Houston PetTalk March 2011 : Page 50

Calm Your Dog’s Anxiety Holistic Treatment for Canine Anxiety Attacks “W e’ve got to get help for this dog or she’s going to kill herself,” said Michelle Given’s husband when the couple returned home one evening to find Denbigh, their 7-1/2 year old English Springer Spaniel barking, banged up, covered with slobber, and peering wild-eyed Chinese herbs and documented their results. Few of us here in the United States are familiar with the herbs’ healing potential, especially in the animal world. Dr. Bessent started using Chinese herbs three years into her twenty-year vet practice. “I wanted to give the best care to every patient that camemy way,” she says. First of all, using the Chinese perspective let’s examine what was causing poor Denbigh’s anxiety at-tacks. Anxiety in dogs canmanifest in different ways—thunder phobia or fear of loud noises, fear aggression, and in Denbigh’s case, separation anxiety. Adog with thunder phobia can sense changes in barometric pressure and usually knowswhen a storm is coming.He starts getting anxious, clingy, and a little agitated.Once the storm hits, he paces the house,may bark at cracks of thunder, hide under things, or cower in a corner and shake. After the storm he might have trouble settling down, and some dogsmay be restless for hours, even days afterward. Dogs with fear aggression experience anxietywhenmeeting other dogs or people, and they respond to their anxi-ety with aggressive behavior or biting. We’ve all heard versions of the separation anxiety story, when a fam-ily leaves the dog home alone and returns to find their couch shredded, the carpet chewed up, or the dog’s nails or teeth bloody from clawing and chewing at the door. Whatever themess, it reflects the dog’s panic and overwhelming anxiety relating to his owner’s absence. InWesternmedicine, we think through the bent wires of her crate. Denbigh’s first anxiety attack oc-curred when she turned 7, and the at-tacks had escalated ever since. After trying what seemed like everything Westernmedicine had to offer, Mi-chelle called Dr. Christine Bessent, a holistic vet in Oconomowoc,Wiscon-sin.Her protocol included Chinese herbs, which for Denbigh became the miracle that saved her life. For thousands of years an entire region of the world has thrived on 50 www.houstonpettalk.com “In order to do that I needed a lot of tools inmy box.” That desire led her to chiropractic, acupuncture, and Chinese herbology. “Formyself, I’ve always gravitated toward natural health care with less toxic effects, and that of course directedme with animals as well.” Asmore of us turn to alternative or complementary methods to create andmaintain good health for our dogs, we should take a look at Chinese herbs and how they work. of anxiety as a neurosis or amen-tal behavior issue, when in reality, anxiety is a physical issue. From the Chinese perspective, all three of the above examples reflect a disturbance in the dog’s heart shen. Heart shen is the ability to feel relaxed in a new environment, the ability to settle in, and animals with a poor heart shen have difficulty doing that. If left unchecked, a poor heart shen could eventually develop into other condi-tions. Here’s what happens: Chinesemedicine distills the entire world into five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. An animal’s body is viewed the same way. Certain elements control others, and all are BACK TONATURE

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