An evidence-based approach to choosing, combining, and using commercial calming supplements in the rescue setting

An overarching welfare priority of animal rescue centres is the management of stress. The successful rehoming of especially cats and dogs depends on how well they learn to manage their own negative emotional states during their stay.

Alongside compassionate handling and training, the use of commercial ‘calming’ supplements is an important aid in this rehabilitation process. Each commercial supplement comes with its own instructions of use, supported by primarily anecdotal testimony. What is missing is an overall, objective across-product set of guidelines.

In order to adopt an animal-centric approach to care, a knowledge of the pharmacology of supplement ingredients matter.

  • What to choose?
  • How to mix-and-match for an individual animal in distress?
  • Where to find additional information?

Alongside common herbal remedies, some supplements also contain other ingredients such as L-theanine, L-tryptophan, L-glutamic acid, L-arginine and potassium.

  • How do they work?
  • What do they do?

Answering these questions requires a deep dive into the obscure worlds of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, neuroscience, and medicine. My job as a science communicator is to extract and bring to life the information that matters to you and to the animals in your care.


You can find out more about the Association of Dog and Cats Homes HERE