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Old 12-31-2012, 02:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Valerian Root?

So I talked to my vet about Roz's over excitement, trembling, whining for hours on end when she gets hyped up... Doc says she checks out to be 100% healthy and said that she is getting herself so hyped up, beyond a healthy limit, that she basically is causing herself to lose her marbles. She said it would be a good idea to start prozac.

My concern is, Roz settles down just fine and acts like a normal chill dog when she doesn't have anything over stimulating her. So I was wondering about something to give her just during her fits instead of treating her all the time.

So I was looking things up, and a lot of people say Valerian Root is a good option.

Do any of you have experience giving this herb to your dogs? Does it work? Or perhaps you have any other suggestions??

Thank for the help!
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I haven't had any experience with it yet, but am interested to see what other folks say. My father-in-law said we should look into after Brandy starts feeling better and wants to move around more (she just had a TPLO). It's something I'm going to ask our vet about when she gets her staples taken out.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd see a veterinary behaviorist (if your vet isn't one) and get more info on meds. If prozac is suggested, I'm not sure something like Valerian would help or is safe to give long-term.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd see a veterinary behaviorist (if your vet isn't one) and get more info on meds. If prozac is suggested, I'm not sure something like Valerian would help or is safe to give long-term.
The thing is, I've been a vet tech for 5 years (ended that career only a year ago to pursue human medicine). I know quite a lot about canine behavior.. but she is the first one I haven't been able to focus and work through her problems with training. I don't want to pat my own back here, but I am quite good at training, and I have been asked to train others peoples dogs in the past, and have successfully done so. I worked side by side a few years back with a behavioralist veterinarian and know the education and techniques behind behavioral modification. I had a dog on prozac a few years ago, as he had fear related aggression (rescue dog). It helped him immensely for a time then one day he just seemed to not care about anything. The sparkle in his eye was gone, and he barely wagged his tail (he was a flat coated retriever, to not wag a tail in this breed, you know something is wrong!). So I weaned him off of it, and he was back to his regular self. But with less fear anxiety.

I don't want to put Roz on prozac, as I feel its the easy answer (like putting young children on adhd medication instead of finding what works best for them in dealing with life). I believe in herbals very much. Natural, safe, no side effects. My current vet doesn't know much about herbals or eastern medicine... so thats why I'm here, to see if anyone has experience with this herbal remedy or anything else that I may not have heard of.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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well worth doing some research on Valerian............it is a great nervine..it calms and soothes the nerves which helps reduce anxiety.
Read up on the other herbs that act as nervines as well.

Bach flower remedies may help............. Bach Flower Essences | The Spirit of Animals | The Spirit Of Animals

a good reference book to have on hand is.............The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care by CJ Puotinen

I hope you find something that works for your girls individual needs.

Hugz to your furkids!
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can't speak for certain on the effects for dogs but I've been making my own teas for years and I do have a tea for the settling of nerves that has a pinch of Valerian root in it. Though I would caution against using too much of the herb because it can cause upset stomach. I highly doubt it would cause serious issue short of your dog being allergic to it to try it out but I'd suggest starting with just a drop of Valerian root oil. You should be able to find it any alternative store (a.k.a apothecary/occult shop) or even a Chinese market would have it.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you so much! That is very helpful!
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with Adara that you should see a board certified veterinary behaviorist (Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB) not just a "behavioral vet." There are some medications that you can give "as needed" that might be more appropriate. That said, prozac (fluoxetine) has a very good track record with few, if any, side effects or long term issues in veterinary medicine.

Have you tried something like a Thundershirt for the times she's getting wound up? They work pretty well for a lot of dogs. I'm not sure valerian root is safe long term, even if it is natural.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I agree with Adara that you should see a board certified veterinary behaviorist (Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB) not just a "behavioral vet." There are some medications that you can give "as needed" that might be more appropriate. That said, prozac (fluoxetine) has a very good track record with few, if any, side effects or long term issues in veterinary medicine.

Have you tried something like a Thundershirt for the times she's getting wound up? They work pretty well for a lot of dogs. I'm not sure valerian root is safe long term, even if it is natural.
I'm not going to take her to a behavioralist just for them to tell me exactly what I already know. I've already spoken with Bark Busters about her as well (I had a free instructional lesson a few years back to pass training information to clients at a clinic I worked at). They allow veterinarian staff to call them with any questions about their animals as a thank you for promoting them. She went over everything that I should be doing training wise, everything that I was already doing. She thought herbals were a good idea as well.

No I haven't tried the thundershirt. Although, I think that would cause more harm. She has always flipped out whenever I have put any sort of clothing on her. She is scared of inanimate objects that she doesn't understand.

I would be willing to try prozac down the line if this keeps getting worse, but the fact is the over excitement, trembling, and whining are only 10-15% of her day. The rest of the time she is a happy, playful, cuddly girl. I don't want to alter her state during the times when its not necessary. I will ask my vet about any other meds she didn't mention to me to treat on a situational basis.

My thought with the Valerian is this:
If I can give her this an hour before I know she is going to get over excited, I can keep her from hyping herself into the over excitement phase. If she learns that she doesn't have to go into this over excitement phase each time, perhaps she can teach herself to be calm after doing this for a while. I feel like she is just getting more and more anticipating for her every day activities and her wires and just binding tighter and tighter. If I can teach her to remember what it is to be calm during these times, I feel that training will go much more smoothly and she will actually be able to focus on me instead of going ape $#%@ crazy so fast that she can't concentrate on anything. So in summary, it will be a training tool. I will look more into its safety for usage of about a month or so.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I can't speak for certain on the effects for dogs but I've been making my own teas for years and I do have a tea for the settling of nerves that has a pinch of Valerian root in it. Though I would caution against using too much of the herb because it can cause upset stomach. I highly doubt it would cause serious issue short of your dog being allergic to it to try it out but I'd suggest starting with just a drop of Valerian root oil. You should be able to find it any alternative store (a.k.a apothecary/occult shop) or even a Chinese market would have it.
Yes, I think the oil is a great idea to avoid stomach upset caused by the pill form. I was reading online and it says to try two drops and rub it into the chest so it absorbs into the blood stream and also she can smell it to calm down.

I'm pretty sure the natural stores around here (Portland, OR) will have it. Portland loves herbs lol.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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look into the Thundershirt too.

it works because it stops the dog from hyperventilating and the anxiety it brings on.

so it is a cool alternative remedy to try.

do some research on it.

I did, not because i wanted one, but i wanted to figure out how it worked.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hmm, isn't Bark Busters that buncha idiots who still suscribe to the whole "pack leader" crap and they throw loud jingly things to startle the dog?

If I'm thinking of another group, apologies.

And, ick, Valerian stinks so horridly--I am not sure I'd want to rub the essential oil into my dog's skin, ew.

I would look into Dr. Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol, since you're such an obvious fan of handling these things yourself, OP.

Also, Control Unleashed methods should help immensely with the types of behaviors you're describing.

I personally wouldn't medicate at all, unless and until those resources were investigated and implemented correctly.

I'm always amazed--as a side note--when folks firmly believe herbals are capable of efficacy, but then illogically believe they are not capable of producing any side effects.

I'm a fan, actually, of complementary medicine, holistic tx, and so forth, but there just seem to be a lot of blind spots and myths that can trip folks up.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I want to say thank you for the resources and opinions.

Yes that is bark busters. They never trained myself or the other vet techs/Drs the alfa or the jingle corrector things.. but I have heard they do that. They knew better than to use those methods with vet staff. They aren't idiots, they solve problems for households across the WORLD not just the u.s. They must be doing something right eh?

I've never smelled the stuff before, i'll have to take a whif lol.

I really like how you are so presumptuous and passive agressive in your posts (sarcasm).

I firmly believe in both western and eastern medicine in unison, just like you. I'm not an idiot, I know some herbals cause side effects. But they are usually minor and a list of 1-3 not 20. I know that when I was ill with pneumonia, all the anti biotics and steroids in the world didn't help, but the moment I started taking herbals everything came out and I recovered. I believe in the healing properties of the natural things in this world, but I'm not ignorant to think they can heal everything. However, they are a much safer starting point.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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My husband was having problems going to sleep and he started on Valerian Root .......which has really helped him rest and get a good night sleep. It comes in tea form also. I would talk with a herbalist and get their opinion. I swear by the thundershirt it has really calmed my female down during nights like tonight with fireworks all around.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Its worth a try, but Roz doesn't care about thunder or fireworks. Its not fear that is her problem (although she does have some fears of objects she doesn't understand like music instruments, the vacuum, or crutches). She just gets so excited about things that it goes from being happy to going insane and not having fun anymore because she can't control her emotions. She tenses up and hypes herself up more and more.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:36 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I haven't used it in my dogs but have taken it myself and have a paste form for one of my horses. I didn't see much benefit personally but it did show some improvement with my mare. She was still easily agitated but was able to be calmed down quicker. I didn't like the overall sleepy and slightly uncoordinated state mixed with the I'm still planning on fighting this. Of course that's 1500 lbs of scared drugged mare personality coming at you. A dog may not be the same. And it may effect others differently too. Personally I won't use it on her again.


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Old 01-01-2013, 02:06 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Did it really make the mare seem "drugged"? I didn't take in the fact that its like that, I was gathering it was just a calming agent like lavender and chamomile. I don't want her to the point of being visually intoxicated or something of that sort.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Have you tried DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone)? It comes in a spray (to spray on a collar, bandana, bed...not the dog!) or in a diffuser. I've had pretty good success with that, as have quite a few people I know. Bach's Rescue Remedy is another one that a lot of people swear by, but I don't think it did anything for us. Melatonin is often used to treat mild storm anxiety in dogs, so you might look into that as well.

I also definitely recommend "Control Unleashed" in conjunction with whatever you try. If you are able to take the edge off, you'll be wanting to train a new emotional response to whatever it is that is setting her off. CU is a great method for that!

You might find my friend Crystal's blog post on natural supplements helpful. She researched lots of natural remedies for anxious dogs: Reactive Champion: supplements
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:45 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennZilla View Post
Did it really make the mare seem "drugged"? I didn't take in the fact that its like that, I was gathering it was just a calming agent like lavender and chamomile. I don't want her to the point of being visually intoxicated or something of that sort.
She was all but asleep. Head low to the ground, bottom lip hanging, ears flopped sideways, eyes heavy. Sara is a horse that never let's her guard down and is at 100% all the time. Like I said I'm not sure if it would vary animal to animal, but I didn't like what it did to her.
I have heard good things about DAP also. I know people who swear by the cat pheromone too. That may be worth trying to see how she does with that first.


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Old 01-01-2013, 10:09 AM   #20 (permalink)
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You could try chamomile. I've worked with abused horses myself and I've never tried Valerian oil for them but I have done chamomile. I like Chamomile because it's very very mild. It can be used both for anxiety and upset stomach so it's easy on the digestive system. Again a very little will go a long way, you don't want your animal to look 'doped up' if they do then you've probably used way more than you needed to. I look at the idea of herbs versus medication is that an herb still allows the animal to feel the anxiety but dulls it enough that your voice as the trainer gets through and you can help them through it.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:19 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Valerian root is very much a "drug", the mode of action is most likely similar to something like Valium. Of course the dosing and strength will depend on how much you give and how you give the root. i.e. in a tea as an oil etc.....
I would not classify it like chamomile.

It also smells like dirty sweaty gym socks, and I don't mean smells a little like gym socks I mean it smells like the jr. high boys basketball team left there socks in your pantry! (again this may vary with the delivery system you choose and maybe I just had a really strong batch).

Also if you have cats be careful, it's not toxic to cats but more like it's catnip x10 to them! I had a friend's cat that I swear would stare at the cupboard with the tea and spend all day trying to figure out how to get in there.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:28 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Valerian root is very much a "drug", the mode of action is most likely similar to something like Valium. Of course the dosing and strength will depend on how much you give and how you give the root. i.e. in a tea as an oil etc.....
I would not classify it like chamomile.
Dosage is a big deal when you're working with an animal's digestive system. I'd say a couple of drops into a poultice would be sufficient for an animal the size of a fully grown doberman. No more than that. Nor I would do just the oil by itself, dilute it into something like shampoo or something like that. Chamomile is much milder so that I have just massaged it into the horses during a pre-session rub down so I would suggest trying that first.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:36 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I want to say thank you for the resources and opinions.

Yes that is bark busters. They never trained myself or the other vet techs/Drs the alfa or the jingle corrector things.. but I have heard they do that. They knew better than to use those methods with vet staff. They aren't idiots, they solve problems for households across the WORLD not just the u.s. They must be doing something right eh?

I've never smelled the stuff before, i'll have to take a whif lol.

I really like how you are so presumptuous and passive agressive in your posts (sarcasm).

I firmly believe in both western and eastern medicine in unison, just like you. I'm not an idiot, I know some herbals cause side effects. But they are usually minor and a list of 1-3 not 20. I know that when I was ill with pneumonia, all the anti biotics and steroids in the world didn't help, but the moment I started taking herbals everything came out and I recovered. I believe in the healing properties of the natural things in this world, but I'm not ignorant to think they can heal everything. However, they are a much safer starting point.
Well, golly-gee, sorry that came across as passive-aggressive. I much prefer aggressive-aggressive and sure didn't intend passive.

I think Bark Busters are a buncha idiots who do more harm than good, much like the celebrated non-trainer Cesar Milan.

Those who think they do "some good" generally aren't very knowledgeable about dog behavior and effective, humane learning-theory-based training methods. They generally are not out competing in dog sport, generally not evaluating and rehabbing abandoned "problem" animals, and generally don't have much experience. Sometimes, they are folks who've just been exposed to the wrong mentors, and had modeled for them inferior methods. I remember when everyone thought Koehler method rocked, for heaven's sake.

As for Bark Busters--I certainly would not ascribe to some watered-down version of their methods, thinking it's all cool, just because they "know better" than to throw their jingly startly things in y'all's presence.

If they have such an awesome philosophy, why do they need to abstain from some of their most common methods, in front of you?

Since you seem to have taken such offense to my comments about herbs, and apparently have chosen to discount my statement that I'm a fan--let me clarify--I was addressing the comment to the "general you" not specifically you as the OP. Good to know you realize there can be side effects--and I'm glad others have provided you yet more caveats, as you seemed pretty set on starting Valerian, without much familiarity with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambo_007 View Post
I haven't used it in my dogs but have taken it myself and have a paste form for one of my horses. I didn't see much benefit personally but it did show some improvement with my mare. She was still easily agitated but was able to be calmed down quicker. I didn't like the overall sleepy and slightly uncoordinated state mixed with the I'm still planning on fighting this. Of course that's 1500 lbs of scared drugged mare personality coming at you. A dog may not be the same. And it may effect others differently too. Personally I won't use it on her again.


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That was my experience with it, with an ASB stallion whose owner insisted on trying it. Lawdy, that boy was much more dangerous on that stuff, than he ever was, prior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
Valerian root is very much a "drug", the mode of action is most likely similar to something like Valium. Of course the dosing and strength will depend on how much you give and how you give the root. i.e. in a tea as an oil etc.....
I would not classify it like chamomile.

It also smells like dirty sweaty gym socks, and I don't mean smells a little like gym socks I mean it smells like the jr. high boys basketball team left there socks in your pantry! (again this may vary with the delivery system you choose and maybe I just had a really strong batch).

Also if you have cats be careful, it's not toxic to cats but more like it's catnip x10 to them! I had a friend's cat that I swear would stare at the cupboard with the tea and spend all day trying to figure out how to get in there.
Bold, mine.

Only if you mean that pantry those socks were left in is also full of three-week-old rotten beef that was marinated in just a touch of skunk spray.

The only thing I've ever smelled in the way of supplements that approaches that level of ick, is Standard Process' Calci-food, which is basically raw beef bone ground up with marrow and all. <hurka, hurka>
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:04 PM   #24 (permalink)
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@RedFawn. Your elitist attitude is unbecoming. I do not care to respond to your type. There are many different ways of training or medicating or doing ANYTHING in this world. But you seem to think you are the only one who is right. Good luck with that. Next time, try being constructive, it will get you much further.

Its not difficult,
everyone else here has been super constructive and helpful. Isn't that the point? To help each other out? Not judge and condemn them?

@everyone else,

THANK YOU for your very kind and helpful comments. I will be seeking out a different method for my Roz. Actually, I do have a DAP diffuser that I used for my flat coat while he was still alive. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me to try it ^_^'' I just need to get a new refill. Thanks for reminding me!
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:19 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennZilla View Post
@RedFawn. Your elitist attitude is unbecoming. I do not care to respond to your type. There are many different ways of training or medicating or doing ANYTHING in this world. But you seem to think you are the only one who is right. Good luck with that. Next time, try being constructive, it will get you much further.

Its not difficult,
everyone else here has been super constructive and helpful. Isn't that the point? To help each other out? Not judge and condemn them?

@everyone else,

THANK YOU for your very kind and helpful comments. I will be seeking out a different method for my Roz. Actually, I do have a DAP diffuser that I used for my flat coat while he was still alive. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me to try it ^_^'' I just need to get a new refill. Thanks for reminding me!
Really?

Because in one thread, you've called another member "presumptuous" and "passive-aggressive" and "elitist."

But, *I'm* the problem. Okey-doke.

I feel sure I'm not the only one reading who felt you were coming across as prickly, defensive, as shooting down anything that didn't agree with your already-made-decision, and so forth.

But, hey, it's a big active forum--feel free to take what works for you and what does not. I made genuine suggestions, which if you'd research them, you might find actually helpful.

I wish you and your dog well. Anxiety issues are no fun for anyone.
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