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Know-How: Keep Your Gundog Calm and Collected

Know-How: Keep Your Gundog Calm and Collected

Stay calm. Stop whining, stop barking, stop shaking, drop the squirrel, back away from that cow pie and nobody has to get hurt.

Not to be too Hollywood here, but if your hyperactive dog is driving you nuts with its over-the-top drama and excitement, you might want to investigate the latest in canine care—calming care. As in “calm down!”

We’ve all seen overly excitable hunting dogs in the field. Pointers that bark non-stop on the road to the hunt. Labs that whine and chatter their teeth incessantly in the blind. Worse are the hyper or fearful dogs that tear up the house, the kennel, the travel crate …

Regardless of the exact hyper behavior, it does neither the dog, the owner, or the guests any good. So calm down Rover. But how?

Via the magic of modern chemistry. Seriously, while there are such things as anxiety coats, snuggle toys, security blankets and “safehouse” kennels, drastic dogs demand drastic measures, and chemicals could be it. Other than the “doggy downers” joked about on Saturday Night Live skits back in the Belushi era, I had no idea there were over-the-counter dog calming agents until I received a sample pack of Purina Pro Plan Calming Care. That got me to researching, and I discovered a confusion of similar products. They contain a variety of ingredients: pheromones, B-vitamins, chamomile, magnesium, ginger root, probiotics, and L-taurine and L-tryptophan. (Isn’t that what’s in turkey that causes that infamous Thanksgiving afternoon nap?) Heck, there’s even one calming mix made with hemp, as in marijuana, though there is no active THC in it.

So does any of this stuff work? Most brands cite veterinarians who claim it does, but I doubt they’ve done any double-blind studies. Still, anything’s worth a try. I’m going to feed my setter Purina Calming Care this fall to cure her excessive drooling during car travel. Who knows? It might do the trick.

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