Dr. Marty Becker’s Picks for Calming Your Pet
Recently on Good Morning America, Vetstreet's own Dr. Marty Becker shared some of his favorite products for destressing your pet. Whether your dog is anxious about thunderstorms or your cat is freaked out about visiting the vet, here are some things you can use to help bring the anxiety level down.
Music for the Dogs: By taking classical pieces of music and rearranging them in a way thought to relax dogs, the Through a Dog’s Ear CD series is used to calm animals at home as well as at high-stress locations like shelters and vet offices. The series is a collaboration between Lisa Spector, a Juilliard-trained concert pianist, and Joshua Leeds, a sound researcher and music producer. Trainer Victoria Stilwell, host of It's Me or the Dog, is a collaborator on the newest CD. Free tracks available at the Through a Dog's Ear website, or you can purchase a CD for $15.
Soothing Pheromones: These products — Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs — contain synthetic pheromones that mimic substances naturally produced by animal mothers to soothe their babies. While these products don't work on all pets, the pheromones do seem to help some dogs and cats. Feliway and Adaptil come in spray form or in room diffusers. Feliway spray and the Adaptil collar both retail for around $20.
A Cap for Calming: While adding sensory information such as smell and sound has been proven to help anxious animals, removing other sensory input can also settle a nervous pet. That’s the thinking behind the Gentle Leader Calming Cap. The product fits over a pet’s entire face, and the sheer fabric window limits the dog's vision while allowing him to navigate his surroundings if need be. Things like people and tables are still visible while smaller things like nail clippers are obscured. The Gentle Leader Calming cap retails for $10 to $15.
Hugging Clothing: Turns out the right kind of squeeze can be good for pets. By providing a gentle constant pressure, the Thundershirt helps calm and soothe the dog who's wearing it. The product was originally developed for pets with thunderstorm phobias, but has been found to help ease anxiety caused by many situations — including the stress of living in an animal shelter. The Thundershirt is available in sizes that will fit most dogs. The Thundershirt is $40; for an extra $5, you can add custom embroidery.