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Do Supplements Really Reduce Anxiety in Pets?

                                                             Do supplements really reduce anxiety in pets?

Anxiety is a common concern in our companion animals.  Many things can cause our pets to be fearful—loud noises, other animals, being left alone, visits to the vet, travel, etc.  Signs of anxiety may include panting, drooling, hiding, and urinating in inappropriate places among other signs. Early socialization and training are key to resolving many types of anxiety; however, sometimes pets may benefit from a little help in the form of supplements or medications.  There are several commercial supplements that may help reduce mild anxiety in pets. Let’s learn more.

Zylkene is a natural supplement containing a milk protein called alpha-casozepine or casein which has calming properties—it is sold as a capsule that can be administered whole or opened and sprinkled in food. Zylkene reduces anxiety without causing sedation.  While it can be used for acute anxiety, Zylkene may work better to reduce anxiety if given over several days or weeks. There are no listed side effects and it can be used safely with other medications in both cats and dogs.

Solliquin is a chewable supplement containing L-theanine, magnolia and phellodendron extracts and whey protein to calm pets.  It is available for dogs and cats  L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea which stimulates alpha brain waves causing a state of deep relaxation. Magnolia/phellodendron work together to reduce stress and anxiety and whey proteins can help form more serotonin. Side effects are minimal.

Purina Calming Care is a probiotic powder that containing a strain of beneficial gut bacteria in dogs which is mixed into the food daily.  This strain of bacteria has been proven to reduce stress by acting on a somewhat complicated body system known as the gut-brain axis.  Healthy intestinal bacteria can affect neurotransmitters in the brain which in turn help dogs to stay calm.  This supplement is not available for cats.

Adaptil is a synthetic version of a pheromone or chemical signal that is produced by mother dogs to calm their puppies.  Adaptil comes in a collar, a spray and a wall plug-in to spread the pheromone into the dog’s environment.  Feliway is a feline pheromone—a synthetic version of a cat’s cheek gland secretion which has a happy, calming effect on cats. Feliway is also available as a spray or plug-in.

All of these supplements are safe with relatively few, if any, side effects.  However, check with your vet before starting any supplements, especially if your pet has any health issues and discontinue use if your pet has any adverse symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.  While they do not help with more severe cases of anxiety, they might be just the thing for pets with mildly anxious behavior, to try to prevent or reduce anxiety in pets who are riding in the car, visiting the vet, etc. or may help to lower doses of anti-anxiety drugs needed when used together with medications.

This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving Red Lion, York and the surrounding communities.