Today we want to take a closer look at the calming benefits of the Valerian plant. Many cat toys use Valerian instead of catnip nowadays as they generate a similar playful effect as catnip but leave cats more calm, relaxed and mellow after the playtime which is down to the calming agent located within the valerian plant.
One calming pet product that makes use of this benefit of the Valerian plant is Pet Remedy which uses Valerian absolute oil that is obtained by cold extraction from the roots and rhizomes of the plant, Valeriana Officinalis, and has been used for centuries as an effective and safe calming agent.
So what is it in the Valerian plant that generates this effect on animals?
Known compounds detected in valerian that may contribute to its method of action are: Sesquiterpenes: (contained in the volatile oil): isovaleric acid, valerenic acid,valerenal, and valereno.
What can cause stress to your pet where this could be beneficial?
Stress can be triggered by things such as:
- New pet in home
- New home
- Changes in home
- Loud noises
- Travel / Visit to Vets
- Loss of companion
- Change in routine
- Alone at home
Signs of stress include:
- Behaviour change
- Over grooming
- Lack of interaction
- Loss of appetite
I am sure most of us have seen signs and behavioural changes such as the ones listed above in our pet companions before and it’s horrible when it happens. Who wouldn’t worry when your cuddly puss all of a sudden turns into an aggressive beast?
This is there calming products come in handy to help alleviate the stress!
What product would we recommend?
We personally would recommend Pet Remedy. We’ve been using their product for years for visits to the vet as well as minimising tension in our multi-cat household. While as most of you know they all get on well there is just like with humans a potential for certain things to “pee off one of the other cats”. 😉 Our most remarkable experience was how Nubia now allows her brother to groom her for quite some time. She was never keen on this due to his grooming intensity and only after adding a valerian diffuser to our house did this change.
How does Pet Remedy work?
Pet Remedy works with the pet’s own natural calming mechanisms by mimicking GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), which is a natural calming agent present in all mammals, birds, and reptiles. So when a pet becomes stressed or anxious Pet Remedy helps trick fired-up nerve cells into thinking they are getting a message from the brain to calm. This is why it starts to help instantly.
Explained by Dr. Flo Watt MRCPsych (Consultant Psychiatrist)
What else is in Pet Remedy?
The formulation is predominantly Valerian oil based, with small inclusions of Vetiver, Sweet Basil, and Clary Sage essential oils.
- Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) which is a tough, aromatic grass which belongs to the same botanical family as lemongrass, citronella and palmarosa. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the roots. Vetiver has been appreciated for its calming properties since records began.
- Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an aromatic herb with lush green leaves. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and the flowering tops. Sweet Basil essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for its calming effect.
- Clary Sage (Salvia Sclaria) is a biennial herb, native to the Mediterranean region. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the buds and leaves. Clary Sage has been praised throughout history as a medicinal plant, particularly for its calming properties.
Why do we recommend Pet Remedy?
Some of you may think: “If it’s an essential oil, surely I can just get some myself and use it in an air humidifier or similar” but first of all not all essential oils have the same purity and especially when buying oils for use on humans their strength level may be very different to that prepared for pets. Not to forget they could also contain additives that could have a negative impact or even be dangerous for you. Thus we highly recommend products designed for pets such as pet remedy that take great care at producing the right concentration that is safe and benefical for our pets.
Especially with Valerian based preparations, one has to be careful as many are too potent and can sedate rather than calm your pet. Pet Remedy is low concentration and the diffuser delivers a constant slow release, which is very kind and gentle in its effect on the metabolism. Likewise for the calming sprays and wipes which are water-based.
Does it smell bad?
Ha, so some of you are probably thinking of our Valerian toys and how potent their smell is. Well, you are in luck! Pet Remedy does not make your home a stinky place like our toys because of the fact that it contains the extracted oils rather than pieces of roots like our valerian toys.
What are the use cases we’ve used this for?
There are many different scenarios in which we believe this could be of benefit and we’ve listed our top choices below.
- If you have a multi cat / pet household it’s a good idea to use one of these diffusers on a regular basis. No matter how well your pets get along just like us humans edge on with each other at times this can happen to our pets too! Having one of these around will help minimise this risk like it’s helped us with Oliver’s grooming happens.
- Trips to the vet, Spraying the bedding / blanket that you are going to use in the carrier with a bit of http://petremedy.co.uk/product/pet-calming-spray-200ml/ Pet Remedy before heading off should make your journey less painful and your vet will most likely appreciate a calmer cat too. 😉
- Cat shows, as many of you know we tend to go to a number of different cat shows by the various cat associations out there. As these shows meant that there are plenty of cats in a hall it can of course lead to some tension in the cats. To help minimise potential stress and help create an overall more calm enviroment at the end it can really help to ensure that people use valerian on their pens bedding, toys and similar. Pet Remedy also has handy calming wipes that can be used to gently rub around the muzzle, under the chin and top of the chest of your pet to calm and relax them.
Please also check out the video below for some more expert advice and use cases.
We hope you all found this article useful and do let us know if you have any further questions or would like to find out what type of application we’d recommend for certain circumstances.