In Part 1 of Understanding Anxiety in Pets, we defined anxiety, described causes and associated behaviors, and looked at the top reasons pets are relinquished and euthanized.
In Part 2 of Understanding Anxiety in Pets, we examined the different methods available to treat anxiety in pets. We mentioned nutritional supplements, such as Zylkene and Solliquin.
Today, in Part 3 of Understanding Anxiety in Pets, we will take a look at how nutritional supplements affect anxious pets, to give them relief.
In a pet’s brain, there are several neurotransmitters that affect mood:
- Glutamate: causes fear, anxiety, excitement. Ideally, glutamate levels are suppressed in an effort to reduce behavioral issues associated with fear and anxiety.
- GABA: Essentially the opposite of glutamate, it can be increased in order to produce calm via an inhibitory effect.
- Serotonin: low levels lead to depression; it can be increased indirectly, using supplements that convert to serotonin in the brain.
Zylkene is a product containing hydrolyzed milk protein. The tryptophan content of the milk protein can be converted to serotonin in the pet’s brain, producing a calming effect.
Solliquin contains L-theanine, an amino acid that binds to glutamate receptors without activating them; instead, it blocks glutamate and stimulates alpha brain waves, known to lead to deep relaxation, while the pet remains awake and aware.
Another ingredient, Phellodendron (not to be confused with toxic philodendron), also blocks the release of glutamate. It is used in combination with Magnolia extract, which enhances GABA receptors in the brain, allowing more GABA to enter the synapse and producing a calming effect. Magnolia and Phellodendron appear to work better together, than they do alone.
Solliquin contains milk whey protein, which has tryptophan in it, again converting to serotonin to increase this important neurotransmitter in the pet’s brain, helping to regulate mood.
When is it appropriate to use nutritional supplements for behavior issues?
- early stage anxiety
- mild anxiety
- predictable changes (storm, travel, holidays, moving)
- before a visit to the vet
- as adjunct therapy (including behavioral modification and conditioning)
If you suspect that your pet is showing signs of anxiety, Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, so we can schedule an appointment to discuss your pet’s behavior today.