Years ago, one of my dogs used to live under the bed during thunderstorms. Loud noises scared her and I was constantly trying to soothe her and coax her out from her hiding place. For a time, I considered this behavior normal, but then realized there was more I could be doing to help calm her down and relieve her anxiety.
For the sensitive or nervous dog, certain times of the year can be particularly terrifying. Halloween means hordes of noisy, costumed trick-or-treaters coming to the door for hours. Annual holidays like New Year’s Eve mean fireworks for days on end …
… and then of course you’ve got those frightening thunderstorms that can happen any time.
All these things can have your noise-sensitive dog cowering in the basement or hiding under the furniture. Some dogs pace, tremble or even bark with fear … and no amount of reassurance from you can get them to settle …
… but there are other things you can do at home that will really help.
Don’t let your dog’s anxiety stress you out. These are 3 of my favorite natural remedies that should help calm her down, and often in a very short period of time.
Natural Remedies For Your Nervous Dog
#1 CBD Oil
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp. Cannabis plants contain 80 different cannabinoids, including THC (the psychoactive component) and CBD (the medical component). Most CBD oils give you the benefits of CBD without the THC, meaning your dog won’t get that ‘high’ feeling, but she will get that ‘relaxed’ feeling, effectively calming her anxiety.
One of the best things about CBD oil is that you don’t have to wait weeks to see results. If you’re prepping for those trick-or-treaters or know a thunderstorm is coming, you can quickly give your dog a dose and save her the stress.
To use CBD oil for calming, simply give it to your nervous dog orally using the dropper. Since it contains coconut oil, most dogs like the taste. However, if your dog is picky, you can always add it to her food.
- Small breeds 20-60lbs – 5-10 drops, 1-2 times daily.
- Large breeds 60lbs and up – 15-30 drops daily or as needed.
Start with the lowest recommended dose and increase until you see an improvement.
#2 Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic remedies can also really help a noise sensitive or nervous dog.
Try these remedies:
- Phosphorus 30c – This remedy is good for all noise phobias. It can be given once or twice a day.
- Borax 6c – This remedy is specific for fears of thunderstorms and can be given twice a day.
- Aconite 30c – This remedy addresses fear in general and can be given every fifteen minutes during a storm. Continue only until you see improvement. If you do not see improvement, try another remedy.
- Aurum Metallicaum 30c – may also be given once or twice a day to combat most noise sensitivities.
The best way to give these remedies is by mixing 3 of the little pellets in a glass of filtered water (try your best not to touch them). Mix them with a spoon and give your dog a few spoonfuls (or use a clean dropper to put some on her gums). If she’s really resistant to the spoon or dropper idea, you can also just put the pellets in her water bowl.
Avoid giving food 20 minutes before and after the dose and make sure you mix a fresh batch every day as the remedies will only work in the water for 24 hours or so.
Start by giving three doses, 12 hours apart, then stop and wait for a couple of weeks to observe any changes. If she improves, don’t dose again until any symptoms reappear.
#3 Bach Flowers/Flower Essences
Flower remedies are also an excellent choice for thunder phobias and general fear and anxiety.
These ones are specific to dealing with your dog’s anxiety or stress:
- Rock rose helps to calm terror that manifests as trembling, cowering and panting as though the world might end
- Mimulus helps with fears of everyday life – strange places, the dark, and strangers or crowds
- Larch helps to cultivate bravery and courage along with emotional security
A perfect blend for Halloween or July 4th (or really any time your dog is stressed) is Rescue Remedy. It contains 5 single flower essences and can help with all kinds of stressful situations for your dog. It can be given every 15 minutes until she starts to calm.
To give your dog flower essences, you can add 2-3 drops of any or all of these to her water bowl, directly onto her tongue, or even apply it to her paws or ears.
You can give these flower essences straight from the stock bottle, but making up a treatment bottle will actually make your remedy last longer and will reduce the risk of contaminating the stock bottle if you accidentally touch your dog’s mouth or tongue with the glass dropper when dosing.
How to make a flower essence treatment bottle:
- Get a clean 30 ml amber glass dropper bottle
- Put 2 drops of your selected remedy into it
- To blend more than one remedy, add two drops of each remedy
- Top up with spring water (don’t use distilled water)
- To preserve it, add ½ tsp of brandy
So, next time the forecast or calendar suggests an occasion for fear, hit the stress head-on with these easy at-home remedies. Your dog trusts you to protect her, and that means from both the scary thunder or fireworks and those menacing clowns and witches that keep coming to the front door. These 3 at-home remedies will help you do just that.
Note: For dogs who have ongoing issues with over-sensitivity, it’s a good idea to consult a homeopathic veterinarian. They can do a thorough case analysis of your dog, taking into account her overall state, including her health history, personality and behavior. The right remedy can bring permanent positive change on all levels – physical, mental and emotional. Chronic health issues will also disappear, as they are part of the animal’s overall health picture. You can find a homeopathic vet at theavh.org and many will do phone consults, so they don’t have to be local. When searching the directory, it’s a good idea to use the search filter 75-100% homeopathy cases so you find a more experienced homeopath.