Reality - bulldogs are perpetual toddlers. Some are lazy, especially as they age. But for sure every puppy is a puppy. Most bulldogs I know are crazy until at least three! So many people reach out to us overwhelmed by their active young bulldog. They thought they were getting a couch potato at birth. Bulldogs are not inherently lazy!
So what’s the key to a well balanced calm dog? There’s no one size fits all answer. And there’s certainly no bandaid. A lot comes down to training. (Inside scoop - we’ll be starting up our Training Tuesdays in full force soon with an added bonus…. we’ll be partnering with Click Treat Repeat to bring you some expert advice on positive-based, fear-free training!)
We had request for specific calming tricks for the car, the vet, and at bedtime. So let’s touch on some of the supplements we might use to help in those special situations….
Disclosure 1 - we are not vets. The information provided in these blogs should not be used in place of veterinary advice. We recommend working with a holistic or integrative veterinarian. To find a holistic vet near you , use the search engine at https://www.ahvma.org).
Disclosure 2 - You can find many of the items we talk about on our amazon shopping list: https://a.co/hncJZnW. For every item purchased on this list, we do receive monetary compensation from Amazon! YAY!
These are generally used daily, not situational. The ones we use are from JingTang which must be prescribed by a vet certified in TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine). But there are some ‘over the counter’ versions that could be used if you dont have a TCVM. Calm Shen by Herbsmith is one.
Flower essences are considered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It’s based on the idea that flowers have a healing vibrational energy. We’ll talk more on Flower Essences and how they’re made in a later post. They can be used for a lot of things, not just anxiety.
One of the most well known flower essences is Bach’s Rescue Remedy, which is a mixture of five different flower essences (Cherry Plum, Clematis, Impatiens, Rock Rose, and Star of Bethlehem). It is indicated for anxiety, agitation, upset, terror, and shock. You can find this on our amazon list: https://a.co/hncJZnW
Give before thunderstorms, before car rides, or before vet visits.
Adaptil is a synthetic pheromone that sends “comforting messages” to help dogs feel calm and relaxed by mimicking a mother’s natural nursing pheromones. We use a ton of Adaptil in our rescue. We always spray it in the car before picking up new intakes, spray before storms, and spray it in veterinary clinic rooms before vet visits (most fear free vets have the diffuser going all the time, and will even spray their own clothes prior to coming in the room).
It comes in several different application methods:
Spray: Each application lasts 4-5 hours and can be sprayed in the car, on collars, shirts, leashes, bandanas, blankets, crates, and more (do not spray directly on dog).
Collar: Place collar on your dog and the body heat will activate the calming pheromones. Each collar will last for 30 days
Home Diffuser Kit: heated diffuser covers up to 700 square feet and must be plugged in continuously; for the best results position the diffuser where your dog spends most of their time, and avoid plugging the diffuser in under shelves and behind doors, curtains, or furniture. Must replace the vial once a month, and the diffuser every 6 months.
((They also have each of these versions in a cat formula called Feliway, which we also highly recommend for cats))
Note: The ONLY essential oils we recommend are animalEO by Dr Melissa Shelton
This is a very intense blend and a little bit goes a long way! The “Neat” formula is for use in spray bottles and diffusers. The RTU version is already diluted in fractionated coconut oil so it’s for topical application only.
A small spritz inside Bennie’s crate was essential to overcoming his separation anxiety and crate training. It can also be spritzed in the car before travel - but again dilute it because it is strong!
Note: This blend is anticipated to be discontinued in its original recipe Summer of 2022 – due to the ingredient Blue Cypress being no longer available. However, Dr Shelton is in the process of trying to make a comparable blend. Although she states there will be no substitute for the Blue Cypress!
Animals can go through many Transitions in their life journey. This blend is an incredible support to all changes. Based heavily in Rose and Frankincense, this combination is a must-have. This blend is a powerful connection for all things spiritual, emotional, and energetic. It can aid greatly with euthanasia situations, grieving, emotional concerns, and support of life-force
This blend has been great for when we lose one of our fosters, whether they pass or get adopted, it is a change in dynamics in the home and this blend helps us get through it.
Through A Dog’s Ear (now known as “iCalm” ) is a selection of specific music that builds on the ground breaking psychoacoustic research of Dr. Alfred Tomatis (1920-2001). Known as the “Einstein of the ear,” Tomatis discovered the extraordinary powers of sound as a “nutrient for the nervous system.” These recordings are psychoacoustically designed to support you and your dog’s compromised immune or nervous system function.
Of course everyone has probably been recommended CBD oil at some point. But not all CBD oil is created equal. We recommend reaching out to our friends at Naturally Healthy Hemp to ask which formula may be right for your dog. We use a lot of CBD Dog Health - Calm Formula.
These can work. But honestly we find it a hit or miss for each dog. Journee is knocked out with 2 Composure treats, but Bennie could eat a whole bag and be ready to party. You have to find the one that works for your dog.
Having a specific routine at bedtime can help calm your pet down. It’s important to have an adequate amount of exercise a day, even for a bulldog. The old saying is “a tired dog is a good dog” , but think about how you sometimes feel when you’re too tired. Better yet, think how your toddler feels when they’re too tired - they’re CRANKY!! So don’t try to completely wear them out daily. You want to expend a healthy amount of physical energy, but also stimulate their mind.
Sniffari - Don’t take your dog on a walk, take them on a Sniffari! The point of a sniffari is to allow your dog to explore the world by way of all its glorious smells. Using their sense of smell is incredibly enriching for our dogs. They're using a lot of brainpower to sniff through all the information they find, which makes this activity a great option for mental exercise.
Did you know that Hyper Pet has 2 different styles of Licki Mat? The LickiMat Soother helps to promote calm behavior in pets during stressful situations, including thunderstorms. This would be a great option before bed to wind down.
Couple a licki-mat with some calming music before bed to set up a calm-down routine.