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5 Herbs to Reduce Stress in Your Dog
by Valerie Trumps
Image: ms_bulsara / via Flickr
Whether the stress your dog is experiencing is part of his normal disposition or induced by the dreaded veterinarian visit, he need not suffer without relief. Here are 5 herbs proven to reduce doggy stress, how they work, and the best way to get them into Fido.
Poppies are famous for producing another relaxing substance, heroin. Not to worry, though; the small doses used for canines will not make him completely nod out. Instead, Fido will be relieved of anxiety, tension, and difficulty sleeping from excessive nervousness. Poppy works by stabilizing the mind’s emotional workings, eliminating fretful thoughts (yes, even dogs have those).
One skin care company that manufactures products for humans has been using oat seed as the main ingredient to soothe its users’ itches, dryness, and flakes. It has the same effect on canines with the bonus of calming their nervous system, relieving depression, and easing stress. If your dog is stressed out by itchy, dry skin, try giving him a rubdown with an oat seed “tea.”
This sleeping aid and calmative agent has been used by herbalists for more than 200 years, giving it an unsurpassed record of effectiveness. Passionflower leaf calms anxiety by lowering blood pressure and has soothing sedative properties. Because blood pressure that sinks too low can be problematic, use this herb in only small doses until you determine its effect on your pet, and take into consideration his size.
While the name of this herb brings to mind bikers with “doo” rags, it is anything but raucous. Skullcap will calm your dog’s worries (think vet visits and thunderstorms) and help him get to sleep. And a snoozing pup getting examined by his doc is probably every pet lover’s dream. Fido will never know what hit him.
When your canine’s inner turmoil causes him to have tense muscles, wood betony will help to relax them and tranquilize his nerves. As any tension headache sufferer knows, the head and face nerve discomfort only adds to your throbbing head. This herb helps with that as well, easing your dog’s tension by making his puppy face feel better.
How to Administer
Herbs are a handy ingredient in any remedy for your pet because the delivery methods are so user-friendly. Let Fido’s level of stress at the moment of administration be your guide. If he’s very hyped up, say during 4th of July fireworks, you’ll want to calm him down quickly. Squirt a few drops of these herbs combined in a tincture into his mouth for fast effects. For a pup who’s natural disposition is always stressed out and nervous, add a few drops to his daily water bowl or make a tube collar with the dried herbs in it for him to wear. Diffusing the herbs in a humidifier creates a calm environment for him wherever he may roam in the house. But for the ultimate dog pampering experience, steep the herbs into a “tea” and give him a good rubdown with it for a sort of spa bath. He will be relaxed for the rest of the day and night, which is good for him and for you.
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