Summer means festivities, get-togethers, fireworks and thunderstorms. While we might enjoy a brilliant firework display, getting together with friends around a campfire or a loud, electrifying thunderstorm our pets might think otherwise. If your pet is scared, uneasy or anxious over the summer there are many products (most over the counter) that can be used to relax and support your pet though the summer weather, events and celebrations.
Feliway (for cats)/ Adaptil (for dogs)
Feliway is a product that mimics the facial pheromones that a cat places on objects to confirm that an object or area is safe and familiar. These cat-appeasing pheromones help your cat feel comforted and safe, allowing them to be calmer stressful situations. Feliway is available as a spray and electric diffuser. Feliway is usually the first recommended item to try if your cat is stressed or anxious. The spray and diffuser can be used each on their own or together for greater benefit.
Adaptil is a product that mimics the natural appeasing pheromone that mother dogs emit to comfort and reassure their puppies. This calming pheromone has the same reassuring effect on adult dogs. Adaptil can help dogs of all ages feel safe and secure in any situation and manage and reduce unwanted stress and related behaviors. Adaptil is available as a collar, diffuser and spray. These products can be used individually or in combination with each other for greater benefit.
Spray: The spray can be used during times of stress and is ideal for “on the go” applications such as preparing the kennel or vehicle for travel, or for increasing comfort levels in specific areas of your house. Simply spray the room, kennel or pet bed (do not apply the spray directly to your pet) and in about 15 minutes it will create a comforting environment. The effects of the spray should last 4-6 hours and can be renewed by re-spraying the area.
Diffuser: Plug the electric diffuser into the room where your pet spends the most time. The diffuser provides continuous diffusion for up to 4 weeks, and will cover about 500 sq. feet. Multiple diffusers can be placed in your household to provide a calming atmosphere throughout the entire house. The diffuser is a two part kit. The diffuser itself and the cartridge. The diffuser should be replaced every 6 months. Single Feliway or Adaptil cartridges can be bought as refills as needed.
Collar (Adaptil only): The collar is the preferred product for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors or for long distance travel as there is no need for an electrical outlet or reapplication. Adjust the collar snugly and remember to check the fit regularly. Replace the collar every 4 weeks.
Both Feliway and Adaptil can be used together in a multi-pet home. The Feliway will have no effect on your dog and vice versa as they are formulated to be species specific.
The Thunder Shirt is designed to provide a calming effect when your pet experiences stress, fear or nervousness. The Thunder Shirt is available for both cats and dogs. The shirt works by delivering a constant pressure to create a dramatic calming effect, it gives your pet a constant “hug” of security, giving them a heightened sense of self awareness, therefore increasing confidence and calmness. The shirt is fully adjustable for a snug, comfortable fit, all you need to do is put the Thunder Shirt on, and no training to wear the shirt is needed. The shirt can be worn both before and during a stressful situation to help your pet feel calm.
Tromos is a flower essence remedy that can help to ease stress and stabilize the emotions during times of stress and upset. It is sourced naturally from English wildflowers of Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose and Clematis. Tromos is available in a dropper bottle, which can be given to your pet directly on the tongue or added to the water bowl. Tromos is safe to use for both cats and dogs and even humans!
Mellows are available as a soft chewable tablet or liquid formulation. This product helps maintain a normal, balanced emotional and mental state in your dog or cat. It contains L-Theanine, Colostrum Calming Complex, Valerian Root, EPA and DHA. To achieve a calming effect, give mellows 30-60 minutes prior to a situation to which your pet may react stressfully. Mellows can be given for 1-2 days before a planned event, such as travel or fireworks. The mellows are intended for short term or occasional use, please discuss long term use with your veterinarian.
Ubacalm is a liquid supplement that has been specially formulated to help pets that may experience behavioral problems as a result of the environment or other situations that may cause anxiety or fear. Ubacalm is a combination of L-tryptophan, Valerian, Polygonum multiforum, Zizyphus jujuba and Albizia kalkora. It also contains EPA, DHA and vitamins A, D and E. Ubacalm is easily administered orally or can be mixed with food.
Anzio-VM is a liquid formulation that contains Fleece Flower Stem, Chinese Arborvitae Seed, Chinese Jujube Seed, Valerian Root, Passionflower Herb and Silk Tree Bark. This product has mild sedative actions that support the central nervous system in dogs and cats exhibiting anxiousness, nervousness, hyperactivity, discontentment or responding to environmentally-induced stress. Anzio-VM supports balanced behavior, promotes relaxation, and maintains calmness.
Nutrazyl is a fast acting nutritional support product for stress and anxiety, it is formulated to naturally calm anxious cats and dogs and to help reduce unwanted or unruly behavior. It contains L-Tryptophan, GABA, L-Theanine, Passiflora Incarnata and B Vitamins. It comes in a capsule that can be given by mouth or broken open and mixed with food. Nutazyl should be administered 1-2 hours before the desired effect is required.
Calming Care Probiotic
Calming Care contains a strain of probiotic that is shown to help dogs maintain calm behavior. It works by blunting the cortisol response during stressful events. This supplement works best when used daily on a consistent basis and can take 6-8 weeks to see results. Simply mix the contents of a packet into the food once daily or mix with water and give orally.
Royal Canin Calm Diet
The Royal Canin Calm Diet has been specially formulated to assist in the management of stress and anxiety in cats and small dogs. It provides nutritional support for pets in stressful situations. It will also help with stress related digestive and skin disorders. This diet is formulated with milk protein hydrolysate and supplemental tryptophan and nicotinamide, which create a calming effect. This diet should be fed for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to encountering a stressful situation and it may take up to 12 weeks to see a response in high stress pets already in a stressful situation.
Zylkene is a nutritional supplement for dogs and cats that helps to reduce chronic and situational stress and increases their ability to cope with change. Zylkene is an all-natural, non-sedating nutritional supplement that reduces the signs of stress without any known side effects. It is given once daily and comes in a capsule form, which can be opened and mixed into your pet’s food if necessary. Zylkene contains Alpha-S1 Tryptic Casein, which is an ingredient derived from a milk protein which has calming properties, promoting and enhancing relaxed behavior in pets. Zylkene can be used 1-2 days before a stressful event, or long term for up to 1-2 months.
The process of homeopathy uses diluted potentiated solutions from a variety of plant, animal and mineral sources to treat health concerns including fear, stress or anxiousness. The goal of homeopathy in a stressful situation is to stimulate the body’s own immune system and healing processes to facilitate calming. Deciding on the best homeopathic remedy to help your pet deal with stress is facilitated by a veterinarian. An appointment will be needed if you are interested in pursuing homeopathy for your pet.
Acepromazine is a prescription medication and is a common sedative given to pets. It is not usually used to manage long term stress, but is effective for short term or situational stress use such as travel or before a veterinary appointment. It acts on the dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine transmits emotion signals from cell to cell and by blocking these receptors, prevents pets from exhibiting extreme fear or anxiety. The effects typically last 6-8 hours. It is more effective to give this drug 45-60 minutes before your pet is expected to display any anxious behavior. If you give it to your cat or dog when they are already in an anxious state of mind, this medication may not work, or only work to a lesser extent. This medication should not be used in pets with kidney, liver or heart disease or those with low blood pressure.
Gabapentin is a prescription medication that is typically used for pain and seizure management, but it is also works as a treatment for anxiety in cats and dogs. Due to its calming effect on the nervous system it is shown to be an effective treatment for providing mild sedation and managing short term or situational stress. Gabapentin acts as a nervous system ‘dampener’, meaning that the connections in the brain responsible for pain, seizures and anxiety are temporarily blocked, leading to a decrease in these symptoms. It is most effective to give this drug 2 hours before your pet is expected to display any anxious behavior and the effects typically last around 4-6 hours.