Hi There! This post comes as a request from Instagram. Dogs are well known for their anxiety, and us as caring, compassionate humans, want to help them. We also want to stay away from toxic chemicals and pharmaceuticals! Anxiety is a huge umbrella for lots of types of anxiety. How to treat anxiety all depends on what is causing it, but below are some general remedies that have worked for me.
I can’t say this one enough, and I will shout it all day from the tops of all of Gary D. Young’s organic mountains. LAVENDER!!! This little oil is an essential (ha, get it?) in your bag of tricks. Oilers call this the “Swiss Army knoife of oils” because it can do anything!
Lavender has been known for centuries in its calming properties, among many other beneficial uses for it. It is one of the most versatile oils out there. Animals in particular can benefit from this oil because its one of the gentlest and least offensive in odor. Lavender has properties that effect the limbic system accordingly.
Now stick with me for a little science. When an aromatic molecule floats through the air and into our nostrils, it flows through a labrynth of olfactory nerves and almost instantly touches our limbic system. If you remember from 8th grade science (It’s okay, I didn’t. I had to go watch a youtube) your limbic system governs memory and learning. it then, will affect our nervous system in various ways. Lavender affects your nervous system in a calm way. Same for your dogs.
ok science lesson over.
Here’s how you can use it:
- add 4-5 drops in your diffuser and put near your pup
- put 2-3 drops in your palms and rub together until it’s just about gone. Then go give your dog some lovin’ and rub on their fur.
- Add 10-15 drops in a 2 oz glass bottle and spirtz your dog and their bedding before you leave
- wear it yourself! You are your best diffuser for your family
The key to making lavender work as a calming agent all the time is to create a routine for your pup. Let him or her associate good feeling activities like night time belly rubs with the lavender. Then when you put it on or around your pup, they will be calmed not only by the agents in lavender itself, but from their own conditioned mind.
Freezing peanut butter or Greek yogurt (must be Greek for it’s thickness-or say hello to a massive mess), can really sooth your dogs nerves, especially when used for separation anxiety.
- after freezing the Kong, give to your dog during times of anxiety. He/she will learn to self soothe when it feels like the world is caving in. But the trick is that you have to repeat this process over and over until they make associations with that you leaving isn’t a bad thing.
- because it’s frozen, it will take the pup longer to go through the entire Kong. The thought is by the time they have exhausted their mind trying to get at every last inch, that they will also be too tired to be anxious and you have kept their mind off of the bad stuff, for at least a little bit.
I will write a longer post on reiki another time, but this is definitely one to look into, even if you don’t know what it is. In short, reiki works with the body’s biofield by sorting out the “life force flow” and relieving blockages or sluginess of a subject’s energy by a practitioner. This 100 million percent changed my life with Laker. It may sound strange, but when your dog is chewing up your walls and doors and is hurting himself, you will do anything. And thank goodness I did!
Other things to try:
- leaving an old worn out item that smells like yours around while you’re gone.
- exercise your dog before you leave. This leaves them expelled of all their excess energy and too tired to be anxious
- get a thundershirt and try during any stressful times. The thought behind this is that it like a swaddle for a dog. The tighter they are, the more confident and relaxed they feel
- crate train (the Kong also comes in well here)
- be sure not to reward behavior that isnt desirable such as no treats and no smothering love when crying.
Let me know what you do to calm your pup down and I will add it to this list above~