Valerian Root for Pets

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     Valerian Root for Cats and Dogs  

What can Valerian Root do for my dog or cat?

Valerian and it's root have been used for ages in humans and has made its way into the veterinary field as well. I won't get into all the classification of the plant as that isn't really clinically relevant and if interested the data can be found easily enough on the internet.

The uses and where benefit has been found in people is in helping when people have difficulty sleeping, are restless or anxious and other such stress related situations. It has been used to relax muscles and has shown some benefit in helping with the pain of irritable bowel problems.

Of course, none of this has been FDA evaluated or approved as it is a supplement and hasn't undergone the millions of dollars worth of testing and trials to get their approval.

There are studies and reports that have been done though, such as one published in a 1995 issue of Veterinary and Human Toxicity which stated that a study done showed no side effects (bad effects) at 20 times the recommended dosage.

Negative effects reported usually are related to sedation, if any. Rarely, headache or stomach upset were also reported. Be careful in a condition of severe fatigue or digestion troubles as these abnormal body states may react differently to Valerian with increased agitation, fear, or headaches. Of course, any pet that ill, should be under a veterinarians care.

As with any supplement, as well, you should consult with the veterinarian your pet sees before starting it. Also, it isn't meant to treat or cure any particular disease.

The American Herbal Products Association lists Valerian as a Class 1 safety meaning it is safe within a wide dose range.

So all that stated, for what would a dog or cat need Valerian?

I am sure you can think of a few things, just by what it does. It has been used short term for such things as fear from traveling or fireworks. It has been used in hyper or anxious pets such as with separation problems from the owner. Some have even used it in cats that urinate outside the litter box as if there is no medical cause for this, it is probably "stress" related. Of course, any of the above should have a thorough medical exam and behavior evaluation to treat a medical condition or remove a stimulus causing a behavioral problem.

Valerian is a much safer route than any psychotropic drug such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. For more info on those watch the videos at Citizen's Commission on Human Rights or go to The Road Back Program. Featuring How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely for data on the addictive potential of them. My recommendation there is NEVER NEVER NEVER allow yourself, your kids, your pets or anyone get put on those drugs. See the above links and you will know why.

One note on long term use of Valerian is that it should be weaned from your system; do not suddenly stop taking it.

To sum up, Valerian is a safe herb that can be used to calm and relax a pet in short or long term situations.

Valerian root is just one of the calming ingredients in our product Nutricalm for dogs and Nutricalm for cats (also in liquid form for cats and small dogs) See Pet Supplements.

RECOMMENDED ENTERTAINMENT: "The Golden Compass"-a great fantasy book that puts an interesting twist on the human-animal bond.

Until next time,

Dr. Jan

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