Dogs do not react well to stress, and can actually become physically ill if they are under too much pressure. Natural remedies can help if you do not want to give your dog medical anti-depressants.
Just like people, when dogs get stressed out they are more susceptible to illness, irritability and general unpleasantness. However, unlike people, dogs cannot tell someone what is bothering them or “vent” to their owner about the situation. If your dog has been snappy, off his food or just generally not quite right, he may be feeling some stress. There are some easy ways to help alleviate this stress and also determine if there is a deeper problem at the root of the matter. Before dosing your dog with any remedy, natural or otherwise, consult your veterinarian.
1. Give your dog some chamomile chicken broth. You can steep chamomile tea in a low-salt chicken broth to make your pup a soothing cup of tea. Some vets prefer valerian or oat straw extract, so ask your dog’s veterinarian what she thinks is best.
2. Try ginger capsules. If your dog gets stressed in certain situations, like when riding in a car, consider giving him a dose of ginger before the event. It can help with car sickness and illnesses associated with vibrations. The amount of ginger your dog needs depends largely on his size, so work with your vet to determine the dosage.
3. Consider acupressure. This is a type of calming massage that can relieve aches and pains in a dog’s joints and also reduce anxiety. It is based on the same principles as acupuncture–which you should by no means attempt yourself–but simply involves pressing vital points on your dog in a calm, firm manner. Some people believe that their dogs benefit greatly from this, and even schedule regular appointments for them with a canine masseuse. You can learn the basics of acupressure from a manual or a trainer.
4. Put five-flower remedy in the dog’s water. Five-flower remedy is a botanical supplement that is designed to calm down stressed-out dogs. It is marketed under several different names, so ask your veterinarian about it if you think your dog might benefit from it, as each compound has subtle differences.
5. Spend some extra time with your dog. While this is not an herbal remedy, it may be the best medicine. Stressed dogs can benefit greatly from extra walks or play time. Many times, the stress is simply a product of feeling lonely or not getting enough exercise–just as it can be with people!