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While training is always your first step, there are natural treatments and herbal calming remedies to help calm and resolve behavior problems in dogs and cats.
Awareness and Training
Before resorting to drugs, confinement or worse, caretakers should look at the environment and determine why the cat or dog is behaving the way they do.
In many cases, you can correct the behavior by eliminating the cause or changing the environment. If a dog is digging holes or barking excessively, he may be telling you he’s bored and needs more stimulation or exercise. If your cat suddenly begins urinating outside the litter box, she may be suffering from a urinary tract infection.
Be aware that the following factors can contribute to behavioral or emotional problems in pets:
- Medical – Diseased gums, joint or muscle pain can turn your previously friendly pooch into an aggressive or surly dog. A visit to the vet may reveal the reasons for changes in your pet’s behavior.
- Stress – A family pet can sense discord in a household and may act jumpy, distrustful or defensive. Evaluate your environment to see if there are ways to alleviate tension so that your companion feels safe and valued as a member of your household.
- Anxiety – Kenneling and travel can produce anxiety in pets. Some pets experience nausea in the car, while others may associate a ride in the car with being left at a kennel or a trip to the vet. This type of anxiety, as well as separation anxiety, can result in a range of unwanted conduct from your pet. Acting in a calm, unhurried manner will help reduce some anxiety. Products containing natural calming herbs such as valerian root, chamomile and passion flower help to sooth the nervous system. Flower essence (Rescue Remedy) have been used successfully for many years to reduce anxiety.
- Jealousy – A new member of the family – a boyfriend, new baby or new kitten or puppy -- can result in jealousy. Extra attention and affection toward your pet can go a long way to prevent unwanted behavior.
- Exercise – Lack of exercise and attention often results in destructive or annoying behavior such as barking, digging or chewing on the wrong things. A daily walk or game of catch provides an outlet for your dog’s energy. And it is good for your health too!
- Loud noises – While you can’t always prevent loud noises, you can reduce the fear or anxiety your pet feels by providing companionship during holiday celebrations or thunderstorms. When that is not possible, natural calming remedies may help calm nervous pets.
- Nutrition – Make sure that your dog or cat is getting a high quality diet with the proper balance of nutrients. For example, an all protein diet can cause anxiety or hyperactivity and chemical additives can lead to aggression or hypersensitivity. If your dog or cat begins behaving badly or has sudden changes in their demeanor, evaluate what they are eating. As the old saying goes, you are what you eat.
Holistic Approach to Calming Pets
In summary, look for the causes of the inappropriate behavior and try to correct them. Rule out medical conditions. Consult with a professional trainer or pet behaviorist. Look for a natural calming remedy that is alcohol-free and contains herbs such as Valerian, Chamomile and vitamins such as Thiamine (B1) which have been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Natural Calming Supplements for Dogs and Cats.