Dog Stress | Holistic Paws = Waggy Tails

Is Your Dog Nervous or Anxious?

Is your dog nervous, anxious or fearful at times? There are many causes of anxiety from pack hierarchy confusion, thunderstorms, loud noises, separation anxiety, boredom, and a poor diet.

If your dog has separation anxiety or pack leadership issues seek a trained animal behavourist/trainer.  A well trained dog that knows his/ her place in the house with you as the ALPHA Dog will be more confident and less stressed. This is very important, as the stress may just come from the dog not knowing their place so a specialised training program would help rectify this.

Here are some natural tips and hints for dealing with anxiety, nervousness, fear and stress.  


  • Massage – a calming soothing massage can help to relieve stress and tension,  It also provides touch and comfort in those stressful times.
  • Kinesiology – Balances focusing on fear and anxiety help reintegrate brain pathways to calm the nervous system, reduce survival emotions and adrenal response.
  • Acupressure – Many points are used for anxiety e.g.: GB13 and GV24.  Acupressure is a common correction technique used in Kinesiology.


A good diet may also help reduce stress and anxiety.  For many dogs diet has been at the root of their behavioural and emotional distress.  

  • Amino acids which are the building blocks of protein release serotonin (happy hormones). So a diet higher in proteins and less carbohydrates will mean a happier dog.
  • Green Tea can calm your dog as it releases L-Theanine another amino acid that is known to calm, relax and help your dog sleep.
  • Vitamin C – when dogs are stressed or anxious their reserves of vitamin C are depleted. Vitamin C helps dogs cope with stress.  You can give your dog apples, kiwi fruit or sweet potatoes.  If using a supplement do not use the human variety.  The best form is the salt forms, known as mineral ascorbates (calcium ascorbate and sodium ascorbate) as they are easily digested.
  • B-Vitamins – B1, B3, B6, B9 and B12 aid the body to reduce stress.  The vitamins work together and have different roles ranging from mood regulation, nerve health, digestive support, sugar levels, immune support, and serotonin levels.


  • Bach Rescue remedy – It contains 5 flower remedies that are known for their calming effects especially in times of distress, shock and trauma.  Place 4 drops on their gums.
  • Chamomile – is a mild sedative and can also help with upset stomachs at the same time.  Make as a normal tea for your dog (add honey to help with taste) and serve cooled or at room temperature.  Or you could try soaking their favourite treat in it.
  • Lemon Balm – is also a sedative and a mild anti-depressant.  Make a lemon balm tea for your dog.  Use 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped fresh leaves or two tablespoons dried herbs.  Cover the tea and let it stand until room temperature.  If they don’t like it as a tea add it to food, water or use in a broth. Give 2 tablespoons of tea per 20 pounds of body weight two to three times a day.
  • Oatstraw – is another calming solution for the nervous system.  It can calm a nervous dog or stimulate a depressed one.  Use dried oatstraw and brew it into a tea (one teaspoon in a cup of water) that can be mixed into your dog’s food. Dosing is a 1/4 to 1/2 cup daily.  Reduce the amount given if excitability or vomiting occurs.

Adaptogenic herbs like Siberian ginseng, Astragalus and Organic ginseng can be used continually but in moderation to help with stress.  They help to improve the dog’s coping mechanisms allowing them to better adapt to life’s stressors.  

You can also use sedative type herbs like valerian, skullcap, kava kava, hops and passionflower.  These should be limited to temporary use and not continually.  Many of them can be combined as well for more effective results.  Seek professional advice before administering to your pet.


  • Pulsatilla  – good for clingy emotional dogs usually that suffer from separation anxiety
  • Aconite – good for anxiety, fear and restlessness in sudden times of stress like Thunderstorms.
  • Calc phos – good for nervous dogs that tend to become destructive.


Aromatherapy can also be very beneficial for your pet.  Always use 100% pure essential oils and make sure your dog is not allergic to them and they are diluted.  Do not use oils on females in first trimester of pregnancy. 

Some oils that are known to have calming effects for your dog include Lavendar, Melissa, Neroli and Roman Chamomile. Add any one or an equal combination of two of these hydrosols to a spray bottle and spray the room and/or the dog.  You can also use oils on bedding and clothing.    

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