Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Changing The Chi In Chico

The Change In Chi

This week's blog post is a follow up to my last post "Good Chi".  About three weeks ago I took Chico to his first appointment where he received acupuncture and a herbal supplement to aid in his recovery of reactivity and fearfulness.  Since his initial appointment he has received an additional acupuncture injection.  We also started him on holistic prescription supplement called NutriCalm.  After Chico's initial acupuncture visit we didn't start the NutriCalm right away, we waited 5 days to see what results he experienced from the acupuncture alone.

Results We Saw After Acupuncture Alone

We initially noticed that Chico appeared happier and slightly calmer.  In addition we've noticed a 95 % decrease in circling, pacing and floor licking.  These behaviors are offered when Chico is nervous or uneasy and just doesn't know what to do.  Overall he appears more relaxed.  He's happier just laying down rather than the constant movement and jumping on window sills to bark at whatever happens to be outside.  I want to be very specific, this isn't a cure but certainly an added bonus if you are doing behavior modification with your dog.


Adding The Herbs!

I didn't intend to give Chico the NutriCalm on a regular basis, only when we knew we would be in a stressful situation.  After trying it several days, I was convinced that I wanted to give this supplement to Chico everyday.  The major changes we've noticed since giving Chico the NutriCalm is that he has been more in tune with us, super relaxed, and he has been offering a lot play and fun behaviors   He's been more affectionate and has had a strong desire to hang out and be close. The supplement doesn't appear to make him tired, just more relaxed.   My mom even noted that there was a change in him.  Other observations include Chico being a lot less bossy when playing and listening better the first time we say "enough." 

Is he still reactive to bikes and people?  Yes.  It's not a miracle.  He's certainly less intense, more easily re-directed with his reactivity.  I feel we can now start to work through some of his fear issues on a less intense level.  Chico is more content and generally happier.  Overall, I don't think it really changes the reactivity to the high stress things like bikes.  I believe the reaction is dialed down, and lasts a shorter duration of time.  It's hard to tell since he's only been on the supplement for a short time.  I would definitely recommend this to people who are looking to aid their dogs in behavior modification.  However, I want to be very specific, this isn't a cure but certainly an added bonus if you are doing behavior modification with your dog.

What Is In Those Pills?

Ingredients Per Capsule in NutriCalm  for dogs:

L-Tryptophan 150 mg:
Tryptophan is a neutral amino acid that exists naturally in your dog's body and is essential in small amounts for a healthy diet. It aids in healthy digestion and serves as the precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with healthy, calm emotions and self-control.

Valerian Root Extract 50 mg:
Valerian root is often recommended as an herbal treatment for anxiety in dogs.  In addition to its anti-anxiety properties, Valerian can be used to treat hyperactivity, restlessness, insomnia, and other stress and anxiety conditions. Valerian can even be used to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in epileptic dogs.

Ashwaganda Extract 50 mg:
Ashwagandha Extract helps reduce stress and promote overall well-being. Ashwagandha herb has been used as a sedative, a diuretic, a rejuvenating tonic, an anti-inflammatory agent, and as an endurance enhancer.

Catnip Extras 50 mg:

This plant has a calming effect and may help occasional diarrhea or gas.

Kava Kava 30 mg:
Kava Kava reduces anxiety, relaxes tension (including muscle tension), and calms restlessness without a loss of mental sharpness or kinesthetic senses (strength and balance) or the muscles.

Calcium 30 mg:

Calcium can aid in the develop and maintaining strong teeth and bones.
Magnesium 30 mg:
Magnesium is an important co-factor in maintaining an electrical balance across membranes.  It also regulates calcium movement into smooth muscle cells, and is important to contractile strength (the muscle's capability to contract) and to the stability of the surface vessels of the body.


Have you used herbal or prescription drugs to aid in your dog's behavior?  What did you use?  Did it work?  Would you do it again?  I'm curious to know what others have done.

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