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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Help for the easily traumatized dog

It's called "Aconite," and it just may help your dog through periods of high stress associated with trauma and/or loud noises.

My chiropractor, who is a firm believer in homeopathics, mentioned that he gave his dog Aconite prior to the Fourth of July fireworks display held in the park next to his house.  I'd never heard of Aconite before, but I did know that good old "Rescue Remedy" had failed to be effective enough in helping my dog Lizzie deal with her fear of gunfire.  (At some time during her four years of life, Lizzie has developed a fear of sudden loud noises.  When my husband (who is a "retired" gunsmith) test-fires a gun in the back yard, Lizzie makes a beeline under my office desk or under the bed.  She stays there, in a funk, for a long time after the shooting has stopped.)

So I went down to the local health food store and bought a bottle of these little white pills.  The next time my husband wanted to do some test-firing, he gave me a few minutes "warning" so I could give Lizzie four of these Aconite pills.  I closely monitored her reaction when she heard the first shot.  She jumped a bit, but then settled back down on her own dog bed instead of running for cover.  She was subdued, but she wasn't trembling anymore.  I was impressed.  We've had several follow-up successes over the past few weeks using this product with Lizzie.

Aconite is a herb grown in the Himalayas.  Its root is actually very poisonous, but when the leaves are processed for homeopathic purposes, the toxin is so diluted that it's no longer a danger.  Aconite has long been used to treat people for shock or trauma experienced immediately after a horrible incident--like witnessing an accident.  But it can also be used as a preventative.  People prone to anxiety attacks often carry aconite tablets to keep their anxiety at bay.  This herb is also used to treat headaches, colds, bladder infections, conjunctivitis, and respiratory problems.  However, it is best known for its calming properties.  Homeopathic veterinarians now frequently recommend Aconite as a remedy for pets who are afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks, gunfire, travel, or even trips to the groomer.

More and more, I'm becoming a believer in "alternative medicine" for dogs and humans.  If you have a dog who's fearful of situations and noises, consider picking up a bottle of little white Aconite pills at your health food store.  They're dirt-cheap (about $7.50 for 200 pills) and they just might do the trick...for a lot less money and health risk than chemical tranquilizers.

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