When your dog follows you from room to room, do you think it’s because they love you? Sadly, it’s more likely a sign of anxiety than it is unconditional love.
Holistic vet Dr Kathy Cornack says that this shadowing behaviour, and a host of other often unrecognised signals – everything from yawning to jumping up and down with excitement, could mean your pet is anxious. Add a sustained stint of working from home, with your dog adjusting to the fact that you’re always there, and it could mean a bad dose of separation anxiety when you go back to work.
If anxiety is undealt with, then in the short term there’s the barking, scratching and escaping…but in the long term, the anxiety becomes more deeply embedded and affects the dog’s health. Not to mention your relationship with your dog.
Dr Cornack says that while genetics may play a big part, environment does too. With a dog that’s shadowing you for instance, Dr Cornack says that they don’t have the resilience to hang out by themselves. “It’s like, ‘I gotta get to my person’.”
To deal with anxious behaviour, seeing a behavioural vet for a diagnosis is a good place to start. From there, behavioural training with someone expert in helping anxious dogs is also useful.
However, now, there’s something else to add to the mix too. We've just released a range of vet-formulated, make-it-at-home health jellies – for dogs. One of the formulations targets anxiety.
“They’re just like the Aeroplane jellies we loved as kids, but for dogs. And healthier,” says Bestie Kitchen founder Amanda Falconer.
The jellies are also based on science. Hundreds of research papers were read and reviewed to find ones that had done trials on the impact of nutraceutical supplementation on a number of chronic canine conditions. Having narrowed down to a select number of conditions and studies the company approached Dr Cornack, a nationally recognised holistic vet, to build on the research and develop the formulations.
One of the research studies involved 24 dogs who displayed anxious behaviour. After 10 days on a nutraceutical supplement to their diet, there was significant improvement in the times spent active and at rest and an overall significant improvement in clinical and behavioural symptoms.
Those symptoms include marking, diffidence, irregular biorhythm, reactivity, activation, irritability, alertness, environmental exploration, body exploration, attention requirement, dandruff, itchiness, flush, seborrhoea, changes in fur, vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence, tearing, and anal sac issues. As a result, dogs tend to spend more time awake and active, rather than at rest or asleep.
Sydney dog owner Clare, whose moodle Molly has been anxious for ages, took part in a small trial of the bestie health jellies during the lockdown. Clare says Molly was initially even more hyper than usual as Clare tried to work from home for her busy advertising agency.
“The OM jellies were super easy to make and definitely helped keep her calmer in a time of change, with a new puppy next door and working from home,” she says.
Anxiety wasn’t the only chronic condition we wanted to address however. Our daily health jellies also target cognitive decline, immune system stress in adult dogs and puppies and stinky breath (halitosis).
Many of these conditions arise because the lifespan for dogs and cats is increasing – up 4% for dogs and 10% for cats, 2002-2012. This leads to a series of chronic conditions. Cognitive decline affects 28% of dogs between 11 and 12, and 68% of dogs over 15. 72% of dogs have anxious behaviour.
The jellies come pre-mixed and ready to go. To make them, pet parents simply add water, stir and pop into the fridge to set. The jelly is dropped into the meal or fed on its own. No more shoving a pill down a dog’s throat!
You can see how simple they are to make here.