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Maddie's Insights - Treatment Options for Canine Fears and Anxiety

  • 1.  Maddie's Insights - Treatment Options for Canine Fears and Anxiety

    Posted 01-03-2023 11:59 AM

    Join us on the second Thursday every month for a series on the latest research in animal well-being and how you can use the findings in your shelter and community.  This presentation will be given by one of the world's most pre-eminent animal behaviorists, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM, DACVA, DACVB and Ian Dinwoodie, a data analyst and software engineer.  Both are from Tufts University and the Center for Canine Behavior Studies which Dr. Dodman co-founded.


    This webcast was recorded on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

    Title: Treatment Options for Canine Fears and Anxiety

    The presenters will discuss the results of their recent publication concerning optimal treatments for various canine behavior issues related to fear and anxiety. In a previous study, they showed that 44% of all dogs have one or more of such issues, so treatment of these problems, ranging from separation anxiety, to storm and noise phobia, to generalized anxiety and PTSD, should be of wide interest. They will detail the odds of improvement in individual problems of this nature that are treated by different types of professionals, along with the programs and techniques they employ, and the success of each.

    Viewers will:

    1. Learn which behavior professional to consult for the best chance of success with each individual fear and anxiety behavior problem
    2. The best behavior modification techniques to be employed for each problem
    3. Optimal supportive and managemental measures
    4. The likely success or failure of different treatments for each problem, including which medical interventions might help, and whether nutraceuticals and dietary measures might help

    After viewing, join us right here to comment or ask questions.

    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

    This webcast has been approved) for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval.

    About the presenter

    Dr. Dodman with his canine friend

    Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM, DACVA, DACVB

    Dr. Dodman attended Glasgow University Veterinary School in Scotland where he received a BVMS (DVM equivalent). He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. In 1981, Dr. Dodman immigrated to the United States where he became a faculty member of Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts. Shortly after his arrival, Dr. Dodman became interested in behavioral pharmacology and the field of animal behavior. After spending several years in this area of research, in 1986 he founded the Animal Behavior Clinic—one of the first of its kind—at Tufts. Since 1990 he has devoted his time to the specialty practice of animal behavior. He received board certification in animal behavior from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 1995.

    Dr. Dodman is currently Professor Emeritus at Tufts University and President of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies. He has written five acclaimed bestselling books and has authored two textbooks and over 300 article and contributions to scientific books and journals. He also holds several U.S. patents for various inventions related to the control of animal behavior. Dr. Dodman appears regularly on radio and television as a behavioral expert.

    Dr. Dodman is a member of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists, the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and he is a Leadership Council member of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and is HSVMA co-state representative for Massachusetts.

    Ian Dinwoodie with canine friend

    Ian Dinwoodie, Software Engineer, Programming Data Analysis

    Ian Dinwoodie is currently a Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) degree candidate at the Extension School in the field of Software Engineering at Harvard University. He graduated from Tufts University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Since 2011, Ian has served as an independent contractor with a focus on bridging the gap between emerging data-driven resources and academia. He is the software engineer responsible for building and managing the Center for Canine Behavior Studies’ electronic data capture solutions on Vanderbilt University's open-source REDCap platform. His recent clients include The University of Pennsylvania, The Mayo Clinic, NASA, Honeywell, TSMC, Samsung, and Texas Instruments.


    alison gibson
    Senior Media Specialist
    Maddie's Fund

  • 2.  RE: Maddie's Insights - Treatment Options for Canine Fears and Anxiety

    Posted 03-10-2023 03:44 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Here's the answers from Dr. Dodman to questions that we didn't have time to get to during the webcast. 

    Could you please recommend some other herbal supplements or Nutraceuticals?

    Valerian treats insomnia, anxiety, and nervous restlessness

    St John's Wort - may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

    Kava Kava – for anxiety and stress

    Huperzine-A – treats cognitive dysfunction (Alzheimers) and seizures

    Camomile – calming and good for gastrointestinal (GI) irritability

    Ginger – settles GI tract

    There are many others but there is a selection of commonly used ones that I have some faith in (and sometimes evidence about)

    Our foster, a pharoah hound mix rescued from an animal hoarding situation, has been with us for nine weeks but still cannot be touched.  He wants to be around us all the time but jumps & takes off when he is touched. We give him a melatonin tryptophan supplement, fluoxetine & CBD oil every day.  That has stopped him from attacking our dogs, but there is no improvement for human interaction.  Are there other things we can try? I would try buspirone (ask your vet to prescribe it – twice daily dosing)

    Was there any parameters for dogs that were considered for the study based on level of fear and anxiety exhibited. Were they all relatively similiar? Good question. I think we just asked whether the dog had an anxiety condition and to check a box with a list of possible anxious issues. It could be that had we asked about severity, we may have found that mild cases were to ones that responded best.

    It's sad that perhaps some animals and their people miss opportunities for comprehensive care - which if started earlier - could result in better outcomes and welfare. This is where good collaborations between qualified professionals should be encouraged. (not a question, but a good comment!) I agree. That's what we are trying to do – encourage people to see their vet and a trainer or behaviorist early on, before things get out of hand.

    Does the evidence point to a need for more standardization and professionalism in the training field? (As we may know anecdotally) Yes, I think accreditation is important and course work should be standardized as far as possible. Sadly, qualifications of any type (standardized or not) are currently not required in the United States for dog trainers, electricians, plumbers, etc. It used to be the Wild West even in veterinary medicine until many years ago when the Veterinary Practice Act was introduced to make it illegal to practice veterinary medicine without a license. What is taught in accredited vet schools is standardized and regularly evaluated/re-accrediated by the AVMA

    Sheila Segurson, DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Director of Outreach and Research
    Maddie's Fund
    Pleasanton CA