We have a dog with anxiety.
Almost three months ago, we adopted our first family dog, Gianna, from an amazing rescue just north of Toronto in Canada. Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary had rescued Gianna (along with roughly 200 other dogs) from a shelter in Israel. We guessed that her life before Canada was largely lived on the streets. Her skin shows signs of dog fights, perhaps a pregnancy, plus she has some broken teeth. But Gianna was so sweet, and calm, I just knew she was meant to be a part of our family. Gianna was amazing and adapted quickly to our family and home, however, her anxieties presented themselves immediately. In my research, dealing with dog anxiety is fairly common. However, dealing with dog anxiety naturally (and without breaking the bank) is another story.
Natural Solutions to Dog Anxiety:
After doing some research on pharmaceutical options, a pill didn’t seem like the right choice for us. Simply put, there was a long list of side effects that did not seem worth the risk. Plus, let’s be real, natural options are more my style. I have several essential oils that I tend to keep on hand so I started to look into how I could use these to help with dog anxiety.
*** Side Note: It is important to do research before trying essential oil therapy (or any therapy really) for dogs. Remember that just because something can be good for humans, does not automatically make it safe for animals. Also make sure to use therapeutic grade oils only.
However, what I learned was that many essential oils have been shown to have lots of desirable effects for dogs and cats! YAY!
Let’s Talk Lavender:
Lavender is a gentle and safe essential oil for dogs and cats. It has antibacterial and anti-itch properties making it great for the skin. And along with aiding in stress relief, it can also be used as a natural repellent from fleas and ticks. Also, did I mention it makes your dog smell amazing?
There are several different ways to make lavender work for you and your dog. While I do like a spray, Gianna does not, so I opt for mixing 5-10 drops of lavender with a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a great carrier oil and has the benefits of improving the skin and coat.
When we have a stressful event (like a car ride in our case) I prepare Gianna about 20 minutes ahead of time. I start by massaging the coconut and lavender into the skin around her ears and head. I then rub a little into her belly. I’m not saying this is a magical cure, BUT it does help ease the stress and minimize the impact of the anxiety, at least in our experience. For example, less drooling once in the car and no diarrhea afterwards, both of which were classic signs of Gianna’s anxiety.
Other uses for the lavender and coconut oil combo include:
- thunder and lightning storms
- separation anxiety
- new visitors
- new environments
Try it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments!