Helping Our Stressed Pets

By Dr. Alison Pollard

“My dog is so nervous at the groomer.”

“Fluffy is terrified of thunderstorms.”

”My cat pees on my bed every time we have company.”

“My new puppy is destroying everything in my house when I leave.”

These are common issues we see everyday at the veterinary hospital. In some cases, there is a real medical problem underlying the obvious stress. However, in others, fear and phobias can result in remarkable behavioural changes. Recently, a number of natural, non-pharmaceutical, over-the-counter options have become available to us. Some are similar to human medications. Others are more veterinary-specific. Many are worth trying if your pet has anxiety problems.

One new product is called Zylkene®. It is derived from casein, a milk protein. It is considered to be hypoallergenic, so it is safe for animals with allergies. Also, there have been no noted side effects or sedation from this product. It is ideal to start treating 1-2 days before you expect a stressful event (like Canada Day fireworks) and it can be used daily for 1-2 months or longer if necessary. Zylkene® is available in 3 convenient doses for cats and dogs of all shapes and sizes. From personal experience with my noise-phobic old Border Collie, Della, I can say that Zylkene® really does work! I always have a bottle when we travel or there is a thunderstorm coming.

A nice product to try when giving pills proves difficult is KalmAid®. It is a caramel-flavoured liquid which has a pre-measured pump on the bottle. KalmAid® contains L-tryptophan, an amino acid which affects serotonin levels… it’s the reason we get so sleepy after Christmas turkey dinner! KalmAid® should be given 1-2 hours before the expected anxious event, and can also be continued for months if necessary

Rescue Remedy® is an older homoeopathic treatment we now have available in the hospital. It is made from the essences of five flowers. You simply put the recommended number of drops (or sprays) into the animal’s mouth, food or water as needed.

Medi-Cal/Royal Canin® “Calm” diets for cats and for dogs contain hydrolyzed milk protein AND tryptophan. These are balanced diets for healthy adults and can help those with stress related digestive, skin and urinary disorders.

Anxiety and stress are very, very common with our pets, from puppies with separation anxiety to adults with noise phobias to our senior pets with dementia. Sometimes they are severe enough to disrupt our bonds with our pets. We regularly receive feedback from clients who have tried these treatments and are ASTOUNDED by the changes they see. Please, come in and ask us about these options for your pets. They are safe, affordable and very effective!!