Many pet supplement manufacturers offer formulas that are designed to calm anxious, hyperactive pets. These pet calming supplements generally contain various natural ingredients that act as depressants, some of which we’ll analyze below. Pet calming supplements are most often marketed in the form of chews or tablets, but these forms contain fillers and have poor absorbability; of the nutrient quantities specified on the supplement facts label, as little as 50% of each will be absorbed and used by the body.
On the other hand, liquid supplements are more easily processed by the body, and studies have shown that liquid supplements are more quickly absorbed than conventional supplement forms. Tablets and pills can also be difficult to administer (especially to pets), but liquid supplements can be easily mixed in with a pet’s food or water for quick ingestion, followed by quick absorption. Now that we’ve established the superiority of liquid supplements as a medium, let’s look at specific ingredients that are frequently used in pet calming supplements.
Valerian (Valeriana officiinalis) is an herb, the root of which is used to make various products, including teas, perfumes, and supplements. Valerian has been around for quite some time; even records of the ancient Greeks and Romans contain clear references to it. Studies have shown that valerian’s constituency offers sedative effects comparable to that of commercial benzodiazepines. Thus, its inclusion in a pet calming supplement seems entirely reasonable.
Chamomile (or camomile, if you are an Anglophile) is a daisy-like plant that is frequently used to make herbal medicines intended to induce sleep or alleviate anxiety. Studies conducted on chamomile’s ability to treat stress have shown encouraging correlations.
The passionflower (from which the passion fruit is derived) is another common natural ingredient in quality pet calming supplements. Passionflower was once approved in the U.S. as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid, but it has since been taken off the market because no definitive trials have been done on its efficacy. Nevertheless, passionflower contains chemicals that are known to have sedative effects.
The female flowers of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus) are most conspicuously used in the brewing of beers, where they serve to support the activity of the brewer’s yeast, add a certain taste, and offer depressant effects. Thus, it is understandable that they should also be used in natural medicines and supplements designed to relax and sedate.