Showing posts with label Anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anxiety. Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Dog Anxiety – Anxious Pacing, Hyper Activity - How to Stop It

Dog Anxiety – Anxious Pacing, Hyper Activity – how to stop it, and why you should stop it…

Anxious pacing, hyper activity – does your dog exhibit these behaviours? Maybe you have tried, or still are trying to tire your dog out with exercise - taking your dog for several long walks every day, play time with doggie friends, agility, fly ball and more. Even with all of this activity, nothing seems to tire your dog. You walk in the door, unclip the leash and your dog flies into the house, bounds off the furniture, and does not ‘settle down’.  Your dog might ‘ask’ to go back out, after he/she has just come in. You go to get ready to take your dog for his/her third walk of the day – your dog is pacing, jumping, whining. Or, maybe after a long day you finally get to sit down and relax – you’re about to read a book, watch a movie, or a program on television… and your dog will not settle down. Your dog gets up and starts to pace, or goes to look for something to ‘get into’, your dog brings you a ball, drops the ball in your lap, and begins to bark to tell you to ‘throw it’.  You have guests come over, or your children invite friends over – your dog is everywhere, dashing about, barking, pacing. You are exasperated – you’ve tried everything, yet nothing slows or settles your dog’s pacing – hyper activity.

Anxious Pacing - Why Does Your Dog Do This?
Well for a start your dog may have heightened sensitivity – an attribute that, when understood can be an amazing asset, but when misunderstood leads to no end of trouble for you, and your dog.  Anxiety, and stress may be compounded by other contributing factors, for example...
  • You have heightened sensitivity.
  • You and/or your dog has experienced an acute or chronic trauma.
  • Your dog’s diet is not able to properly support his/her well being, etc.
The confluence of these circumstances can create a bad stress response in your dog, and you too!

The Daily Toll On You and Your Dog can Cause Long-Term Damage
Chronic stress is an inflammatory condition which can make your dog more vulnerable to inflammatory disease, degrade the quality of daily life, and shorten life-span. Stress has the same effect on us humans. 

Your Dog's Anxiety -Could it be a Gift, or Is It Just a Burden?
Dogs offer us humans many gifts - companionship, empathy, love, loyalty, joy and the opportunity to expand our humanity. If you adopt a dog that has acquired-anxiety, you will see further below that in order to help the dog, you must first help yourself - the rescue dog helps you, before you can help him/her. 

If you have had a dog since he/she was a puppy, and your dog develops anxiety, you may not realize it during the developmental phase of the condition but it is likely you have inadvertently contributed to the anxious state of your dog. To heal your dog of anxiety, you must first examine your own state of being, and you may need to do some healing. If it were not for your dog - the impetus to heal yourself may never have presented itself - your dog has given you a gift of immense value. Granted at the this time you may simple feel as if you have an immense burden - read on below, as when you do you will find the tools you need to unlock your dog's gift, and in so doing find healing for both you and your dog...

Anxious Pacing, Hyper Activity - Why is Your Dog experiencing this State?
Simply put – your dog does not know how to ‘self-regulate’- turn herself off, relax, and settle down. Heightened sensitivity if not properly supported can cause over-stimulation. Too much exercise can serve to over-stimulate your dog. Over excitement leads to over-stimulation. Not knowing how to confidently, normally cope with the ins and outs of daily life situations causes anxiety. Your dog’s concept of ‘normal’ is being in an excited state.

Three Types of Energy – Only two of Which Can be Expended with Exercise
I always say there are three types of physical energy that a dog may have to expend…

Energy Type 1
  • Daily quota of normal physical energy that is typically expended via normal exercise such as going for daily walks.
Energy Type 2
  • Stored-up energy which occurs of a dog is not getting the opportunity to expend daily energy on a regular basis.
Energy Type 3
  • This energy is created by an unbalanced psychological state which creates physical energy.
  • Think about how you feel when you are agitated
  • You may have trouble sitting still, you may have difficulty concentrating, you may get up and pace, you may feel the need to otherwise expend energy, but if you are unable to resolve the real source of your stress, you will not be able to relax - even if you are exhausted. 
  • It is the same for our canine companions. 
  • To resolve the anxious pacing and hyper activity you must address the root cause – anxiety, and stress. 
So let’s take a look at how to remedy this curable situation…

How To Stop Anxious Pacing, Hyper Activity
Your dog needs you to take over decision making – you must show your dog what he/she must do, you must show your dog what 'normal' really is. Once you have properly mentored your dog, he/she will settle down – he/she will know how maintain a good stress response; that in turn provides the ground work for self-regulation. Before you can start to teach your dog self-regulation, remember that you need to learn how to self-regulate yourself. 

For the purposes of this exercise we will use the example of a dog that starts to pace at night just when his/her human has sat down to relax…

When night time rolls around, you are going to have to take over for your dog – you cannot leave any decision making up to your dog until he/she has learned how to cope. Meaning, he/she has had the opportunity to learn what he/she should do.

So, when you go to sit down to relax, and your dog starts to get agitated (likely exemplified by pacing back and forth, getting into ‘stuff’ etc.) do the following...
  • Stop the pacing.
    • When you sit down – indicate to him/her that he/she is to sit down.
    • Assign a place for your dog to sit.
  • Do not allow him/her to get up, and move elsewhere.
  • You decide where he/she sits – you don’t allow your dog to decide.
  • Your dog will try to get up – don’t be agitated by this, simply show your dog to sit back down.
  • Open your senses, be observant but not intense - use your periphery vision, and hearing:
  • Notice if your dog starts to pant.
  • If your dog’s breathing escalates to panting, take a deep breath to ground yourself.
  • If your dog starts to get up...
    • Give your dog an audio cue like ‘Uh’
    • Follow that immediately with a visual cue – put your hand in the air in-front of you with palm facing vertically up (stop symbol), and then turn your palm so it is facing up to indicate to him/her to sit back down, then sweep your palm in a downward motion to show him/her to lay down.
    • When you first do this exercise, your dog may ignore your breath, your vocal cue, and your hand signals but do them anyway to give him/her the grace of choice to choose to respond.
  • If he/she decides to ignore your cues, and instructions, and she gets up – you get up too, then calmly walk over to where he/she has gone...
    • If he/she is pacing, take another deep breath, and then;
    • Put the following thoughts in your min;
    • “I am not upset at you, you simply need direction, no more pacing and anxiety, I have your back – this is what we are going to do”
    • Then lightly but firmly do one of the following:
    • ‘Still’ (stop) his/her pacing by touching his/her side with your fingers outstretched, sustain the touch, still yourself – this is what I call a ‘stilling touch’.
    • Hold the touch for at least 5 seconds, after which you can take your other hand – draw two fingers up from his/her eyes to sweep outward towards where you would like your dog to go.
  • If he/she does not respond to this by going to the place you have indicated, lightly grasp his/her collar (no tension in your hand, no force, just lightly). With two fingers on one side of the collar, and your thumb on the underside of the collar give his/her collar a quick little plucking motion in the direction you want him/her to go in.
    • Don’t pull hard, and don’t do a sustained tug/pull for if you do you are indulging in an argument when what you really need to do is direct with respect.
    • You do not want to force, or argue – you simply want to show what it is you want. 
  • If he/she tries to wander off – simply take a deep breath, say ‘uh’ (audio cues to get his/her attention, and let him/her know you are directing).
    • Walk calmly (normally) up to your dog, give him/her a quick tap on her side (do not linger the touch, do not push), then show him/her with your hand where you want your dog to go.
  • If he/she decides not to go, take her lightly by the collar and give a slight pluck of the collar in the direction you want him/her to go, then immediately relax your grip on the collar, and let go of the collar completely.
    • Use your hand to indicate to him/her to lie down.
    • Then you go sit down, take another deep breath as you do. Use your thoughts to help ground you through the entire process – i.e. “this is your new normal, I have your back, I will direct you so you don’t have to be anxious – I will let you know what to do”
 Before you start the above exercise remember you want your dog to calm; what you want from your dog – you must first be yourself. This is the true meaning of consistency, which in-turn is a fundamental quality of leadership.

By doing the above you take 100% control of the situation…
  • You put a structure in place, which is safe and comforting for your dog.
  • In the process of doing the above, you work with your dog, your dog works with you - you create a situation of mutual respect. Your dog gets to work psychologically which is stabilizing, and fulfilling for your dog. 
  • You maintain control of yourself first – you remain calm, grounded – which is what you want your dog to be. 
  • You lead by true example – something dogs, (and humans) appreciate. A skill that will serve you well in many aspects of your life...
  • Your dog's gift to you is realized.
Continue to do the above – don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the emotion of your dog’s anxious state. Remember your dog will try to return to his/her anxious state because she thinks that is normal. Just like we would do all we can to adhere to what we think of as normal – even if that ‘normal’ is an altered, and unhealthy state of normal.  Sometimes we need someone else to help us remember or learn what normal is

Guide your dog with true logic and he/she will embrace it. Wander off course yourself by becoming unstable (emotional), and you lead your dog to be unstable.

Every time your dog tries to get up, give him/her the cues so eventually he/she won’t bother to ‘go there’. Adhere the true meaning of consistent.

By doing the above you teach your dog how to embrace calm. This builds his/her confidence, helps to dispel his/her chronic anxiety, and eventually your dog will be in a position to make good choices without constant supervision from you.

Never let your dog pace. Pacing is anxiety, and the more he/she paces, the further he/she will escalate into a state of anxiety. You can use the above technique in all situations in which your dog becomes agitated. The more situations you apply this to, the faster you and your dog will learn to remain calm. Every situation in a typical day influences the next situation – use this to your advantage. And remember do as I do, be as I am – whatever you want your dog to do – you must first achieve that state yourself.

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Friday, 8 June 2012

Rooibos Tea for Dogs - Immune System Health, Cancer Inhibitor, Allergy Mediator

Aspalathus Linearis, common name Rooibos, also known as Red Bush or African Red Tea is an indigenous plant of South Africa - found in the Cedarburg region, north-west of Capetown. 

Rooibos is actually an herbal plant. The needle-like leaves and stems are harvested, crushed, fermented and dried. The plant has been used to make tea for hundreds of years.  Rooibos became a commercially grown crop in the 1930’s.

When the dried leaves are steeped they result in a rich red-colour tea that has numerous, proven health benefits. The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has confirmed that red rooibus tea can reduce cancer, heart disease, slows aging as well as possessing other health benefits…I will provide an extensive list of benefits below.

Rooibus tea is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. The tea is naturally caffeine free (caffeine is not good for dogs) and is low in tannin and free of oxalic acid - so unless your dog is suffering from iron deficiency (rooibos may slow down the absorption of iron) it is safe for your dog.
Below we will look at:
  1. The nutritional value of rooibos tea;
  2. The Health Benefits;
  3. How to add rooibos to your dog's daily diet;
  4. How combining the tea with a little cinnamon can help with your dog's oral care;
  5. How to use the tea topically to treat skin disorders due to allergies.

Nutritional Value

Rooibos tea is:
  • Rich in minerals - calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc;
  • Rich in rare minerals - bioflavanoid and quercetin;
  • Rich in vitamin C;
  • Rich in alpha hydroxy acids (AHA);
  • Rich in antioxidants, having about 37 types of antioxidants and packing about 50% more antioxidants than green tea!

Health Benefits

Rooibos tea offers an impressive list of health benefits: 
  • Allergy fighting - the tea contains anti-allergy properties and can be real aid in treating allergies and related skin problems, asthma, etc.;
  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Anti-viral;
  • Anxiety calming - naturally calming and relaxing the tea can help relieve anxiety and relax your dog; 
  • Anti-spasmodic - as the tea is rich in anti-spasmodic agents it can help ease a sore stomach; 
  • Bone health promoting - as it is rich in the bone building minerals calcium, manganese and fluoride; 
  • Cancer fighting - anti-mutagenic; 
  • Circulation enhancing - promotes good blood circulation and works to prevent haemorrhaging;  
  • Good for skin - the AHA facilitates the healthy growth and maintenance of skin:
    •  If your dog suffers from aliments of the skin such as itchiness and hotspots due to allergies the tea can really help to alleviant both discomfort and the inflammation of the skin; 
  • Heart health supporting - helps prevents heart disease; 
  • Immune System boosting - the antioxidents  also give the immune system a healthy boost; 
  • Slows Aging - the abundant antioxidants slow down the aging process;

How To Add Rooibos to Your Dog’s Daily Diet

Once a day I add the tea to each of my dogs' meals. You can brew the tea fresh on a daily basis or brew it and store in the refrigerator for use of the span of a couple of days. 

I always add the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon to the rooibos tea. Lemon is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune-system boosting, a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain bioflavonoids, calcium, citric acid, limonene, magnesium and vitamin C as well as other health promoting substances. Combined with rooibos tea the health benefits are multiplied. Lemon offers an amazing array of health benefits for your dog - you can read more here.

You can fill a bowl with rooibos tea and leave it next to your dog’s water bowl.

Your dog can choose when he/she wants to have a sip! You can leave the tea plain, or add some cinnamon (instructions and benefits noted below) or add fresh squeezed lemon and/or a drop or two of Manuka Honey, or other organic honey.

Just make sure that your dog always has fresh, plain water as well. Although I add rooibus tea to my dogs' evening meal they also have a bowl of he tea beside their water bowl.

Minimum Daily Dosage Based On Dog’s Weight

  • 1-10 lbs - less than 1/4 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • 10-20 lbs - 1/4 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • 20-50 lbs - 1/4-1/2 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • 50-100 lbs - 1/2-1 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • Over 100 lbs - up to 1 cup 3 times per day

By adding a little cinnamon to the rooibos tea you increase the health benefit...

Cinnamon has quite an extensive list of beneficial properties for oral care…it is an:
  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Anti-microbial (fights bacteria, fungi, etc.)
  • Anti-septic;
  • Mild anesthetic;
  • Helps dissolve food particles and aids in the digestion of food. 
 By adding a little cinnamon to the tea your dogs receives the benefits of rooibos as well as an oral rinse!

Maximum dosage of Cinnamon per Day
  • Large Dogs - ½ tsp a day;
  • Medium Dogs - ¼ tsp a day;
  • Small Dogs - 1/8 tsp a day.


Use Rooibos Tea Topically to Treat Itching, Rashes and Hot Spots due to Allergies

As Roobois tea contains anti-allergy properties it is excellent for topical use in treating skin problems due to allergies. In addition the AHA fin the tea facilitates the healthy growth and maintenance of skin. Below you will find a recipe for:
  1. A soothing rinse;
  2. A foot soak for itchy and or irritated paws;
  3. A simple salve for irritated skin.

Soothing Rinse

You will need the following:
  • 2 tea bags of Rooibos Tea (also known as Red Bush Tea)
  • 1 fresh lemon

Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes;
  • Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool;
  • Squeeze the lemon and add the resulting juice to the tea;
  • Then use the tea as a conditioning, soothing rinse…you do not have to rinse the ‘tea’ off of your dog after application.

Foot Soak for Sore, Irritated Paws

If your dog or cat is suffering from allergies and/or resulting yeast infections of the paw (i.e. candida), or has come into contact with poisonous and/or toxic substances - giving your dog or cat a foot soak is very important to reduce discomfort, help treat the symptoms, remove harmful residue and stop your dog’s or cat’s need to lick and chew his/her paws. Toxins left on the paws can migrate into the dogs blood stream, and over time increase your dog's toxic load, compromise his/her immune system and trigger the development of cancer.

The most affective way to remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from your dog’s paws is to provide your dog with a 30 second foot soak. Depending on the size of your dog, you can do afoot soak in the bowl or basin, sink, bathtub, shower or in a small children’s pool. If you would like to see additional recipes for herbal foot soaks to alleviate sore, irritated paws you can read this article 'Natural, Herbal Remedies for Dogs, Cats with Sore, Irritated Paws'.

You will need the following:
  • Rooibos Tea  - one or more bags of tea depending on the size of the tub;
  • ! to 2 fresh lemons.
Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes;
  • Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool then add to the water in the soaking tub, or you can use the tea to warm the water in the tub - just always make sure that the resulting liquid for the soak is only warm or room temperature - never hot.
  • Depending on the size of the tub - take 1 to 2 fresh lemons, squeeze for the juice and then add the juice to the cooled tea;
  • Now you can soak your dog's or cat's paws... 
    • It is important to note that dunking/placing your dog’s or cat’s paws in the soaking solution is not as affective as soaking the paw for 30 seconds. After the soak just pat your dog’s or cat’s paws dry - do not rub them dry as rubbing can cause irritation.

Soothing Salve

You can apply the dry rooibos tea powder to the spots directly using one of these options:
  • Open the tea bag and remove the tea powder, mix with a little 100% aloe vera juice or gel, apply;
  • Soak the tea bag in hot water, allow to cool and place the cooled tea bag against the irritated skin;
  • Soak the tea bag in hot water, allow to cool, open the tea bag and place the damp tea powder directly on the irritated skin.  


  • None

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