I have a 10 yr old Cairn Terrier named Riley. Terriers in general tend to be high strung and Riley is no exception. Generally we can keep it under control but during Fireworks and Thunderstorms Riley is such a mess that I was looking for something natural and safe to use to calm him down. This year we tried Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy
Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy
Description: The drops are thin and do not have much taste. They taste slightly sweet and you can taste a slight alcohol taste in them. They come in a dark glass bottle with a dropper attached to the cap. The bottle contains 1oz but a little bit goes a long way so this should last quite some time.
This remedy can be used for dogs or cats but we only tried it with our dog. If you have a cat with stress related illness it might be worth a try instead of using drugs to calm your cat.
How they are designed to work: These drops are not designed to drug the animal. They are supposed to work with the body to develop a calmer dog. I think you might get the best results by giving them daily for awhile before an event. They are not a drug though so you can not expect them to sedate your animal. I think they work best when combining with behavior modification
How to administer and dosage: You should give these before the event you want to help your dog tolerate. This is not always possible with thunderstorms so if they are forecast you might want to give them well before and give them throughout the day to keep the levels up.
The starting dosage is 5-10 drops directly into the mouth. There does not seem to be a different dosage for different sized pets which I found odd. It is suggested that you drop it right in the mouth. This was easy with my dog. What I do is have him lay on his side and then I part his lips enough so that I can drop the drops in. He will lap them up. He does not seem to mind. I have also put the drops in my hand and he will lick them right out of my hand so I am guessing he does not mind the taste. Drops should be given 20 minutes before or after a meal for optimum results but if you can not get your animal to take the drops as a last resort you can offer them on a treat.
In acute situations the remedy can be given every 15 minutes for the first hour, reducing to every 30 minutes for the next hour, then to once in the third hour. I did not try giving it this much but am going to try this next time now that I know that he had no side effects to what I did give him.
Side Effects: Riley did not experience any side effects from using this remedy.
How well the drops worked for us: We did not give Riley the max dose but just a couple doses. We felt that the drops calmed him down a bit. It was not a giant miracle but it just made it easier to use the behavior modification techniques. Previously when he has been in similar situations I could not even distract him with a treat and these drops seemed to calm him to the point where he was not so frantic that he could not be distracted. I was pleased with the Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy enough that we will keep using it. I think next time we have fireworks I will try using it every 15 minutes as detailed in the acute usage, and see if I get even better results.
A big plus for the drops is that Riley seems to like them so it was not hard to give them to him. Another thing I liked was that they did not drug him up or give him any unpleasant side effects.
What we have tried in the past
Tranquilizers: We have tried a few things before the drops. In the past he was prescribed a tranquilizer by our vet but this past winter Riley had a pretty significant seizure so the vet said I should not give him any more tranquilizers because they can lower the threshold for seizures. He was not taking tranquilizers at the time of the seizure, but we do not want to trigger another, so no more of these pills for Riley.
The tranquilizers worked but I felt as though they drugged him up so much that I was worried about him. I only used them on the big fireworks days in the summer. If you do try them I would suggest trying a small dose first and you might want to do a trial run to see how your dog responds. The other thing that you have to keep in mind with tranquilizers is that you need to give them at least a half hour before the event you want them to be calmer for. They have to be totally working before the dog is exposed to the stimulus or they may not work at all.
Thunder Shirt: We tried a Thunder Shirt earlier this summer and found it was completely ineffective for Riley. Besides the fact that it did not work, the Thundershirt is a snug shirt which to me increased the heat the frantic dog was generating. In fairness I think it did not work for us because Riley is used to wearing clothes. I think part of the reason it works for some dogs is that they are distracted by having something snug on them.
Behavior Modification: We also have tried various techniques to try to calm Riley down. I think the thing that has worked best is to keep him on a leash near me and for the most part ignore him. It seems the more attention I would pay to him the more he would freak out. I tried crating him and it seemed to make it worse. Some dogs might like to go in their crate but Riley has not really been crated for awhile so even though I set the crate right next to me he did not seem to want to go in there. I found that making a makeshift cave with pillows and blankets worked because it did not seem like I was trying to confine him. In our family room we have a sectional sofa and an ottoman so I wedge a pillow on one side between the sofa and the ottoman and cover it with a blanket. Then I sit on the couch with him on the leash and tell him to lay down in the little cave area. This helped a little and I found that the Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy helped facilitate behavior modification techniques.
Final thoughts and Rating
I think that my expectations were reasonable when using the Only Natural Pet Stress & Anxiety Homeopathic Remedy. Homeopathic remedies are not designed to have a huge effect so I was looking for something more subtle and that was what I observed with my pet. I think these drops broke through his anxiety to allow behavior modification techniques to work. If you are looking for something to drug your animal I doubt these would work for you. If you are looking for something to assist you in calming your dog then I would recommend them for you. For my expectations I am giving the drops 4 stars.