Part 2: Managing Anxiety in Your Animal Friends by Dr Elaine Cebuliak

(Continued from last month)

If your dog or cat is anxious, there are other options besides drugs.

Exercise: Many times, animals are overly anxious because they’re not getting enough exercise. When was the last time you walked the dog, or played with your cat? Both are usually calmer and more relaxed after a little workout which is of course, good for you, too! If your pet tends to be anxious as a rule, exercise becomes even more important.

Toys: Pets may exhibit symptoms of anxiety because they are bored. Spend time training them to do simple commands (sit, down, stay for dogs) and regularly bring out new toys. The Kong toy, for example, which has a treat inside rubber ball, can be good option for dogs that can keep them busy for hours. Once your pet gets bored with one then put it way and pull out another one. Then resurrect the old toy weeks later and your pet may enjoy it like new.

Herbs: Certain herbs are known to help calm your pet’s nerves. Try Valerian to help soothe dog anxiety (150mg for smaller dogs, 300mg for medium dogs and up to 600mg for larger dogs). Skullcap, kava, passionflower, and chamomile mixed with dog or cat food, can also help. Talk with your vet about dosage.

Aromatherapy: Scents can have a calming effect on our pets, just like they do on us. Particularly if you use the scent when your dog is relaxed, he may grow to associate that scent with relaxing times. Try a few drops of lavender, neroli, marjoram, rose, sweet orange, and vanilla on part of the pet’s bedding, or on cloth that you then rub over your dog’s neck and chest. Just one drop on a Hanky

Acupuncture: Acupuncture can be just as helpful for your pet as for humans. If you have a particularly anxious pets that isn’t responding to the other remedies, you may want to try acupuncture.

Personal stress relief: Our pets react to our emotions, so if you’re stressed, your pet will too. Are you stressed out when you leave the house? Do act like you’re worried about your dog? If so, the pet will pick up on your feelings. When your animal is anxious, don’t make a big deal of it. Act as you normally do, and think distraction – get out a favourite toy, or work with your animal on obedience commands. When you come home, be calm. Take the dog for a walk, or go take a nice, warm bath.

Keeping your own emotions calm will help your pet to be relaxed, as well. I tell our owners to take up Tai Chi, or Yoga and practice thoughtful deep breathing, relaxing your shoulders, slow your breath and drop your voice an octave so that you are giving calming signals to your pet.

To Book a session with Dr Elaine visit: ‘Animal Wellness’ Veterinary Integrative Care Clinic AND Advanced Veterinary Dentistry

1016 Stanley Street, Cnr Edgar St

East Brisbane 4169

Phone +61 7 31221997

Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Dr Elaine is a highly experienced holistic vet and pioneer of Animal Wellness in Brisbane. She also assists with many charitable projects in Australia and in Bali.

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