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Hi, I am planning on using some different suppliments for Titus to help with his anxiety. The problem appears to be mostly genetic, compounded by the fact that we got him at 15 weeks, relatively unsocialized. I've been using cbd oil, and Valerian, with some success, but, according to what I've read, you can't use Valerian all the time without a break, so I'm looking for a good alternative. I'm adding Ashwaganda to his diet, but I'm not really sure how much he would need.

Has anyone used specific herbs, homeopathics, and/or flower essences for anxiety and fear in their dog and had really good success? Like, equal to or better than drug therapy? He's had Trazodone, and so far, that's the only way we can take him in the car for more than 10 minutes or so. I can't get more of that right now, he's so terrified of the vet, I'm researching new vets, and doing muzzle training now, but because he is so sensitive about having new things put on him, the trainer said it would probably take a while.
 

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Here are 2 products that I have used in the past:


These supplements are SPECIFIC to the MANUFACTURER & NAME.


Rx NutriCalm Capsules: https://www.professionalsupplementcenter.com/NutriCalm-for-Dogs-by-Rx-Vitamins-for-Pets.htm?

NutriCalm for Dogs was designed to help enhance serotonin dependent behavior in dogs. Animals with a range of behavior issues, such as thunderphobia, hyperactivity, nervousness, fear of travel, fear of vet’s office, psychogenic dermatitis, hair pulling, excessive licking and psychogenic diarrhea will benefit from the use of this formula. This formula has found itself to be very useful as an adjunct to behavior modification therapy.
NutriCalm for Dogs can also be very helpful with short term anxiety situations such as travel by car or plane, trips to the vets, the groomers, and other social situations where the animal’s anxiety can pose a problem.

(The above product contains Ashwaganda and Valerian)


Prof. Complementary Health Formulas - Tranquil Complex https://www.professionalsupplementcenter.com/Tranquil-Complex-by-Professional-Complementary-Health-Formulas.htm


Yes, you should "Pulse" your supplements (5 days on, 2 days off).
You could use one during the week and one on the weekends.


DO NOT USE IF USING DRUG THERAPY.


The flower essences are very short lived.



Moms :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I'll look into both of those. So, if I were to use the suppliments regularly, it would be a bad idea to give him the trazodone for a car ride? I wasn't aware that would be a problem.
 

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bOzne OTC that a vet behaviorist (DVM/ACVBM) recommended for one of our rescue's anxious dogs is Solliiquin, a product made by Nutramax (the same org that makes Dasuquin for joints). Nutramax is well-respected by vets for quality control and evidence-based ingredients -- given how terrible the quality of the pet supplement industry is, that matters to me.

HOWEVER, Solliqun must be used together with a behavioral modification program (counter-conditioning) -- thowing a pill at the dog to solve the problem won't work. The reason you use an anti-anxiety supplement (or med) is to get better access to the part of the brain that responds to counter-conditioning. Counter-conditioning is hard to accomplish when the dog is in fight-or-flight because information cannot move into long-term memory. The supplements or meds help us calm the dog so that training can work.

You can find Solliquin on Amazon and other OTC pet supply sites. Here's the manufacturer's page:
https://www.solliquin.com/

You can learn about counter-conditioning from Patricia McConnel's site:

https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/learning-center . The Karen Prior Academy certified trainers also specialize in it -- many obedience trainers do not.

There's a specialized vet-RX probiotic formula called Calming Care that has some research showing the proprietary probiotic in it helps with anxiety. Your vet can order it for you, but you'll need their okay to get it.

Lastly, I think you need the owner part of this website (with its helpful instructional videos), and you may even want to consider finding him a Fear-Free certified vet in the directory on the site:
https://fearfreepets.com/

(My own long-time vet got certified and then got the clinic staff certified in fear-free handling. The difference in handling techniques was remarkable. It's a really different way to practice -- good stuff!)
 

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Anxiety is inversely proportional to exercise.

Research has found that many humans could toss their anxiety meds if they would get appropriate exercise.

Exercise has a profound impact on mental and emotional well being by naturally producing anti stress and anti anxiety hormonal changes in the brain.

How much and what kind of exercise are you providing for your dog? What outlets are you providing for its inherent drives? I would explore these two avenues first. There are no natural remedies that should ever be taken nonstop without breaks. Keep in mind that for each and every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. No drug, natural or prescription, is without side effects.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am currently using the method in Patricia McConnell's book The Cautious Canine to counter condition him, along with help from a local behaviorist. We are definitely not trying to just throw a pill at his problems.
He won't take a treat in or near the car, and we've been working on it constantly for months. I think the car ride home from the breeder traumatized him badly, he was totally petrified the whole way home, and it was a 6 hour drive.
The dog reactivity is getting a lot better though. I have contacted the fear free vets in the area, but I can't afford the prices (at least here, they average around double to triple the normal price for any service), so that might not happen. I give him CBD oil everyday, and I notice a difference when I don't. I use Valerian for more stressful situations, but the only thing that works for car rides is the trazodone, without it, he throws up after about 30 minutes. I'm hoping to find a natural substitute for car rides.
Interestingly, the Trazodone doesn't make much of a difference for when we have people over, or for dog reactivity, for that the Valerian is just as effective. I can give him Ashwaganda alone, as I already have the powder, I just can't find any info on the dosing for dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I provide him with 2, 30-40 minute brisk walks daily, 2-3, 15 minute fetch sessions, 2-4, 5-10 minute tug sessions, 2-4, 5-10 minute obedience training sessions. He also has puzzle toys and chew toys. His anxiety is basically non existent in absence of triggers (car rides, other dogs, visitors), he's pretty layed back in the house. He's not my first working GSD, he's my 3rd, plus I've had other high energy working breeds. His complete lack of socialization before 15 weeks probably has a lot to do with it.
 

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I would up off leash fast paced exercise and cut back on some of the other things you are doing. Every dog is different but what you are doing would not satisfy any of my dogs.

Have you tried just putting him in the car, leaving the door open, and then taking him out? Rinse and repeat, after he seems comfortable with that, keep upping the ante, next time close the door, as he desensitizes, try things like starting the engine then shutting it off, move on to starting the engine and letting the car run for a minute and then shut it off. Keep building on it. Take it slow. Desensitization is a process that takes time. There are no substitutes.
 

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Does he have motion sickness?
I have motion sickness and I don't know if your dog just gets disoriented and uncomfortable by the movement and seeing things move out the window. As a kid it was really bad - as a driver, it's better for me now. I just thought about it because you said he'll throw up after about 30 min. I've been there, done that...
 

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You can counter-condition with the destination instead of treats -- but keep the rides very short (not 6 hours) and frequent (several times a week). Frequent, very short drives to a dog-park or safe, fenced field for a rousing game of fetch turned into a great reward for one of mine that didn't like to ride but loved to fetch off-leash. Now he thinks every ride means going somewhere super-fun, so he's happy.


Frequent, short rides (like just around the block, to start out) help de-condition the nausea some dogs get too. I had one that always hurled in the car on short local trips who now can ride cross-country on multi-day car trips -- we worked him from trips around the block to short trips to good places.
 

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So, if I were to use the suppliments regularly, it would be a bad idea to give him the trazodone for a car ride? I wasn't aware that would be a problem.

Trazodone is an antidepressant that effects chemicals in the brain. The type of supplements I suggested, mixed with trazadone can cause adverse effects:

Example: "Using trazodone together with valerian may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating." (per drugs.com)
 
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