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Setting—and Meeting—the Expectations of the Anxious Dog's Owner

Brenna Cherry, DVM

Because I am always looking for additional ways to help my canine patients that display anxious behaviors, I was intrigued to learn about Purina "Pro Plan" Veterinary Supplements Calming Care and the potential for a probiotic supplement to help them.

I initially recommended the product along with behavior modification for patients that came to the clinic displaying mild to moderate anxious behaviors, such as panting. The early results were positive, and I was pleased that within a few months both their owners and I noticed these patients seemed more at ease.

Expanding my scope of treatable cases

Following this initial success, I broadened my recommendations to include dogs with other issues such as separation anxiety and noise phobia. In these cases, I prescribed Calming Care as part of a multimodal plan that typically included behavior modification and medication. I've also found Calming Care to be well-suited for owners who are interested in using a holistic approach to managing dogs that display anxious behaviors.

Setting the stage for a calmer dog

While complete elimination of anxious behaviors may not be possible, there is much we can do to help dogs maintain calm behavior. I use the following list to help owners understand their pets' conditions and what they can expect from a management program.

Setting client expectations

1. Recognize the top triggers:

  • Unfamiliar visitors
  • Novel sounds
  • Veterinary visits
  • Changes in routine

2. Understand the realities of behavior management:

  • There are no overnight success stories
  • No treatment will completely eliminate anxious behavior
  • Lifelong management may be necessary

3. Know what to expect with Calming Care supplementation:

  • Calming Care is oft'en part of a multimodal behavior management plan
  • It typically takes at least six weeks to determine effect

Case in point: Putting an end to abnormal barking

Even well-socialized dogs can develop anxious behaviors. I had a young Golden Retriever come in as a new patient and noted that her anxiety from being at the veterinary clinic was manifested as incessant barking. Her family couldn't expose her to anything new, have friends over or even take her on walks. They had concluded that her behavior was normal ''just her personality." I explained that the barking was actually an anxious behavior and that we could help her develop normal responses to normal stimuli. Along with behavior modification, I prescribed Calming Care. Six months later I saw the patient and was pleased to see that her anxious behaviors were managed. The barking had significantly decreased at home, and the strained human-animal bond was restored. Calm dogs make for calm owners!

Key Takeaways

  • Purina "Pro Plan" Veterinary Supplements Calming Care can be used as part of a multimodal approach to manage dogs with anxious behaviors, along with behavior modification and, in some cases, pharmaceutical intervention.
  • It is recommended that owners of dogs with anxious behaviors administer Calming Care daily for at least six weeks before deciding if the probiotic is having a beneficial effect.
  • Setting realistic expectations with owners when prescribing Calming Care can help ensure successful outcomes for your patients.

Brenna Cherry, DVM is an Associate Veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center & Spay-Neuter Clinic, Mission Viejo, California. This article was provided by Vet Shows US exhibitor, Purina.

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