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Canine Anxiety Natural Remedies

Updated on February 27, 2010

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety. This is the fear of being left alone. In some cases, the dog may feel abandoned and panicked which leads them to destructive behaviors. When you adopt a dog from an animal shelter, as my family and I have done, and recommend, you may not be aware of an abusive past your beloved pet may have suffered.

We once had a dog who howled when we left him alone. But many dogs exhibit destructive behaviors such as chewing, scratching and potty accidents. It is difficult to know how to handle the situation. Punishment can be counterproductive and make the behavior worse. When we had an issue with separation anxiety, we enlisted the help of a dog trainer who specialized in behavior modification. It was important to us that we correct the behavior so that we were not forced to give up our beloved pet. Natural remedies for anxiety are not only effective for humans but can be effective for canines as well.

The training process does not correct behaviors overnight. It takes time and patience to put the techniques your trainer recommends into practice. When we worked with a trainer, we found some of these non-harmful, natural anxiety remedies helpful in easing our dog’s tension while we were away for the day.

Bach Flower Essences - extracted from the Bach Flower. These are oils that work naturally to reduce stress. The extract is available in both cream and oral supplement form. Both are effective. However, if you have difficulty dispensing oral medications to your dog, the cream may be a more practical method.

Pheromones - in humans, pheromones are sometimes used to induce human attraction. There are territorial and primer pheromones that cause dogs to feel secure and safe. These are hormones that are released by their mothers at birth making them very familiar to dogs. A plug-in diffuser has been developed by veterinarians.

Homeopathic herbal formulas - available in finer pet stores and health food stores, these can be effective but should be used with caution. Always check all labels and be sure that the ingredients are safe for your dog. If you are working with a trainer, he/she can most likely offer a good recommendation.

German Chamomile Formula - this homemade blend is a gentle sedative for your dog. All of the ingredients it contains are available in most health food stores.

In a small pot combine the following: 1 teaspoon of German chamomile, 1 teaspoon of catnip, 1 teaspoon of skullcap, 2 tablespoons of honey, ½ cup of water.

Heat the water to a simmer. Remove the pot from the stove and let steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze the herbs as you strain them out in order to extract as much of the essence as possible. Add the honey and move this natural remedy for anxiety to an airtight container for storage.

When refrigerated, this will keep for up to two weeks. Let your dog lick the formula off of a large spoon. Offer two-three spoonfuls at a time. You can offer every hour as needed. If your dog will not lick the formula off of the spoon, try using a squeeze syringe. Open his mouth and squeeze the formula to the back of his throat. It is a small amount and should go right down.
Within 15-30 minutes of administration, you should see visible signs of relaxation.

It requires hard work and dedication to change the behavior of a dog plagued with separation anxiety. Some well-intentioned owners may give up prior to learning the correct techniques that will be effective at dealing with your dog’s issues. It is heartbreaking for a family to have to give up a dog. A trainer can help and may save your family of the trauma of returning a dog to the shelter. Remember, a good dog owner will be able work through the issues and come out with a well-trained, loyal friend.


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    • Meadow Summers profile image

      Meadow Summers 7 years ago from North East USA

      Hi Lorie,

      Thanks for your note and for reading my article. Also, thanks for clarifying. When we used the remedy our trainer developed for his clients, that is what he told us. He said that the formula was essence of Bach Flower. I wasn't aware that there was more behind it than that. I am not sure where he got it or what exactly was in it. He offered us a cream or a supplement. We tried both but had better success with the cream.

      Thanks for the information!


    • profile image

      Lorie 7 years ago

      Here's a link to learn more about Dr. Bach's flower remedies.

    • profile image

      Lorie 7 years ago

      There is no such thing as a bach flower. These remedies are named after Dr. Edward Bach. There are 38 Bach flower remedies. The one you're referring to is probably Rescue Remedy which is comprised of impatiens, star of bethlehem, cherry plum, rock rose and clematis. The Bach flower remedies ARE NOT oils, but are made from spring water infused with wild flowers, either by the sun-steeped method or by boiling. The Remedies are hand produced exclusively in England. The Remedies contain 27% grape based brandy as a preservative.