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Science-Backed Supplements for Keeping Anxious Dogs Relaxed

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

While training is crucial for addressing anxiety triggers long-term, supplements can provide additional support for keeping dogs calm in the moment. Let’s explore some research-backed calming aids.


A blister pack of pink and yellow capsules is partially punched open, with two pills removed from their foil backing. Four intact pink and yellow capsules remain sealed in their individual pill blisters. This illustrates nutraceutical calming supplements, such as Zylkene or Anxitane, which provide natural anti-anxiety compounds shown to reduce stress in dogs when given before known triggers.

Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP)


One well-studied option is Dog Appeasing Pheromone, or DAP. This synthetic pheromone mimics natural chemicals mother dogs produce to soothe and comfort puppies. Multiple studies confirm DAP’s anti-anxiety effects.


How it Works:


DAP contains pheromones that activate receptors in the dog’s brain linked to relaxation and confidence. This provides immediate, odourless stress relief.


Benefits:

  • Reduces vocalization and restlessness

  • Eases reactions to triggers like loud noises

  • Lessens travel anxiety when sprayed in carriers

  • Promotes relaxation in new environments

  • Helps socially anxious dogs engage with unfamiliar people


DAP comes in diffusers, sprays, and collars. Give at least 30 minutes to take effect.


Probiotic Supplements


Certain probiotic strains like Purina Veterinary Supplements Calming Care have anti-anxiety benefits by influencing gut-brain connections. The strain BL999 reduces cortisol and improves behavior per studies.


How it Works:


BL999 helps regulate GABA, a calming neurotransmitter, while limiting gut inflammation tied to anxiety. The combined neurological and digestive effects reduce stress.


Benefits:

  • Lowers reactivity and fear around triggers

  • Aids excitable, impulsive dogs

  • Safe for daily use

  • Also supports digestion


Consult your vet on proper dosing.


Nutraceutical Treats


Nutraceuticals like Zylkene and Anxitane contain natural compounds shown to reduce anxiety. However, some ingredients like Zylkene’s alpha-casozepine only have evidence for reducing general anxiety, not providing short-term situational relief.

Consult your vet on appropriate applications.


In general, these treats increase serotonin and lower stress hormones for improved mood and focus. Follow dosing instructions carefully based on your dog’s weight.


Limitations of Research


While research on anti-anxiety pet supplements is growing, data on product quality, efficacy, and safety is still limited. There is more evidence on some ingredients than commercially available products. Results vary across manufacturers. Discuss using supplements cautiously with your vet.


The Takeaway


Utilizing scientifically-backed supplements alongside training can provide additional anxiety relief on top of behavioral modification. But always consult your vet before starting any new supplement. With the right multi-pronged approach customized to your dog's needs, you can help them take each stressful moment in stride.


 

While supplements can take the edge off, addressing your dog's anxiety fully requires an integrated training approach. As a certified professional dog trainer, I create customized behavior modification programs using proven techniques like desensitization, counterconditioning, and positive reinforcement.


If your dog struggles with specific phobias, reactivity, separation anxiety, or generalized anxiety, I can provide tailored solutions. My science-based training protocols get to the root of the problem while prioritizing your dog's emotional wellbeing.


Ready to help your anxious dog gain confidence? Click here to learn more about my personalized anxiety training services. Let's schedule a consultation to create a comprehensive plan incorporating the ideal supplements and training strategies for your unique needs. The path to peace begins now!

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