Dealing with an anxiety ridden dog who is fearful, reactive, stressed and has severe separation anxiety is not easy. As I’ve discovered, there’s no such thing as a simple solution and the only way to solve the problems would be with lots of help, lots of different tactics and tons of patience.
Today’s post focusses on the beginnings of tackling Phoebe’s physiological responses. I had been focussing on the behavioural and psychological needs she had, but the progress was so slow and things needed to speed up for her own well-being, as well as the increasingly antsy neighbours’. I feared we had reached a plateau and needed a bit of oomph to get the momentum back. So I decided it was time to cart her off to the Vet to see if there could be any other medical causes or interventions we should be looking at.
The Vet told me that my options are to try herbal medications as they have been reported to be very successful if the issues are mild and coupled with behavioural adjustments, but failing that, his recommendation would be for a more clinical solution – Canine Prozac. We discussed how severe her symptoms were, and he was very impressed that I was working with a Behaviourist and all the interventions I was trying. I have to be honest and say that what he said really made me glow with happiness – when you’re so full of doubt, it’s really uplifting to receive praise from a respected professional!
Though the Vet was firm in his recommendation of starting a course of Prozac, I told him I still wasn’t certain that I wanted to go down that route and would prefer to first try some of the herbal or natural products on offer.
After a quick exam to make sure her system wasn’t physically or medically strained the Vet recommended that I go to a Natural Health store and stock up on Rescue Remedy and other specially formulated tonics aimed at Anxiety and Stress Relief. In the meantime he offered me some ‘CalmEze’ that they stocked.
This Caramel-flavoured paste is to be administered an hour before the expected anxiety-related event, and supposedly promotes calmness. This tonic is basically a vitamin booster focussing on the ‘B’ vitamins. After a month of using this daily I unfortunately have to say that this is one of the few intervening remedies that did not work in the slightest.
I’ve tried it before leaving for work, before training classes, before going to parks where I know there will be lots of other dogs, before storms and more. Other “parents” in our Dog Class also said that they tried this before, and they too saw no improvement in anxiety levels during stressful times.
The only positive outcome I can see is that though Phoebe doesn’t really like having the oozing liquid forced down her throat, she still seems to think the sweet taste is a satisfying reward for having her mouth violated so rudely.
Phoebe’s Effectiveness Summary:
Issue Addressed: Separation Anxiety, Fear
Tool(s) Used: All natural CalmEze
Ease of Implementation: Easy (Assuming your dog doesn’t mind you squeezing flavoured gel into their mouths, or administering pills)
Phoebe’s Effectiveness Rating: 1/5. This had no effect on Phoebe and her anxiety levels. Perhaps it may have a different response for a different dog, but I prefer Rescue Remedy or similar to treat anxiety and stress as that seems to make more of a difference than this cream that I unfortunately place in the “gimmick products for suckers” category!