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The Most Effective Holistic Ways To Quickly Stop Your Dog’s Anxiety.

By Dr. Andrew Jones

Dog noise anxiety, or fear of loud noises, such as fear of thunderstorms or fireworks, is very common. Pets have especially sensitive hearing. Veterinarians have estimated that your dog can hear 10 times better than you can. The loud crack of thunder is terrifying to many dogs. In some cases, the loud noise has been associated with an unpleasant experience. My family dog Max had his tail slammed in a door by the wind during a thunderstorm; any subsequent storm produced a hiding, shaking Max. This article will reveal the most effective holistic ways to quickly stop your dog’s anxiety.

Most of us are aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog with noise anxiety. Your pet changes her personality in response to noise, especially thunderstorms. She may cry and whine, hide in the basement, begin to chew anything in the house or run away. Some dogs become destructive, and many a house has been damaged during a thunderstorm or fireworks. Other dogs may just tremble, pant excessively, or constantly whine or bark.

For long term success, effort must be put into training your dog to be less anxious in addition to anti-anxiety supplements. Do not positively reinforce the fearful behavior by being too kind. The next time that Lewis reacts to noise, give him a quick scratch then go about your normal household routine. If you act calm, then he may act calm.

The next time that your pet begins to act nervous, distract her with a favorite squeaky toy or tasty treat. You are teaching your pet to associate noise with a positive experience. When your pet acts less nervous, then give her lots of praise, then next storm could become far more pleasant.

A very simple, safe home remedy is milk. It contains a natural chemical called tryptophan which tells the brain to relax. Some pets may get diarrhea, so begin with a small amount (1/4 cup) at first. Increase this to 1/2 cup of warm milk given to your anxious Labrador when the fireworks start.

Many dogs tend to be less fearful in a small confined space, such as a crate. Crates act like a den in nature, making your pet feel safer and more protected. This does not work for all dogs, as some may hurt themselves in an effort to get out of the crate. Try to crate train your dog before a storm, then stay close by to let him out if things do not go so well.

A type of therapeutic touch, called Tellington Touch has helped many pets with noise anxiety. The most effective area is the ear. Gently hold the ear flap between your thumb and forefinger. Gently stroke from the base of the ear to the ear tip; repeat the motion several times covering different sections of the ear. Use the same fingers to draw tiny circles at the base of the ear. Try both of the techniques on your dog when he is calm. If he reacts well, then try it the next time a storm approaches.

Valerian is a herb that acts on the neuroreceptors in the brain. It may decrease anxiety in your pet, but it must be given for 2 weeks. The dose is 50 mg per lb of the dried herb or 1 drop per lb of body weight twice daily of the extract.

A Shirt wrapped around your dog can help. One product called Thundershirt claims that the gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. The pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years. You can make your own “Thundershirt’ by using a small shirt that is wrapped tightly around your dog’s chest and over his back.

You should now have a good understanding of dog anxiety, including why so many dogs react to loud noises, such as thunderstorms and fireworks. Now you can recognize the common signs of noise anxiety in your dog; trembling, vocalizing, trying to hide, and chewing. I encourage you to consider some of the above remedies the next time your dog reacts to the loud noises, helping to calm him naturally at home.


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Topics: Dog Care, Dog Health, Pet Care, Pet health | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “The Most Effective Holistic Ways To Quickly Stop Your Dog’s Anxiety.”

  1. Avatar joe merlino Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:56 am


  2. Avatar Carole Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Those are all very good suggestions. What works for us is,

    Have the house closed up so the noise is minimized.
    Have music or TV on to further muffle the noise.

    My dog will go sleep in the downstairs family room when we’re out. He’s not even aware of the noise outside. We’ve snuck in on him, and it takes him a few minutes to even realize that we’re home. When we’re home however, he’s always upstairs and underfoot and barking at every little thing. Now, if we could just get him to stay downstairs when we’re home …

  3. Avatar steve hunt Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 9:49 am

    hi i have a maincoon rescue cat from a breeder. she is 9 years old, we’ve had her fore 5 years we have never harmed her and never would, yet she is still very nervouse and suffers anxiety ,frequent bouts of stetitace, which the vet treats at times you can see the fright in her face. her younger sister lives with us as well and is very contented. thanks.

  4. Avatar RR Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I have gotten a lot from your articles and thank you. I wish you would address the same issues for cats you do for dogs! Esp. the issue addressed in this article–anxiety….

  5. Avatar Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I think the The Anxiety Wrap also deserves mention as the original and only patented pressure wrap on the market.

    The Anxiety Wrap(http://www.anxietywrap.com) was invented in 2001 by Certified Professional Dog Trainer and T-Touch Practitioner, Susan Sharpe who experimented with over 90 different prototypes before coming up with the original design. It is the only pressure wrap that uses both maintained pressure and acupressure to achieve its calming effect.

    Recently, a research team at the Cummings Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine found that The Anxiety Wrap was effective in 89% of the dogs in the study and concluded that The Anxiety Wrap is a “safe and effective treatment” for thunderstorm phobia.

    In my own practice as a professional dog trainer I have found the Anxiety Wrap, which I first used on my own dog several years ago, provides consistently effective results in dogs with different kinds of anxiety from severe thunderstorm phobia to severe separation anxiety to general anxiety and fear-based aggression.

    For more information on The Anxiety Wrap see the company website, http://www.anxietywrap.com and for a comparison of the various anxiety-reducing garments on the market, see this article: http://anxietywrapsays.blogspot.com/2012/02/comparison-of-anxiety-wrap-thundershirt.html

  6. Avatar kata Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Dr. Jones,

    Thank you so much for sharing so much of your wisdom and wit, with those of us who read your Emails and Newsletters – you almost never fail to put a smile on my face!! Any advice from you, that I have implemented with my Doggie, has always been helpful, at the least, and nearly miraculous on occasion!!! I’ve been gratefully blessed to have a gorgeous, regal, and very “man-ly”, thoroughbred-stallion-like Doberman, who – as time has gone on – has steadily become more and more of an anxious “wus-a-Dober” when there are storms in the area, and in the last couple of years has even become a bit destructive when he gets anxious (and he’s always been AMAZINGLY non-destructive, even as a young puppy). I’ve used – and continue to use – ALL of the approaches that you mentioned in this post, as well as those mentioned by the excellent ‘commentators’ responses, here, and unfortunately nothing has really helped very much 🙁 The most effective thing -strangely-enough – was my very detailed explanation (out of desperation) of Environmental Science, incl. the phenomena of Atmospheric convection-cells, as well as the Physics behind Lightning and Thunder. (I’m not pulling your leg, here, and there are Witnesses who will back me up, and confirm that my ‘tone-of-voice’ did not seem to play any role in his apparent intellectual interest, and the way his trembling only stopped after I explained how all of this combined to make rain – which he dislikes enormously – and how that related to the water that he drinks – out of the toilet-bowl, usually). Ever since then, he only has trouble when I am away from the house, but even putting him in his “Den” – which he otherwise likes – during those times, generally results in destructive mayhem, and I just really hate knowing how terrifying it all is for him, and being unable to do much about it, so far! I was wondering if Herbal/Naturopathic supplements like St. John’s Wort, Kava, L-Tryptophan, GABA, are safe for Dogs (since sometimes they’re not even very safe for Humans!), and if so, which one(s) you would recommend. I would be taking him to a Naturopathic Vet., to try to treat his anxiety in these cases, but there’s only 1 anywhere near my area, and she charges EXHORBITANT sums of money for her services. I would even by willing to pay such exhorbitant sums, but I have a fixed, and minuscule income, so it’s not even an option for me 🙁 Is there anything else you would suggest I try? (I don’t have any further information on Atmospheric Science, and it doesn’t work to record a CD to play while I’m gone, ’cause he totally understands that the CD, once-recorded, bears little-if-any resemblance to the ‘real’ me, and therefore nullifies any validity it might otherwise have) I hope you can respond to this post, as I’ve become a bit desperate, by now, since I would like to have SOME of my furniture intact for visitors, and mostly, because I don’t want my Boy to be miserable, if there’s some ‘do-able’ solution for his distress!!! Thanks for even reading this run-on explanation and question! Yours truly, Kata Neva

  7. Avatar Jan Bridges Says:
    August 21st, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I would like to recommend taking a dryer sheet for static and rub on the dogs coat. When there’s thunderstorms it causes static electricity in there hair and that usually helps a lot.

  8. Avatar Jonathan Says:
    August 21st, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Hi, Jan;

    Yes, this is a moderated forum. We just need to keep the spam out. Your post has been approved. 😉



Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM