There are many products available that can help in the reduction of stress or anxiety in a number of animals, each of which has different properties and effects the animals in a variety of ways. As each species has different requirements, there are products suited specifically to each.


Perhaps the animal with one of the most noticeable effects of stress and anxiety can be present in horses. Many are used for more than just being pets and, of course, they aren't kept in the home so experience much of their time alone or with other horses. When you take a horse out riding or even just visiting them in their stable, it can sometimes be noticed that they aren't acting as usual and there may seem to be tension in they way they act around you. Common causes of these problems can be when they have an unsettled digestive system or a lack of magnesium in their diet. A horse couldn't possibly tell us what the problem is, but by looking at the indications and actively trying to improve them, your horse's mood could be improved with just a simple change to what their diet consists of.

NAF magic available from VioVetNAF Magic is a supplement made up from several components which all help to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve confidence and concentration in horses. Magnesium is one of the key ingredients which is essential in a horse's diet. A lack of magnesium can be due to a grazing deficiency, regular travel, sporting events or simply due to the individual's metabolism. It can be noticed through such tells as a tightness in their muscles, anxiety, excitability or a lack of confidence. Apart from magnesium, NAF Magic contains a specially chosen blend of herbs which all contribute to better well being. Hops have been well used in various calming products due to their ability to calm the horse down and improve their concentration, which is especially important in eventing and showing. Passion Flower is another herbal ingredient which works in conjunction with the hops to break any nervous system patterns which are causing the horse stress or anxiety. NAF Magic only contains the essential, natural elements to help improve a horse's nervous system, so is completely legal to be used in competitions; making this product a sure fire winner for both family owned and high ranking competition horses.

Zylkene Equine available from VioVetAnother natural product which helps in reducing stress and behavioural problems in horses is Zylkene Equine. This product consists of an extracted milk protein (casein) as its primary ingredient. This has been successfully used by veterinarians on dogs and cats for many years and is included in Zylkene Equine to help horses become relaxed and overcome stressful situations. It works by reducing the intensity of reactions while improving their listening and concentration, making the horse more available for work and promoting their learning. Many horses will instinctively react to perceived danger by attempting to flee or responding in an aggressive manor. Any prolonged stress can produce a change in temperament, weaving or box walking, any of which will require action to be taken for the safety of both the horse and owner. Zylkene Equine helps to calm the horse in stressful situations simply by being added to their usual daily feed. The apple flavour of the product is agreeable to the palate so should be introduced to the diet without any problems. As well as being safe for continuous use in chronic behavioural situations, Zylkene Equine has not been associated with any sort of side effects such as sedation.

Dogs & Cats

For dogs and cats there are different products which affect their senses, rather than something they consume. Pheromones are either a single or collection of chemicals which are picked up by an organ in between the nose and mouth, known as the vomeronasal organ. When the animal picks up certain pheremones it can alter their mood and behaviour in various ways. As a cat rubs up against your leg, as well as gaining contact with you, it leaves a range of chemicals which it are there to reassure the cat that you are something in the environment that is not to be feared. There are now products available which consist of a synthetic version of these pheremones which, when sensed by your pet, can help to reduce stress and alter behaviour.

Feliway available from VioVetFeliway is one of these products which is aimed at cats. It is made up of a synthetic copy of the familiarisation facial pheromone that cats use to mark objects. By having this available to your cat in certain areas around the house, it can help to stop the cat scratching and spraying. In various studies it has been found that Feliway has shown a reduction in spraying which exceeds what has been achieved with drugs, without the associated risks. It is also used to familiarise a cat with its location, especially useful when moving house, changing furniture or having building work done. By making the cat feel at home using feliway it can reduce the stress they encounter when dealing with these situations. Feliway comes either as an aerosol spray or a diffuser. The spray can be used to mark specific places such as doorways or furniture, whereas the diffuser can be plugged into a room to spread over an area up to 70 square metres.

Adaptil available from VioVetAdaptil is another diffuser product which is a synthetic copy of the mothering pheromones which a mother dog releases to calm and reassure her puppies. By using this diffuser during situations like house moving, parties, going on holiday and around fireworks night, you can help calm your dog down and stop them exhibiting signs of stress. There may be different behaviour that you recognise in your dog, such as excessive barking, shaking, drooling, excessive licking and hiding, which give you an idea that they are stressed and something needs to be done. These symptoms could be reduced by using adaptil to calm down your dog and get them feeling their old self again. It is also ideal for when getting a new puppy. Their first experience of being away from their mum can be quite a frightening one. They could start night crying or become very subdued in social situations, both of which may be improved by placing an Adaptil diffuser in the house or an Adaptil collar around the neck.

For advice on helping your pet through this year's fireworks, you can read our short fireworks blog post or more detailed knowledge base article.

Written by: Richard