This time of year is quite upsetting for many dog owners, watching their animal’s anxiety levels escalate as erratic booming shatters the darkness every evening.
The internet already holds many articles with useful general tips on helping your dog cope, so I’d like to really focus on one increasingly popular approach to helping reduce your dog’s anxiety and fireworks fear: the use of calming scents in their environment.
This is generally done by using plug-in products that contain either synthetic hormones, or a pre-blended mix of calming essential oils. These products definitely have their place and can be very helpful, but what if they’re not having the effect you’d hoped for your beloved animal?
A more personalised approach could be the answer. Essential oils and other herbal extracts can be hugely effective, but there are many different options - so how can you be sure you’re using the right ones for YOUR dog.
That’s easy: ask your dog! How? By offering it different plant extracts, and allowing it to choose for itself. It does this using its innate knowledge of medicinal plants - a behaviour known as “zoopharmacognosy” (note: different to aromatherapy!).
There are several herbal and floral extracts that are regularly selected by animals with anxiety and fear, however, individual animals will prefer different extracts when given the CHOICE - this choice makes ALL the difference.
Booking a session for your dog with a professionally-qualified Zoopharmacognosy practitioner will give you a detailed understanding of the process and give your animal access to the widest choice of extracts so you can learn what really works for your dog in this situation.
(please note, I am not paid to recommend this site, but I can personally attest to the quality of the products and I think the targeted fireworks mini-kit is a genius idea for owners).
It’s also vital to offer these remedies in a safe, species-specific way, quite different depending on whether you have a dog or a cat. So if fireworks also make your cat over-anxious, there’s important information here(link to cats & fireworks blog)
Always use individual plant extracts - animals cannot self medicate if remedies are pre-blended.
Natural Herbal Self-Selection to Calm Anxious Dogs
Dogs usually choose one or more (but rarely all) of the following extracts: these all have calming properties, and work by affecting neurological activity in slightly different ways, all of which contribute to reducing over excitability or anxiety:
- Valerian root
Essential Oils Often Selected By Fearful Dogs Include:
- Violet Leaf
Other Natural Remedies To Offer Anxious Dogs:
Rose can also help calm by reducing adrenaline levels
Jasmine or Vanilla are soothing and comforting
Barley Grass powder is often selected by anxious animals, possibly because of its high magnesium content. Offer separately, don’t mix in your dog’s food
How To Use Herbal Extracts To Calm Your Dog:
Once your dog has selected its needed remedies, it might want to inhale some, lick others, have others topically applied. Your practitioner or supplier can advise you further on safe practise and your dog’s signals.
You can also sprinkle 2-3 drops onto a toy that your dog can carry into its “safe den” or keep close by, so it can access the aromatic therapy more or less, as required - having this level of control is incredibly helpful.
Wishing you and your dog peaceful evenings.