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Retailers Present Solutions to Dogs’ Stress and Anxiety


June 12, 2018

With growing research and understanding of dogs with regard to separation anxiety and other behavior fueled by loud noises and other issues, behaviorists are advising dog owners to consider many of the aids now available at pet specialty retailers that address such anxiety and behavioral problems.

In 2016, Dr. Marty Becker, known ubiquitously as America’s Veterinarian, founded the Fear Free initiative, an education portal for veterinary and pet professionals as well as pet owners that addresses the real fears many pets face both at home and out of the home when going places such as the vet’s office. The goal of the initiative was to enhance pets’ emotional well-being by educating owners how to alleviate such fear, anxiety and stress.

As part of this initiative, Dr. Becker is giving the Fear Free endorsement to certain products designed to help behavioral issues and this list keeps growing.

My Pet My Scent was named the top Fear Free product in the canine fear, stress and anxiety category at the Global Pet Expo in 2017.

“A dog’s sense of smell is 200 times more powerful than a human’s, and My Pet My Scent uses inhalation therapy to deliver the owner’s scent mixed with industrial hemp oil to calm your dog,” explained Renee Ripinsky, co-owner of Anaik America, which manufactures the product. “The product uses hemp oil, which calms the dog, and the owner’s scent, which makes them feel closer to  their owner, even if they are not around. In a study at Emory University in Atlanta, it was proven that dogs prefer their owner’s scent. The idea is to take one of the little alcohol pads provided in the kit to wipe across your neck, arm or elbow area and then squeeze drops from this pad onto the hemp discs to add the owner’s scent. It takes up to 30 minutes to become effective, and each kit lasts a month.”

Ripinsky added the company plans to extend the product line to include cats in 2019.

At-Home Grooming

The Zen Pet Nail Trimmer won the same coveted Fear Free Award at the most recent Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida. Nail trimming can be stressful for pet owners, too, because a wriggly pet means they can accidently cut off too much nail, causing the quick to bleed.

The Zen Clipper has a patent-pending conical stainless-steel blade designed to clip just the tip of a pet’s nail, thus removing the guesswork of how much nail to cut.

“The design ensures that the same amount of claw is removed every time because the nail is placed in the size hole and the quick can’t be harmed even if the animal was to jump or move while it is being trimmed,” Zen Clipper inventor Michael Bihlmaier explained.

The product is being distributed by Pet Product Innovations. From a consumer standpoint, the proper size Zen Clipper is chosen using a simple sizing card available at the Zen Clipper website. One is also included with each product.

Pura Naturals Pet manufactures a product called Waterless Foaming Dog Shampoo made with calming natural lavender scent that is ideal for stress- free coat maintenance between regular grooming sessions.

“What’s great about this product is that you’re able to easily dispense the foam and massage into the coat. It’s perfect for pets that have bath anxiety, and the lavender scent is calming,” explained Julie Creed, vice president of sales and marketing.

It is paired with a conditioner, too.

“Our Paw Rescue with hemp seed oil is also a great calming product. Rubbing it into a canine’s paws is therapeutic to them on many levels. And, it ensures paws also remain supple. It’s made to food grade standards, so it’s safe if licked,” she added.

Healing Process

21st Century Animal HealthCare’s pet wellness brand, Calm Paws, has launched a new line of calming recovery shirts for pets called Calm Paws Relax & Recover referred to as R&R shirts.

“These new recovery shirts offer a comfortable alternative to e-collars to help protect pets from agitating injuries or surgical wounds while offering calming support. They provide gentle, therapeutic pressure to help calm pets,” said Colin Brodie, vice president of marketing for the company.

The Calm Paws R&R Shirts are manufactured from a stretch fabric that can be easily cut to accommodate different leg sizes. The design also features a heart-shaped calming pocket across the front of the shirt for use with Calm Paws Calming Disks, which help to soothe and calm pets with the use of essential oils.

Calm Paws Calming Disks are formulated for everyday use with a pet’s regular collar to provide calming support throughout the day and night as well.

“We have used technology to stimulate a calming response proven by color pallets used in hospitals and veterinary clinics,” Brodie said. “That’s what makes our recovery shirts unique.”

The shirts are available in five sizes: XS/small, small/medium, large, XL and XXL. The Calm Paws Calming Disks are available in single packs. It takes 30 minutes for the discs to be effective and they last up to 24 hours.

Treats and Mists

Reilly’s HEMPVET has added treats to its line-up. Reilly’s HEMPVET Rewards + Calm Support  are soft chews that, according to information published by the company, combine the company’s full-spectrum, GMO-free,  phytocannabinoid-rich hemp blend with proprietary C10 Calming Colostrum Complex  to support fast-acting calm, relaxation and general wellness in pets experiencing anxiety, stress or nervousness, while contributing to the overall balance and harmony of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Utah-based Gentle Friends from Kimberly Parry Organics, has introduced a new product, namely Calm Bedding Mist to spray on to bedding and crate mats to help ease anxiety and reduce hyperactivity. It contains bergamot oil, grapefruit oil, cedar wood oil, vetiver oil and sweet orange oil, all of which have been certified organic. And the Sweet Dreams Aromatherapy Mist is also designed to be sprayed over bedding to relax and soothe dogs as well as new puppies and help establish a nighttime rest routine.

Russell W. Herman, CEO of four upstate New York stores called PetSaver Healthy Pet Superstore, says that, primarily, his stores’ customers are looking for natural calming products.

“While calming products are a growing sector for us, we find our customers are not really aware of the range of products in this category that are available over the counter,” Herman said. “There is still a lot of general educating to be done. And while the focus is natural products, there are still mixed reactions to their efficacy. Many of our customers report that they don’t work in their particular situations.”

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