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Friday, September 23, 2011

Take A Chill Pill, Pup!

Thanks for joining me as we explore the ways we can help our favorite pets get over their fears and anxieties. In the last email we covered how offering a special snack or distracting your dog with a tasty treat during stressful times can help take his mind off the worry. For a lot of dogs, that's enough, especially if you're able to catch their anxious moments early enough.

For some dogs, though, these tricks just won't do it. Particularly nervous dogs might simply ignore a treat, or worse, vomit after eating it. Highly anxious dogs like this might sometimes require intervention in the form of medication.

A popular over-the-counter choice is melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep patterns. Taking melatonin is said to have a positive effect on mood and to have a calming influence. Melatonin is a natural product that can be purchased in the vitamin aisle of nearly every drug store, but just because it's natural and available over the counter doesn't mean it's the right choice for your dog. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pup any medications.

Another option for fearful dogs is benadryl. This drug, also available over the counter, is used to treat allergies in both humans and dogs. However, one of the major side effects is sleepiness, which can counteract an anxiety attack. Again, check with your vet before giving any animal benadryl or any other medication.

Finally, severely anxious dogs may benefit from taking anti-depressants. Just like their humans, dogs can have a chemical imbalance that causes them to be depressed and anxious, and this imbalance can be controlled with the use of prescription medications. Ask your vet about the options available for your dog if he or she isn't responding to other treatments.

Come back tomorrow for another tip!

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