile and valerian are both herbs you can use to calm your dog, recommends petMD. Simply make a concentrated tea of either herb, using about four tea bags for each cup of water, and allow it to cool, according to the Whole Dog Journal. Sweeten the tea with a little honey and feed Fido a tablespoon in his food every few hours to calm him. Not only will chamomile tea relax your pooch, but it will help to relieve any tummy upset as well.
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts that you can make yourself using fresh or dried plants. Plants with calming abilities that can help your pup de-stress include valerian, skullcap, hops, passionflower, oat straw and chamomile, according to "The Whole Dog Journal: Handbook of Dog and Puppy Care and Training." Place chopped clippings of any of these plants, fresh or dried, in a jar and cover the plant matter with vegetable glycerin. Store the jar in a cabinet, shaking it daily for six weeks, and strain the contents into a dropper bottle. Administer one drop of this homemade calming remedy into your pup's food for every 5 pounds of his weight, two to three times each day.
Before administering any herbal remedies to your pup, consult with your vet. If Fido is suddenly acting hyperactive or upset, an illness may be to blame, which your vet can determine with an exam. While herbal remedies may help relax your pooch, he also needs regular exercise to help him release his pent up energy each day, recommends the Doctors Foster and Smith website. Spend time with your dog to help alleviate any anxiety he has from being alone and bond with him by giving him a calming massage daily. Make your own relaxing doggie massage oil using vegetable oil mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil to give him a pleasant, spa-like experience.
- The Whole Dog Journal: The Calming Herb Chamomile
- Organic Pet Digest: Dog Anxiety: Preventing & Treating the 3 Types
- petMD: Herbal Remedies for Dogs
- The Bark: Essential Oils and Dogs
- Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to Using Essential Oils and Hydrosols with Dogs, Cats, Horses and Other Animals; Kristen Leigh Bell
- The Whole Dog Journal: Handbook of Dog and Puppy Care and Training; Nancy Kerns
- Herbal Information Center: Make Your Own Herbal Tinctures From any Loose Herb
- Stony Mountain Botanicals: Tinctures
- Doctors Foster and Smith: Stress Control FAQs
- Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association: Aromatherapy for Travel-Induced Excitement in Dogs
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.