How Natural Scents can Help Anxiety

COVID-19 has meant a lot of sacrifice for all of us.  Isolation from friends and family, shopping, work and colleagues but in a lot of ways it has given us more time with the ones closest to us at home, including our pets.  

So now that our fur babies have gotten used to us being at home,  how will they survive when it comes time to go back to work and send the kids back to school?  

Anxiety in Dogs

Anxiety in dogs is something most pet parents have experienced. From puppies who have recently left their mothers, moving house or seeing their owners leaving for work.  It is common for dogs to experience some anxiety at some stage of their lives, although some dogs will find it more difficult to manage changes in their circumstances without feelings of stress and anxiety.

Worried your dog suffers from anxiety? 

These are some signs to look out for.  Do keep in mind that these behaviours can occur when you are not around because they will generally be happy and calm when you are there with them.

  • constant barking
  • excessive licking
  • destruction (clothes, shoes, door frames, upholstery)
  • toileting indoors
  • aggression towards other people and animals

What Can I do to Help?

While there is no one magical solution to cure your dog of anxiety there might be holistic, natural approaches to help. This is in addition to/or in support of the long-term training and positive reinforcement techniques that you have already established.

A Study of Scents

We are led to believe that a dog’s sense of smell is up to 10,000 times better than ours. What we know less about is how different smells affect a dog’s mood and behaviour.

In this UK study, researchers exposed dogs in rescue and rehoming shelters to a variety of scents and monitored how they responded. The dogs were exposed to six different scents in controlled testing conditions. The six scents were:

  • Cloth control (neutral)
  • Coconut
  • Vanilla
  • Valerian
  • Ginger
  • Odour control (neutral)

What They Found?

Keep in mind these results were for kennelled/ sheltered dogs but researchers rated the effects of particular scents to be significant in two highlighted areas.

  1. For reducing activity and vocalisations (barking and whining) these scents showed significant effects: 
  • Vanilla 
  • Valerian 
  • Coconut
  • Ginger 
  1. For increased sleeping behaviour these scents showed significant effects: 
  • Coconut
  • Ginger 

What Can I Use At Home?

These findings could have a practical use at home for your dog who might suffer some stress and anxiety, particularly as you get ready to go back to work. If we go by the results of these studies here are some ideas of how you could apply the results at home.

  • Place grated ginger under their bedding
  • Diffuse vanilla oil
  • Sprinkle valerian root tea over their food (avoid this for pregnant dogs)
  • Apply coconut oil topically or add to food 

Additionally, many of our customers also report a rapid elevation in their pets’ moods and less anxious animals from the use of hemp seed oil.

If you still have concerns about your pets stress and anxiety, we recommend you speak to your holistic veterinarian. For more information on our nutritional pet food products visit our online shop.

scents for anxiety

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