Mashable reporter Jess Joho reached out to Lakeside Animal Hospital Owner and Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Frione for advice on dog anxiety products for her pet. Read about Dr. Frione’s suggestions.
According to Dr. Jennifer Frione, a veterinarian who owns the Lakeside Animal Hospital in Florida, “Our pets have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis just like we have. While we are finding ways to cope with the pandemic stress, pets have anxiety, too. Now that the vaccine is widely available and people and places are going back to normal, prepare for your pet to experience separation anxiety as you return to work or other activities.”
Ultimately, Dr. Frione said that “Canine anxiety unfortunately does not have one easy fix. It is complex and takes time, patience, and consistency to help your fur-baby overcome it.”
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements Calming Care
As with most behavioral supplements, it can take up to six weeks for Purina’s powder mix to take effect. While I didn’t notice any drastic changes in the couple weeks I had to test it, though, I do trust the scientific evidence backing it more than other, more fast-acting anxiety remedies.
“Just like us, pets can benefit from high-quality supplements added to their diet at any stage of life,” said Dr. Frione. “L-theanine and L-tryptophan are both amino acids that help reduce the stress response and promote relaxation.” But “not all supplements are made alike, so some are of better quality than others.”
Leaving the TV on is a method many pup parents already use. But DogTV raises the bar with programming that Dr. Sung described as being “designed to appeal to the dog’s senses,” by “playings sounds in frequencies that dogs can hear and in colors that dogs can see.”
Dr. Frione agreed, saying that “I always recommend soothing dog separation anxiety by turning the TV or radio on before leaving the house, so a special show or podcast for dogs is even better.”
DogTV does have behind it in theory — though it’s unclear whether the actual product has been studied as effective for anxiety relief. Anecdotally, though, I was pretty amazed by how much it helped not only relax my dog during the usual ordeal of me leaving the house, but also kept my kitten entertained.
Human TV can be a bit stressful for pups due to all the potentially overstimulating noises and colorizations intended to grab your attention. DogTV’s channel instead features stuff like potentially triggering noises (for desensitization), stimulating visual objects, and soothing canine-specific frequencies.
It recommends you watch alongside your fur child the first few times, and let me tell you, some of it is nightmarish from the human perspective. One segment displayed a blue circle bobbing around randomly to the tune of haunting-sounding electronic music over an anxiety-inducing thumping heartbeat. I couldn’t imagine how it’d relax any creature. But then I remembered that dogs actually listen to their human’s heartbeat, so actually, it would make sense as a comforting sound to hear when you’re not around.
Like most anxiety aids, DogTV warns that it can take weeks for the benefits to become evident, and does offer a month-long free trial. Undoubtedly, it’ll be more effective on some dogs than others, with the visual stimulations probably most enticing to hyperactive breeds that crave mental stimulation (like poodles, for example). But also, your dog doesn’t actually need to watch it in the same way you’d watch TV for it to have an effect.
Aside from the 24-hour live channel, there are pre-recorded playlists for specific things like relaxation. There’s even some interesting programming for humans on dog training and psychology, making DogTV a particularly great option for new pup parents. The desensitizing sounds really did seem to help even my six-year-old ball of anxiety become less reactive to sounds like knocking and city bustle.
Usually, leaving the house for any amount of time is a guilt trip for the ages, my pittie gazing at me with that look of betrayal on his big, saucer-like seal pup eyes. With DogTV playing, though, he didn’t even notice when I quietly slipped out the door and, upon my return, seemed surprised to realize I’d even been gone for an hour.
You can access DogTV on iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Tizen TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Universal Windows Platform (including Xbox).