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We all know that there are hundreds of situations and issues that can cause us stress and nervousness, but we seldom think about our dogs in the same way. Household pets and especially dogs can be sensitive to all kinds of situations that can cause them stress and as they are unable to articulate their problems, mental and physical signs of stress are very difficult to detect in our four legged friends.
There are numerous causes of stress for dogs, some of the most common being fireworks or loud bangs, unfamiliar surroundings or strangers in their home, a stay in the kennels or a visit to the vets….and the biggest cause of stress for dogs (which most people and articles overlook), their owners being stressed or upset. You will probably have noticed when you are upset that your dog either hides in the corner or jumps up you and tries to calm you down!
The mental and physical symptoms that can present in a dog who is suffering from stress can be vast and various, but there are some common ones to look out for, including rashes and itching, shaking, bad behaviour (which is not bad at all, it is actually a stress symptom), digging up carpets or flooring, not eating and becoming unusually aggressive.
It goes without saying that if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog and they differ from their usual behaviour, then you should consult a vet immediately and they can often prescribe tablets and creams that can aid your dogs condition. However, you should not discount a natural approach to helping your dog and there are herbal and natural remedies that can work wonders for a stressed dog and the mental and physical symptoms stress can present.
Something that we swear by with our own dogs, especially around Bonfire Night and New Year and all of the fireworks are the homoeopathic remedies of Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and Gelsemium or Argentum Nitricum (Arg Nit) homoeopathic pillules. It is best to get these remedies from outlets that supply for animals, just so that that the directions and dosages are accurate. However, homoeopathic remedies are safe for animals and babies to use and have non-toxic side effects. The Rescue Remedy can be used by putting a few drops into drinking water, and don’t worry if you have more than one dog, as the water is harmless with the drops if your other dog/s are not suffering. The homoeopathic pillules can be crushed and sprinkled onto food or used as directed on the label.
Commonly used herbal treatments for dogs (and cats) when they are stressed and/or nervous include Chamomile, Passion Flower, St. John’s Wort and Valerian Root. Unlike the flower and homoeopathic remedies, it is important to use herbal remedies in consultation with a vet or an experienced seller of herbal remedies as other health issues or medication can have contraindications with some herbal remedies. The above herbal treatments can be used as drops or crushed tablets in food and/or water and all have a calming and relaxing effect of your dog. They are fast acting and have none of the side effects commonly associated with medications, due to not having chemical compounds in their ingredients.
You can buy any of the above remedies at health stores, but we would recommend searing the internet and finding a seller who specialised in the natural treatment of pets as you can be assured of the correct advise and dosages. Many vets also have some knowledge and experience of using or suggesting which natural remedies to use and where to buy the preparations from.