Natural Remedies for Your Hyper Dog

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Do you live with the sort of dog they make documentaries about? You know the type: They live life with energy levels dialed up to the max but have the focus of a flea?

Having a hyperactive dog in your life is exhausting, not to mention potentially dangerous. You see hyper dogs rarely listen to their pet parent and are too busy bolting after butterflies to bother about "Sit!" This means they are more likely to be involved in accidents and some may even be rehomed as a direct result of their exuberance.

Whilst there are medications that can help, these are usually the last resort. If you want to keep that option in reserve and prefer to explore natural remedies first, here are some suggestions.

Oh, but before we start, get your dog checked out by a vet. Sometimes medical conditions can cause that lack of attention so get these ruled out at the start.

#1: Calming Herbs

There are many herbal or homeopathic remedies that have a calming effect. These work best when given before the dog faces the stimulus. In addition, speak to your vet first if the dog is sick or already on meds, and stick with the recommended dosage.

  • Skullcap and Valerian: These are nature's calming compounds and great for dogs where anxiety manifests itself as hyperactivity.

  • German Chamomile: Whilst all forms of chamomile are renowned for their calming properties, the German variety is especially helpful. Not only is it calming but can help settle an upset stomach to boot. Try giving the dog cooled chamomile tea, or soak a treat in the tea which you then give to the dog. Alternatively, look for chamomile in tablet form.

  • Kava kava: This is available as a tincture, powder or tea, which you can add to water or  food. This traditional Polynesian remedy helps reduce restlessness and take things down a notch, but without impacting on mental sharpness. A great option to aid training.

  • Bach flower remedy: This is a blend of flower extracts known for their calming, soothing, or anti-anxiety effects. Simply place drops on the dog's tongue to get the desired effect. Bach flower remedy also contains a tiny amount of brandy...could this have something to do with its effectiveness?

#2: Calming Touch  

Never overlook how beneficial a calming touch can be at soothing the hyper dog. Here are some to try:

  • Tellington Touch: This is a simple massage technique involving small repetitive circular motions. Dogs lap it up and simply relax into the moment. A great way to soothe and let all those hyper hormones ebb away.

  • Long Slow Strokes: Does how you pet your dog hype them up? Avoid rough-housing and petting their head. Instead, go for long, slow, sweeping strokes over their trunk. Use moderately firm pressure (avoid light tickling strokes) for maximum effect. Try it. You'll be surprised.

  • Thundershirt: This is the dog equivalent of swaddling. The idea being that a firm garment pressed against the dog helps them feel secure and anchored. This can settle the hyper dog who over reacts to the environment.

#3: Calming Aromas

Dogs use their sense of smell much more than we do, so why not use it to communicate with your dog?

  • Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP): This is a synthetic version of the pheromone given off by a nursing mother dog. This is the pheromone that makes the pups feel safe, secure, and content, and is a great way of soothing nerves. Its available as an impregnated collar that the dog can wear all the time.

  • Aroma mists: Mist sprays containing lavender and chamomile can be a steadying influence. Simply spritz your pants or the dog's bandanna so that they carry an air of calmness with them.

Work it Out

And finally, make sure the dog is getting enough exercise. This means proper walks where the dog gets plenty of play, and not just leaving a dog out in the yard. Boredom and excess energy is a common course of hyper behavior, but happily it is also the easiest to sort!