Herbal Remedies for Pets: Bad Pet Behavior


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Antisocial behavior is as prevalent among animals as it is among humans, and even the best-behaved pet can have a bad day. When offensive behavior is the rule rather than the exception, though, consider obedience training, going back to the basics (relearning “no,” for example), or correcting environmental conditions that may be upsetting your pet, such as constant loud noise.

Several herbal preparations also may help. All except valerian (Valeriana officinalis) may be given internally at the recommended dosages for no more than two weeks at a time; valerian should be given for no longer than a week. You may prefer to use these remedies as a preventive measure only. For example, if your pet is hyperactive when company comes, try giving it some valerian tea when you know you’ll be having guests.

Irritability: Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a mild sedative that is recommended for irritable pets and for dogs with a tendency to whine and snap. To ensure that your pet is not allergic to chamomile, give it only a fraction of the recommended dose and wait four hours to see whether it shows signs of adverse reaction. Make a tea of fresh or dried chamomile flowers following the guidelines for echinacea tea.

Hyperactivity: Studies have shown that valerian root depresses the central nervous system and relieves muscle spasms. It is especially helpful for a dog that tends to become overexcited or suffers from anxiety when it is separated from you. However, it’s not a cure: don’t use it for more than one week. Make a valerian root tea by following the directions for echinacea tea.

Chewing: When your pet chews the life out of the arm of a sofa or another of your possessions, you may wonder whether the two of you were meant for each other. Hot peppers may save the sofa and your sanity. Try applying a dash of pepper sauce to the spot where your pet has been chewing; test a bit on a small area first to see if it will stain. Or, try hot pepper flakes or powder, which you could later vacuum up.

Unless otherwise specified, use these recommended dosages for liquid preparations to be taken internally:

• ½ teaspoon three times daily for cats and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds.
• 1 teaspoon three times daily for dogs weighing between 20 and 40 pounds.
• 1 tablespoon three times daily for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds.

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