Natural remedies to keep your dog stress free & healthy - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Natural remedies to keep your dog stress free & healthy

If you own a dog chances are you’ve seen it act out of caricature before. It may be before you leave or around other people or dogs, maybe they act out around loud noises like fireworks. Sadly most dog owners experience their dog going through what is a stressful situation for them.  Luckily, for our pets and us, there are many natural remedies you can help and your dog with stress.

It is a well-known fact that chronic stress and anxiety can cause a wide variety of medical issues in humans and dogs. Stress affects dogs very similarly to how it affects humans.

Stress & Dogs

In a healthy dog, when there is stress in the body the dog’s immune system releases cortisol. It does this to respond to the stressful event such as sending blood to muscles being used.

However, in a dog suffering from chronic stress, the immune system is constantly at a stressful level producing cortisol in high amounts. The dog’s body gets used to the cortisol ultimately becoming immune to it. This drastically lowers the effectiveness of the immune system in the dog. In turn, the dog becomes more susceptible to illness and disease. This is why extended anxiety and chronic stress often lead to all sorts of medical conditions in dogs.

The Ways Stress Can Effect A Dog

  • Loss of appetite: Any stress can weaken a dog’s appetite; over time this will result in weight loss.
  • Lowers the immune system: As explained above stress increases cortisol production, which eventually makes it less effective resulting in a weakened immune system.
  • Abnormal urination and/or defecation: Almost immediately upon stress, a dog’s body will release a stress hormone which relaxes the bladder sphincters resulting in urination and may include defecation as well.
  • Extend illness: According to petmd.com“For dogs who are already sick, stress can slow the healing process…Cortisol has an anti-healing effect”.
  • Diarrhea: When a dog stresses they release adrenaline to help initiate the “fight or flight” reaction. During this reaction, the blood flow going to the intestines and stomach decreases. This can result in diarrhea.
  • Behavioral problems: when stress levels are high the dog may go into what we call “fight or flight” mode. In dogs, this behavior may be more than aggression or retreating. The dog may act agitated, hyper, or simply freeze in fear.

Your dog may express these ailments in a number of ways. It’s always important, as a responsible pet owner, to pay attention to your pet’s behavior. Any inconsistencies from a dog’s normal behavior could signal a problem. A dog in stress may show some of the following signs.

Signs Of Stress & Anxiety In Dogs

  • Wide eyes (open so you can see the whites of the eyes)
  • Showing the teeth more
  • Excessive barking or growling more than barking
  • Whining or whimpering
  • Excessive panting
  • Ears laid back
  • Lowered tail, barely wagging at the tip, limp, or between the legs
  • Shaking/shivering
  • Decreased appetite
  • Not drinking water
  • Diarrhea

Any of these signs alone or combined could signify your dog is having anxiety or is stressed out. You should always try to avoid prolonged exposure to stressful environments with your dog.

If your dog is stressed out there are some ways to help decrease its stress levels. If you wish to stay away from a long-term dependency of prescription for your dog there are plenty of natural methods to help relieve your dogs stress.

Natural Stress Relief For Dogs

Exercise:

Dogs are very much like humans in this aspect. With exercise, dogs can lower stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) and increase endorphins, which can act like as a pain reducer and mood elevator. Taking your dog out for exercise gives it fresh air, increased blood circulation, and stretches the muscles. It also helps lower stress in dogs.

Massage:

Petting your dog in a soothing way will help to calm your dog. A light massage will ease the nerves if your dog is experiencing stress. Alleviating your dog’s stress will keep it happier and healthier.

Calming Music or Distraction:

Try distracting your dog to take its attention away from the stress factor and focus his energy on you, ultimately avoiding more stress. If you can’t be around you can try leaving some calming music on to muffle any loud noises that may trigger a stress reaction in your dog.

Herbal Calming Supplements & Therapies

Many natural herbs have been reported to induce calming effects. Here is a list of some of the most popular herbal extracts that have been used in calming dog anxiety. These herbs are mild and non-habit forming.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD): Is a cannabinoid that works with your dogs Endocannabinoid System (ECS). CBD helps lower cortisol levels, decreases inflammation, and raises the immune system.
  • Chamomile: Helps to calm nerves and induce sleepiness.
  • Lemon Balm: Acts as a sedative that assists in treating dog anxiety and excitability.
  • Passion Flower: Has flavonoids, which can help s dog relax and lower anxiety.
  • Valerian: Offers reduction with over excitability, tension, and anxieties.
  • Echinacea: Helps strengthen the immune system to be able to better deal with stress.
  • Johns Wart: Commonly used as a natural remedy to help treat anxieties and phobias in dogs.
  • Siberian Ginseng: Lowers cortisol levels to aid the immune system so it can react to stress better.

Of these listed herbal remedies we strongly suggest the most effective one for combating stress and its damages is CBD. We know through animal and human studies that CBD is one of the most effective, natural, stress and anxiety relievers known.

There are also some companies like https://www.holistapet.com who offer CBD infused dog treats that contain CBD, Chamomile, L-Theanine, and Hemp Seed Powder. All these ingredients are shown to have anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties. Together they make for a tasty treat highly capable of alleviating a dog’s stress.

CBD also has many beneficial health properties which help increase your dog’s health and reach an optimum level of homeostasis. This is when your dog’s immune system, along with all its other major systems, is operating at its peak performance.

Conclusion:

Pay attention to your dog if you notice any behavioral symptoms or ailments mentioned above it may be a sign of stress and/or anxiety in your dog. If your dog seems stressed try using some of the natural stress-relieving remedies. You will probably increase positive results if you combine methods. Remember, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian before using any new supplements.





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