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Shiny Happy Pets Issue

barks feature You may think your pet’s life is all fun and games, but for many it’s far more complicated than just sleepytime and Snausages®. Anxiety can wreak havoc on your dog’s nerves (not to mention your furniture!) as he experiences stress triggers like long hours at home alone, thunderstorms or unexpected guests. Luckily, there are treatments for anxiety in dogs — and they aren’t all pharmaceutical. Natural remedies, holistic approaches and visits with a veterinarian or behaviorist can help even the most petrified pooch become a cooler cucumber. Our pets’ emotions are influenced by everything from the food we feed them to the scents they smell. And while not every pet or problem can be managed without prescription medications, finding the right balance between structured daily routines, ample aerobic activity, dietary supplements, behavior modification training and natural remedies can help control many problems — and get your pet back to the top of his game. Exercise is the only treat- ment proven to regulate and stabilize all three major brain chemicals simultaneously (norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin), so anxiety-ridden dogs usually experience some reduction in symptoms from daily aerobic activity. If your dog suffers from stress, fear, aggression or any other emotional issue, set aside some time to walk, jog, run or play each day for 30 minutes or more. Exercise is an essential element of therapy, and it is the first recommendation I make to treat the majority of behavioral problems I see. An exercise regimen also creates a routine, which fearful or anxious dogs and cats need. Structured activities provide stability, and an elevated heart rate triggers the release of comforting chemicals in the body. A minimum of 20 minutes of sustained activity is needed for most pets (and humans) to gain these mood-boosting effects. There’s a reason people say, “A tired dog is a happy dog.” It’s true! Food can play a major role in how our pets behave. In fact, recent science has shown that foods rich in tryptophan — like chicken, fish and turkey — have a profound effect on brain chemistry and mood. The secret’s in the serotonin (that brain chemical believed to be responsible for feelings of happiness), which is move ahead 2 spaces try a diet high derived from tryptophan. If you’ve ever felt contentment and sleepiness after eating Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve experienced the soothing science of serotonin. Feeding an anxious dog or cat tryptophan-rich foods or adding a dietary supplement can help calm the crazy. Another supplement I believe helps behavior problems in dogs and cats is an essential fatty acid found in fish and algal oils: docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. While there’s less scientific evidence that DHA is effective in treating anxiety, there’s an increasing body of research demonstrating its value in improving overall brain function. If your pet is experiencing aggression or stress-related disorders, talk to your vet about adding DHA to your pet’s dinner. When it comes to calming scents, the nose knows it pays to use essential oils. Lavender oil is one of my personal favorites — I’ve diffused this soothing scent in my boarding kennels to calm pets during hurricanes, placed a few drops on the bedding in my dog’s crate during travel, and rubbed it underneath the collars of dogs experiencing thunderstorm phobia. Cats can relax with a few sniffs of stress-easing valerian oil. Valerian has been used as a natural sedative in pets and people for centuries, and is available in both oil and oral forms. Essential oils extracted from plants for healing have been a medical mainstay throughout recorded history (but unless specified, don’t let your pets lick or drink these oils; they can be harmful if swallowed). Start here exercise is elementary pay day unwind at bliss u the shiny happy pets issue 49


Shiny Happy Pets Issue
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