It’s Day 4 of our National Holistic Pet Day series and we are celebrating Holistic pets for an entire WEEK with articles and some fabulous giveaways from our sponsors Halo, DoTerra and Dr. Buzby. Enter our giveaway at the bottom of this post and don’t forget to share through the widget for more chances to win!
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A Holistic Approach to the Anxious Dog or Cat
I have experienced really anxious periods of life and I would never wish anxiety on my worst enemy. It is so uncomfortable that you just want to jump out of your own skin. Many of our cat and dog companions experience anxiety. I find the most success with my anxious patients when I treat them with a holistic plan.
Below are some holistic treatments for anxiety in your pets.
1. Get a diagnosis. Dogs and cats are not human. So often, I see people making the mistake of assigning emotions to their animal’s behavior. I believe that our animals feel love, fear, sadness and many basic human emotions. But it is important to understand that they may not feel those things for the same reason we do. If you are unsure of the meaning of your pet’s behavior, get help. There are many trained professionals that can help you differentiate behaviors caused by fear versus dominance. A board certified veterinary behaviorist is a great place to start.
2. Ensure overall health. Some animals have anxiety caused by pain or other health related problems. Take your pet to a veterinarian for a full physical examination and bloodwork. There may be things like hidden dental disease (very painful), thyroid imbalances or joint pain that may be contributing to your pet’s anxiety.
3. Exercise. Make sure your dog is getting regular walks and exercise appropriate for their age, breed and personality. If you have a herding breed like a Border Collie and you only give him a short walk daily, you may be contributing to your dog’s anxiety. Many dog breeds were meant to have ‘jobs’ and vigorous exercise. Even my pug (classic couch potato) needs daily walks to be happy. If you have cats make sure they are getting some kind of daily play with toys or other kitties (or doggies).
4. Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is a superstar when it comes to anxiety. I have had amazing success with acupuncture and herbs in anxious dogs and cats. To find a veterinarian in your area that practice Chinese Veterinary Medicine click here.
5. Serotonin. This is a chemical in our brain that helps us feel calm and happy. There are both natural and pharmaceutical ways to increase serotonin in ourselves and our animals. Exercise, l-theonine, and l-tryptophan are natural ways to increase serotonin. Sometimes pharmaceuticals like Prozac are needed to help restore normal brain chemistry. Prozac is rarely my first choice but I must admit I have seen it change dog’s lives. Keep an open mind to anything that might help your companion find a better quality of life.
Anxiety is rough, but the good news is there are so many ways to help our fuzzy friends feel better fast. If you have any questions about anxiety in cats or dogs, or would like to share your pet’s story, please comment below.