Mar 14 2015

Anxiety in dogs – thinking outside the box

So many dogs we see suffer from some form of anxiety.  Some dogs I truly believe have a chemical imbalance, and just like some humans, are best with a little pharmaceutical assistance (ie: Prozac, Xanax etc).  Usually these dogs have generalized anxiety and are anxious all of the time.  Dogs come to our practice for more natural solutions, and it is very rare that I think a dog should start one of these drugs.

For years, I have worked to balance dogs internally to help their anxiety and aggression.  Most commonly, I find that dogs are too hot (think “hot and bothered”), too dry, or have liver stagnation (think “angry drunk”).   I have had good success using acupuncture and Chinese herbs for many dogs who are out of balance in some way.

There is however, a whole other category of anxious dog – the dog is perfectly fine most of the time and then has a complete melt-down under stressful situations.  Usually these stressful situations involve loud noises, separation from their owner, or removal from the comfort and safety of their own home.  I have recognized this sort of dog for some time and have been seeking treatment options for them.  They are the dogs who have suffered a traumatic event or very stressful puppyhood (or both).  Many come from shelters or bad homes, some have suffered the loss of their owner or companion.  They are always the same.  They are generally calm even in the vet’s office, have low heart rate, and are generally very sweet and kind natured.

I think I have made sense of these dogs.  They suffer from “Adrenal Fatigue”, a well appreciated problem in humans, especially Americans, and especially those of us who are always moving, always going, and never taking our foot off the gas pedal.  Adrenal fatigue is often compounded by poor diet, for people and dogs.  Your adrenal glands help you deal with physical stress, and when you have been under chronic stress, your adrenal glands can no longer help you cope with stress.

Dogs with adrenal fatigue are perfect most of the time, until the stress hits.  Then they lose their minds.  They enter a complete panic attack, destroying their crate, carpet, or furniture, clawing their way out of a door or wall, or barking and howling incessantly. I use a simple muscle testing technique called Meridian Autonomic Testing to quickly diagnose and treat these dogs.  We also look for other hormone and organ imbalances and treat as needed.  These dogs start about a 3 month regimen of natural nutrition-based supplements to restore healthy adrenal glands and allow them to appropriately deal with normal stresses a dog faces, such as spending time alone and guests coming to the house.  Treating Adrenal Fatigue in dogs has completely revolutionized the way I treat anxiety in my patients.  Do you think your dog may suffer from Adrenal Fatigue?  Has he or she suffered a very stressful time in their life?  Are they calm and sweet and perfect until something stressful happens?  Maybe we can help.

Severe anxiety when away from owner

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