Other remedies for managing stress

Some dogs get unduly stressed during thunderstorms. Others, perhaps because of lack of socialization, get stressed when they're away from home, left in a kennel, taken to a class for the first time, riding in the car, and the like.

A successful outcome to a physical problem

Perhaps the strangest case we've had to deal with was that of one of our own dogs. D.J. is an extremely handsome black Briard. When D.J. was a young dog, he got stressed by almost everything. If we put him in the car, he'd throw up and turn in circles in his crate. When he got out, he'd be wet from drooling and would want to pace and pace. Around other dogs, he was anxious and wanted nothing to do with them. If they came too close, he'd lunge out at the end of the leash, teeth flashing — a frightening sight for any dog or person that happened to be close.

Knowing that D.J. was on the very best diet he could be on, we ruled out food-related problems. He went through every medical test in the book to try to find out the cause of his stressful behavior. Nothing was found, and so we lived with him, always seeking some kind of answer. The answer came when he was nearly 3 years old.

We learned that a veterinarian and Certified Animal Chiropractor was giving a clinic for dogs and horses in our area. The chiropractor was in a horse barn, working on some dogs when we arrived. She instructed us to bring in D.J. and just let him sit and watch what was going on for a while so he could get the feeling of his surroundings.

In the barn were horses, goats, and chickens. D.J. was fascinated by the smells and was fine so long as nothing or no one came close to him. We carefully inched him closer and closer to the doctor, who was sitting on a small stool. D.J. stood with his back to her, and all of a sudden, decided to back into her. She talked to him for a while, without touching his body. When she touched him, he jumped, and we all jumped.

a chicken, she was able to feel up and down his back. As she felt his back and then his tail, she told us that many vertebrae were out of alignment, and there'd been some kind of break in his tail. We surmised that this break must've happened during the birthing process, which apparently isn't uncommon. She very gently manipulated his back into position. But she really felt the problem was his neck.

Slowly, slowly, she moved up his body, and he was motionless. Thank goodness the chicken was obliging and stayed within a nose length of D.J., who was still staring at it. The doctor finally was able to feel his neck and with two rather quick movements, adjusted the vertebrae. He stood up and shook himself, sat down suddenly, and then just lay down.

She told us that his neck was such a mess that the nerves connected to his eyes were severely displaced. She felt that he'd never been able to see properly — either his vision was so distorted he couldn't make out shapes, or he was seeing upside down.

This of course explained all his behavior and the stress that he felt. If his vision was poor, naturally he always felt threatened when away from home. Because he was never off leash when we took him out, and couldn't run away as he wanted to do, he would then be forced into a defensive posture, hence the teeth and the growling.

After his adjustment, D.J. became a very cuddly and sweet dog. Most visitors pick out D.J. as our most friendly dog.

So the moral of this story is that when your dog is stressing, there's a reason for it. You just have to work at it until you find the answers.

She was a model of patience with D.J. and started again. While his attention was glued on

Products now exist that make dealing with stress so much easier. Homeopathic remedies and Bach Flower Remedies are excellent to use for this purpose. You can address the following conditions with these specific products:

1 For fear of thunderstorms: We recommend Aconite 30c. This remedy comes in liquid or pellet form. Usually one dose gives the dog a feeling of being able to cope with the storm.

1 Going to the doctor: When taking a dog to a place where he experiences fear, such as the animal hospital, we use a product called Calm Stress. It's a liquid homeopathic that you can put it into your dog's mouth just before you enter. It lasts about 20 minutes. After your dog understands that he need not be afraid, and he has coped well with the environment, further dosing is unnecessary.

1 Carsickness: A simple remedy for carsick dogs is a ginger cookie. Ginger has a wonderful way of settling the stomach, and if you give your dog a ginger cookie just as he gets into the car, the car becomes a good place to be in. If the trip is a long one, you can give him a ginger cookie periodically. Dogs can get quite stressed in a car, not only because of the movement but also because of objects flashing by the windows. Using a crate for such a dog is a good idea, because you can cover the crate so the dog isn't constantly exposed to visual stimuli. (We also recommend you crate your dog for safety reasons — just like you use your seatbelt — anytime you take him in a car.) Rescue Remedy, together with Calm Stress, also works well to combat carsickness.

We also use the Calm Stress remedy to rehabilitate rescue dogs with great success, as well as another one called Rescue Remedy. A Bach Flower Remedy is used when the dog gets so stressed that he's in danger of shock. This remedy can be dropped directly into the dog's mouth (about four drops) or put into his water bowl.

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