What is Valerian Root?
The Valerian plant is an herb that’s native to Europe and Asia that can now be found growing in the wild across the world. In traditional medicine, parts of the Valerian plant, mainly Valerian Root, have been used for many years for its calming effects. It’s now common to find Valerian Root in many different supplements for humans, and the herb’s calming benefits are now being used for dogs, too.
What are the benefits of Valerian Root for dogs?
Research shows Valerian Root may help ease anxiety in dogs
Research by Sechi S, Di Cerbo A, Canello S, Guidetti G, Chiavolelli F, Fiore F,
Cocco R. on Effects in dogs with behavioral disorders of a commercial
nutraceutical diet on stress and neuroendocrine parameters has shown that Valerian Root may be helpful at easing symptoms of anxiety and worry that your pet might feel when they’re in a stressful situation. Dogs can experience stress and unease just like humans can, but for our best friends, these situations might be:
- When they’re left on their own at home and experience separation anxiety
- During thunderstorms or fireworks when they’re frightened by the loud, unexpected noise
- When at the vet or groomer
- Travelling in the car
- Being around unfamiliar people or dogs, like at the dog park or at family gatherings
- The loss of a loved one in the household, either human or furry friend.
Valerian Root is thought to increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain*. This is a neurotransmitter that helps to block transmissions between neurons in the brain that stimulate activity, including stress or anxiety. With higher levels of GABA, this can support your pet to be calmer when they’re in a situation that they find stressful or worrisome.
Also, the compounds that give Valerian Root its characteristic pungent smell (valepotriates) may have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in the body.
Valerian Root can improve the quality of sleep for dogs
Studies by Sechi S, Di Cerbo A, Canello S, Guidetti G, Chiavolelli F, Fiore F,Cocco R.* have shown that Valerian Root can help to reduce the length of time it takes to fall asleep, while also improving the quality of sleep. When your pup is better rested, it can help them to better cope with stress when it does arise.
Is Valerian Root safe for dogs?
Yes, Valerian Root is safe for dogs, when taken at the correct dose for your dog’s weight. Keep in mind that if your dog is pregnant or lactating, Valerian Root should be avoided as there is very little research into the safety of Valerian Root in pregnant & lactating animals. Similarly, if your pet is on any medication, it’s best to chat with your vet to see if Valerian Root is right for them, in case there may be any interactions with the supplement and their current treatment.
How to give your dog Valerian Root
As the dosage of Valerian Root for dogs needs to be quite specific to be safe and effective, it’s best given in a supplement for dogs.
ZamiPet Relax & Calm
ZamiPet Relax & Calm is a great tasting, breakable chew containing four calming ingredients to support a healthy nervous system and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety in dogs: L-Tryptophan, Valerian Root, Chamomile and L-Theanine.
This premium health supplement is specially formulated with high levels of four calming active ingredients to support a calm pup. For best results it should be given to your dog once a day.
The information in this article was checked by ZamiPet Veterinarian and General Manager Dr Andrew McKay, BVSc, University of Melbourne, 2000. Vet Registration No: V3985
Disclaimer: This information is general advice only. Before starting any treatment or supplement with your pet, please consult your vet first for the best approach to getting your pet back to their best health.
Sechi S, Di Cerbo A, Canello S, Guidetti G, Chiavolelli F, Fiore F,
Cocco R. Effects in dogs with behavioral disorders of a commercial
nutraceutical diet on stress and neuroendocrine parameters. Vet Rec. 2017 Jan
7;180(1):18. doi: 10.1136/vr.103865. Epub 2016 Nov 24. PMID: 27885066;
Hattesohl M, Feistel B, Sievers H, Lehnfeld R, Hegger M,
Winterhoff H. Extracts of Valeriana officinalis L. s.l. show anxiolytic and antidepressant effects but neither sedative nor myorelaxant properties.
Phytomedicine. 2008 Jan;15(1-2):2-15. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2007.11.027. PMID:18160026.
Kennedy DO, Little W, Haskell CF, Scholey AB. Anxiolytic effects of a combination of Melissa officinalis and Valeriana officinalis during laboratory induced stress. Phytother Res. 2006 Feb;20(2):96-102. doi:10.1002/ptr.1787. PMID: 16444660