Calming supplements contain ingredients that lower your dog’s stress and anxiety without sedating them. Stress can be diagnosed as the underlying cause in up to 90 percent of dogs with behavioral issues–and while this number sounds high, consider the complicated lives we lead. If you suspect your dog is struggling with anxiety and needs some additional support, calming supplements can help them relax, cope with vacations, sleep through thunderstorms, and more.
Does my dog need a calming supplement?
Your dog may benefit from a calming supplement if they suffer from anxiety. Calming supplements are not used to treat hyperactivity, aggression, or destructive behavior caused by boredom. One of the pros of calming supplements is their ability to lessen stress without affecting your dog’s personality or energy level.
But how do you know if your dog is stressed?
Dogs communicate in subtle ways. If you’re concerned, look for the following behaviors:
- Changes in grooming behavior
- Increases or decreases in appetite
- Increased barking, whining, or other vocalizations
- Increases in marking behavior outdoors or house training accidents indoors
- Increases in agonistic behavior
Agonistic behavior is any kind of conflict-oriented social behavior. Because of that, it can look aggressive, but it may be subtler than a dog fight. Agonistic behavior is actually intended to resolve conflict without resorting to aggression–your dog may show their teeth, flee the area, roll over in submission, etc. This is more likely to appear in multi-dog households.
What ingredients should I look for in calming supplements?
Valerian root: An herbal supplement that can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and stress. While the exact science is unknown, right now researchers believe that valerian root increases the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, creating a calming effect. One study reported that dogs that received valerian root displayed fewer anxiety-related behaviors such as barking and pacing. It is the main active ingredient in Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Supplement for Dogs.
Chamomile: An herb that can settle upset stomachs and promote calm behaviors. When used in a shelter setting, chamomile helps dogs relax and rest. The study went as far as to speculate that because these dogs displayed more calm behaviors, they became more attractive to adopters. One dose, or two chews, of Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Support contains 85 milligrams of organic chamomile, which provides not only anti-anxiety benefits but anti-inflammatory ones as well.
Passion flower: A flower that, like valerian root, raises GABA levels in your dog’s brain. It may also prevent dopamine and serotonin from breaking down, keeping your dog’s mood more balanced and calm. While valerian root and passion flower are both known as herbal anti-anxiety remedies, passion flower’s effect is milder. Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Supplements uses passion flower in its recipe to reduce your dog’s anxiety without altering their energy levels.
L-tryptophan: An amino acid that aids in the production of proteins and neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Supplements combine L-tryptophan with other ingredients to help maintain serotonin levels. Lack of sufficient L-tryptophan in your dog’s diet can be an underlying cause for anxious behavior. It has minimal to no side effects in dogs. A study found that consistent supplementation over a few months resulted in reduced pacing, barking, housetraining accidents, scratching, and other anxiety-related behaviors.
Melatonin: A hormone supplement used to treat sleep disorders. Melatonin is a common ingredient in calming supplements and can be useful if you need your dog to sleep through a stressful event. Prolonged anxiety can also lead to insomnia. Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Supplements for Dogs does not contain melatonin, since the chews are designed to calm your dog without sedating them.
When should I give my dog calming supplements?
Calming supplements can be given regularly as part of a larger holistic approach to treating anxiety, including behavior modification. Depending on their ingredients, they can also be given intermittently in anticipation of traumatic events. For example, if your dog has noise phobia, the valerian root in Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Supplements for Dogs can help them breathe a bit easier during loud events such as fireworks, parties, and thunderstorms.
If your dog has separation anxiety, a supplement containing passion flower may blunt the worst of their anxiety.It can also be given to help with travel sickness and nausea. Deley Naturals Advanced Calming Supplement for Dogs contains ginger root, an all-natural remedy that soothes upset stomachs and alleviates motion sickness.