Treating Anxiety in Pets

Very early on I noticed Linus was not like the rest, he was a nervous sort of dog that did not like loud noises or sounds. He was about 6 months old for his first 4th of July and did not fare well during the night. We live next to a beautiful park that puts on a spectacular 4th of July show each year. The loud booms were just too much and for the first time ever, I found him in my bed. It was the one place he wasn’t normally allowed, however, he was not leaving no matter how much coaxing I tried. 

I first thought this was an isolated incident, but his anxiety has grown to the point that he wouldn’t even go outside without company.  My walks with him were also noticeably shorter, as he won’t go past the neighbor’s house. If a car went by, he would turn and run… dragging me along all the way back to our front door. He was behaving like a needy toddler who wants to cling to your legs all the time. I knew I could use advice on how to calm him down and reduce his anxiety as I was going through the motions of trying different things with different outcomes. 

It was suggested to me by a friend that all he needed was some special toys to chew on to keep him occupied. I purchased a variety of interesting toys, some which dispense treats and tried some play therapy with Linus. Taking time to add the right toys certainly saved my shoes and remotes from being destroyed when he was left alone. 

Another area I have trouble with Linus, because of his anxiety, is trimming his toenails. He seems very frightened and even very aggressively protective of his nails. I often have to try to clip one at a time while he is asleep, which is of course difficult to do and hard to keep up with which toe I got last. I asked a vet, and their answer is to muzzle him, which I would much rather not do as I believe this will cause his anxiety to get even worse. 

With some of the research I have been doing, I’m starting to lean towards the idea that he may benefit from some of the all-natural calming supplements that are available.  Melatonin and valerian are two examples of natural supplements that are calming to pets.  I believe a short-term use of a supplement, may give Linus the ability to overcome his fears.  Maybe just enough to go for a proper walk. 

You can click on any of the links below to find many types of calming supplements for your dog (or cat) that contain melatonin, valerian, chamomile, and other ingredients that have been proven safe. Please be sure to read the ingredients and follow the dosages according to package directions. Always consult your veterinarian if you have any questions on what is right for you and your pet. 

If you have a pet that is or has suffered through anxiety problems, please let me know. I would love to compare notes and see what steps others have taken to help their pets overcome this.