Herbal Remedies for Anxiety in Dogs

Holistic veterinarians have been touting the use of herbal remedies for anxiety in dogs for years. Herbal remedies are a safe, effective alternative to pharmaceuticals with none of their sometimes deadly side effects.

Herbal Remedies for Separation Anxiety in Dogs

  • St. John's Wort is the herb of choice for separation anxiety. It is available in capsules and as a topical ointment. It can be mixed in the dog's food or water, or fed freehand. It is effective used alone but its effect is boosted when used in conjunction with other herbs such as Valerian and Astragalus. St. John's Wort is a mild anti-depressant and should not be used continuously for extended periods of time.

  • Valerian helps reduce tension and anxiety. It is available as a topical ointment, in capsules and as a powder. Valerian has sedative properties and should not be used continuously for extended periods of time.

  • Astragalus is an ancient Chinese herb whose immune-strengthening properties make it an ideal companion for use with St. John's Wort and Valerian. Astragalus can be used continually for extended periods of time.

Herbal Remedies for Stress and/or Fear Anxiety in Dogs

  • Oats are not commonly thought to be an herbal remedy, but oats stirred into warm water to make oatmeal will be readily consumed by most dogs. It is highly effective in calming nerves, inducing sleep and has the added benefit of essential nutrients. Oats are a safe herb and can be fed for extended periods of time although dog owners should consider its caloric content when fed as part of a dog's regular diet.

  • Chamomile is widely known for it calming effects and can be given as a tea or, if your dog is reluctant to drink the tea, can be used to soak a favorite treat or stirred into the dog's food. Chamomile can be used safely for extended periods of time.

  • Rhododendron herb is not the common garden flower most people would immediately think of but rather a Nepalese plant that only grows in the higher elevations of the Himalayan Mountains. It can be steeped into a tea and its aromatic essential oils can be either rubbed directly on the dog's skin or they can be poured into a shallow holder that allows its scent to permeate the room.

Herbal Essential Oil Remedies for General Anxiety in Dogs

The following essential oils can be used as a topical application directly on the dog's skin or poured into a container and used as aromatherapy by diffusing the oils into the air to help calm stressed, anxious dogs as they breathe them in. They can also be diffused by placing a few drops on a cotton ball or on a tissue placed in front of a fan. Essential oils are also beneficial because they help clean the air.

  • Frankincense

  • Lavender

  • Rose

  • Coriander

  • Clove

  • Spearmint

  • Geranium

  • Balsam fir

  • Juniper

  • Sage

  • Cedar-wood

  • Ginger

While herbal remedies might initially take longer to show results, most of them are safe enough to be used for long periods of time and offer longer lasting, and safer, benefits than comparable pharmaceuticals.