Stress is an everyday occurrence in life and our animal friends experience it, too – even our beloved pets. When stress ruminates in pets, it can have extreme consequences (think: hair loss, skin infection from excessive scratching or undesired behavioral changes), so it’s important to recognize stress in our pets, along with its triggers, and to address them in the best of our ability.

It’s all part of that imaginary contract you signed, when you brought that pet into your home, which said you’d do everything in your power to give them the best life possible. Sure, it would be super easy and convenient to give a stressed-out pet a pill and make all their worries disappear … but do you really want a drugged pet? If you’d rather go a more natural route, there are options you can explore that will address your pet’s stress and may even help to enhance their overall health, in the process.

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Here are three natural aids to try out on pets that may be experiencing stress. Remember though, we’re not veterinarians. These are just some suggestions that you may want to consider. Please consult with your veterinarian before using any type of alternative therapy on your pet.

1. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy, as defined by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, “is the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.” It’s been used for millennia for human health, but in recent years, its positive effect on pet health has begun to garner attention. Veterinarians say that targeted essential oil therapy can be used to effectively treat a host of pet ailments, including stress.

Lavender oil is known for it’s ability to ease tension in humans and it can be useful for pets too! Or if your pet gets car sick, try spearmint or cardamom oil for nausea to take the stress out of car rides.

An important word of caution about using essential oils: it is easy to “overdose” your pet with aromatherapy, which can lead to allergic responses. It’s imperative to only use therapeutic grade oils for aromatherapy purposes and always dilute oils properly. Also, there are some essential oils which are toxic to cats and these should never be used in aromatherapy.

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2. Massage & Touch

If you’ve ever found yourself on a masseuse’s table, you know just how amazing a good massage can make you feel! All your stress just melts away, right? Well, how about imparting some of massage’s benefits on your pets?

Massage therapy can be quite effective in helping to relieve stress and its effects on the body. And, it works on both dogs and cats. There is also a specialized technique, called TTouch, which uses circular motions on animal bodies to promote wellness at the cellular level and may help to treat a wide range of pet issues, including stress. There are practitioners who specialize in animal massage and TTouch, but with some practice, most of their components can easily be performed by you, at home.

3. Herbs

Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years, but has recently risen in popularity as individuals seek better health through more natural means. Hundreds of herbs have been proven to help in treating common ailments that plague humans and in recent decades, herbal medicine for pets has become a much-sought-after veterinary specialty.

Chamomile and valerian can be helpful for anxiety or to calm hyperactive pets in stressful situations.

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Herbal remedies can be effective in managing stress in both dogs and cats and can be administered in several ways. Remember, though, some plant species are known to be very toxic to pets, so it’s important to do your research and consult with an experienced herbalist before administering any herbal remedy to your pets.

Pet-loving Green Monsters, what natural remedies have you found to be successful for your stressed pets?

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Image source: Jack/Flickr