Solutions for Dog Anxiety and Pet Mental Health
Did you know that March is Polite Pets Month in Australia? This March, Polite Pets Month is focusing on pet mental health, including anxiety issues. As the mommy of Ty, a 13 year old mix breed rescue who suffers from a severe combination of fear of thunder as well as separation anxiety, Pet Sitter Beccie and her mother have quite a bit of experience with dog anxiety.
Ty’s Story: His Dog Anxiety Came on Progressively
Beccie first noticed Ty would tremble during storms and pace around when he was about 7 years old. He also began to drool excessively while pacing, try to squeeze himself into nooks and crannies, sometimes moving furniture in the process. It eventually got to the point where he ripped pieces of door frame off of the wall, and even ate through a door, harming the pads on his paws and losing a tooth. He also tried to scratch his way out of a crate while being boarded and again injured himself. Beccie and her mom were beside themselves. “On a scale from one to ten, Ty is an 11,” said Ty’s vet.
Holistic Therapies and Supplements for Dog Anxiety
They tried everything before giving in to the idea of conventional medications. They got Ty a Thunder Shirt, they left on NPR or classical music during the day while they were gone, they closed the blinds in the house, they left doors open, tried to make him a little box where he would feel “safe” inside, put Bach Flower remedies in his water, and even got a pheromone diffuser for strategic places in the house where he was prone to go for comfort.
While these medications work for other pups, any number of combinations of these things were tried at once yet nothing quite did the trick. It was such a painstaking process that Beccie’s mom would joke, “I think I’m the one that needs to be on medication at this point!”
Conventional Medications for Anxiety Worked for Ty
Ty is on three different kinds of medication now during the rainy months; last year he did not have any incidents- a huge relief for everyone. He will be adding Zylkene to his regimen this coming rainy season — a supplement that is reported to help with behavioral issues. Beccie and her mom hope that this supplement works for Ty and that they can move towards a more holistic route, as the use of heavy medication has caused Ty’s liver enzymes to go up.
We know lots of doggies who have a similar fear of thunder or fireworks, or who suffer from separation anxiety. While these are certainly not the only problems that can afflict pets, they are some of the more common anxieties that can plague them and cause behavioral issues. No one likes to see their pet/s suffer, so it’s important to be attentive to possible signs that there may be an issue.
Does Your Dog Suffer from Anxiety?
Many of the behavioral issues that come about as a result of these anxieties can be extremely destructive to the pet parent’s home as well (as in Ty’s case), so nipping any issues in the bud is crucial on all levels. Ty’s case is extreme, and many of the remedies Beccie and her mom tried prior to medication have, luckily, worked well for other pets and pet parents we know.
Talk to your vet about possible avenues to pursue if you suspect your dog or cat has an issue with their mental health. There are many natural and holistic treatments that work very well, and it is beneficial to do your homework on these treatments before jumping into conventional medication. Have a success story you’d like to share with us? How have you dealt with your pet’s mental health?
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.