Oils, Herbs, and Supplements
Lavender oil is among the most popular ancient remedies for pet stress. A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) showed it can be effective for dogs with a history of travel anxiety before a long car ride. It’s available over-the-counter, and it’s typically innocuous. “Just put a drop or two on the corner of the blanket or towel your pet will be resting on,” recommends Coates.
It’s hardly the only such oil, and in fact, oils are only a fraction of what’s available for those seeking an ancient stress therapy for their pet. Pet owners can treat doggy stress with melatonin, a hormone that naturally rises in the bloodstream when animals sleep, says Coates. Melatonin may help pets stay calm in the short term (e.g. for a planned trip in the car or before a thunderstorm). A typical dose is around 1 mg per 20 pounds of dog.
Valerian is another commonly recommended herbal remedy that is found in many name-brand stress relief supplements. L-theanine and L-tryptophan supplements are also commonly recommended by veterinarians to help with mild to moderate anxiety, says Coates.
Before using oils, herbs or supplements on your dog, make sure to consult a veterinarian to ensure proper dosage amounts and best practices for administration. Also keep in mind that essential oils can be toxic if ingested, particularly for cats. Do not apply them directly to your pet unless you have first spoken to your veterinarian and keep them in a location where your pet cannot access them.