The little white dog hates thunder. Hate isn’t exactly the word. He’s terrified by thunder. And fire-crackers.
Thunder was a bigger deal when we lived in Tornado Alley. And you’d think, with all the rain in the Pacific Northwest, it would be a big deal here — but we live on the coast of the Pacific and while there is a deluge of rain, a flood of showers, and a nearly constant drizzly morning — there is surprisingly little thunder.
However, the personal fireworks that were forbidden, illicit, and banned in the ever-drought-ful Texas panhandle — are commonplace here in Oregon. Legal at all times except for things that shoot and rocket skyward (and thus forest-ward.) So people come to the seashore for the summer holiday and buy fireworks again and again. They very conscientiously fire them off down on the beach — but that’s about 300 yards from us — and the little white dog.
This year he was so panic’d that he ended up taking valium.
His panic and stress and anxiety and rattled nerves and tension and sleepless nights steamrolled right over him this year, leaving him a nervous wreck and physically sick to the point that we weren’t sure either if he was going to survive, or how we could help him.
After a couple of vet visits, it turns out he has several health problems that compound each other and really have put him in danger — so I started reading.
I’ve known about and studied herbal remedies for almost 3 decades — so I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to look that direction before — but after considerable reading, and looking at several high-end doggie therapy products (which don’t make any herbal claims — but use almost exclusively herbal ingredients) — here is what I’ve learned and what we are now using to help the dog.
The idea is to brew this stuff up, then put it in a spray bottle and spray the bedding/blanket etc. where the dog sleeps. It does have a golden-brown tea-color to it, so don’t spray anything you don’t want colored…..
(For cats, many experts recommend spraying it directly on their paws so that when they bathe themselves — they ingest the “tea” I sprayed one of the dog’s paws, and it seemed to work in exactly the same way. he immediately licked his paw until the tea was gone, then laid down and took a quiet nap!)
The smell is not at all unpleasant — just smells like nice herbal tea and some interesting cooking has been going on. In fact, if you were to dilute this mixture by about half, it would probably make an acceptable substitute for Sleepytime, or other relaxing, calming herbal mixtures for people who get nervous around thunder. Or fireworks. Or inlaws. Or nasty bosses. 🙂
CHAUNCEY’S TEA AND BEDDING SPRAY
Measurements are given in “parts” to show proportions. I make this to fill a 3 cup sprayer bottle, so 1 part = 1 teaspoon, but if you use something like a chamomile tea-bag instead of loose chamomile — use 1 teabag for each part.
- 5 cups clear water
- 4 parts lavender*
- 4 parts chamomile
- 2 parts linden leaves/flowers
- 2 parts lemon balm
- 1 part mint leaves
- 1 part whole cloves
- 1 part powdered cinnamon (or 2 parts broken cinnamon sticks)
- 1 part grated nutmeg
- 1 part rosemary
- 1 part cardamom pods
- 1 part whole allspice
Bring the water, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, rosemary and allspice to a boil, then reduce to a med-low temp, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients (they will absorb a lot of the water) — and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and let the tea come to room temperature. This will take a while, so go read a book.
Add 2 each of the cloves, allspice, cinnamon pieces, and cardamom to your spray bottle, then strain the remaining tea into the bottle. (I squeeze it out with my hand to get as much of the liquid as possible.) Spray bedding and/or paws generously.
Store in the refrigerator.
*A note about sourcing some of this stuff — culinary spices/herbs like peppermint, clove etc are fine source from your local grocery, or a spice merchant like Penzeys.com. Even chamomile teabags are available in most local markets — made by Celestial Seasonings, Republic of Tea, or one of the other mass-marketed tea companies. However, linden and lavender are a little harder to come by. Harney & Sons offers both linden and a linden-mint teabags (they call it Tilleul) — either of which will do nicely for the linden and possibly the mint called for; and they sell loose culinary-grade lavender buds by the pound at a good price, as well as a tea-bagged blend of lavender and chamomile they call “Blue & Yellow.” Likewise, Frontier Co-Op sells many of these ingredients online in bulk. They also sell some as essential oils, but the oils would likely stain everywhere they were sprayed with an oily residue — and the oils themselves are so concentrated that they could irritate your pet’s skin.
While it’s true that some of these ingredients are a little expensive — it doesn’t take much to make a whole spray bottle full of tea — and it has to be better for them than Valium. And — the commercially made versions of this are much more expensive.