L-Theanine for Dogs: Anti-anxiety effects

There is limited research on the use of L-theanine specifically for dogs with behavior problems, but some studies suggest that it may have potential benefits for reducing anxiety and improving behavior.

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been studied for its calming effects on the brain. It is thought to increase the production of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine (1), which can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

One study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that L-theanine supplementation reduced anxiety and fear-related behaviors in dogs during thunderstorms. (2) Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that L-theanine supplementation reduced stress and improved sleep quality in dogs.(3)

L-theanine and its use for aggression

L-theanine is unlikely to improve aggression on its own, although combined with other compounds such anti-inflammatory compounds (CLA, Krill), pre/probiotics, 5-HTP, may prove beneficial for improving aggression.(5)

However, because relaxation is such a critical component to the success of behavior modification, L-theanine supplementation may be very useful for reducing stress and fear during behavior modification.(7)

While L-theanine is found in tea leaves, tea contains caffeine and caffeine can potentially cause heart issues in dogs. (8) Tea or tea leaves should not be given to dogs.

Side Effects

L-theanine is generally considered safe for dogs, and there have been no reports of significant side effects in dogs at recommended doses. However, as with any supplement, there is always the potential for adverse reactions, especially if given in excessive amounts.

Some dogs may experience minor gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea or vomiting, if they are sensitive to L-theanine. In rare cases, dogs may also experience an allergic reaction, which can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

It’s also possible that L-theanine could interact with other medications that a dog may be taking, so it’s important to discuss any supplements with a veterinarian before giving them to a dog.

In addition to supplements, behavior modification and training may also be necessary to address the underlying causes of behavior problems in dogs. A holistic approach that combines supplements, behavior modification, and training may be the most effective way to help dogs with behavior problems.

Supplements

L-theanine may be combined with other products in many supplements aimed at reducing anxiety.

Anxitane M & L (L-Theanine) Chewable Tablets

This supplement contains L-theanine which has been used in several studies. Potentially it may be useful for in combination with desensitization practices with dogs that show fear aggression toward unfamiliar people. Read more about ANXITANE® tablets shows benefit in helping to reduce fear of human beings in a laboratory model of anxiety-related behavior. (2) as well as how Axitane helped with dogs and thunderstorm phobias.

Effective Ingredients: L-theanine

What it is used for: Reducing fear toward unfamiliar people, storm sensitivity


References

(1)Nathan PJ, Lu K, Gray M, Oliver C. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30. PMID: 17182482. Retrieved Feb 28, 2023 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17182482/

(2) Amy L. Pike, Debra F. Horwitz, Heidi Lobprise, An open-label prospective study of the use of l-theanine (Anxitane) in storm-sensitive client-owned dogs, Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Volume 10, Issue 4, 2015, Retrieved Feb 28, 2023 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1558787815000568
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2015.04.001.

(3) Joseph A. Araujo, Christina de Rivera, Jennifer L. Ethier, Gary M. Landsberg, Sagi Denenberg, Stephanie Arnold, Norton W. Milgram, ANXITANE® tablets reduce fear of human beings in a laboratory model of anxiety-related behavior, Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Volume 5, Issue 5, 2010, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1558787810000171?via%3Dihub

(4)Berteselli, Greta & Michelazzi, M.. (2007). 42: Use of L-theanine tablets (Anxitane™) and behaviour modification for treatment of phobias in dog: A preliminary study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. 2. 101. 10.1016/j.jveb.2007.04.046. Retrieved Feb 28, 2023 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257625793_42_Use_of_L-theanine_tablets_Anxitane_and_behaviour_modification_for_treatment_of_phobias_in_dog_A_preliminary_study

(5) Simona Cannas, Barbara Tonini, Benedetta Belà, Roberta Di Prinzio, Giulia Pignataro, Daniele Di Simone, Alessandro Gramenzi,
Effect of a novel nutraceutical supplement (Relaxigen Pet dog) on the fecal microbiome and stress-related behaviors in dogs: A pilot study, Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Volume 42, 2021, Pages 37-47, ISSN 1558-7878, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2020.09.002.
(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787820301544)

(6) T. L. DePorter*,a, D.L. Bledsoe†,b J. R. Conleya, C.G. Warnerb, E. J. Linnb, D.W. Grinb, Case report series of clinical effectiveness and safety of Solliquin™ for behavioral support in dogs and cats Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, Behavioral Medicine, Bloomeld Hills, MI, Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences, Inc. Lancaster, SC, Retrieved Feb 28, 2023 from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Theresa-Deporter/publication/306274188_Case_report_series_of_clinical_effectiveness_and_safety_of_SolliquinR_for_behavioral_support_in_dogs_and_cats/links/57b5cbcf08aede8a665bb058/Case-report-series-of-clinical-effectiveness-and-safety-of-SolliquinR-for-behavioral-support-in-dogs-and-cats.pdf

(7) Michelazzi M, Berteselli GV, Talamonti* Z, Cannas S, Scaglia E, Minero M, Palestrini C, Efficacy of L-Theanine in the treatment of noise phobias in dogs: preliminary results, Vertinaria, Vol 29, Issue 2, April 2015 Retrieved Feb 28, 2023 from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Greta-Berteselli/publication/248578258_Effectiveness_of_L-theanine_and_behavioral_therapy_in_the_treatment_of_noise_phobias_in_dogs/links/5a817bef0f7e9be137ca149e/Effectiveness-of-L-theanine-and-behavioral-therapy-in-the-treatment-of-noise-phobias-in-dogs.pdf

(8)Mehta A, Jain AC, Mehta MC, Billie M. Caffeine and cardiac arrhythmias. An experimental study in dogs with review of literature. Acta Cardiol. 1997;52(3):273-83. PMID: 9217918.Retrieved Feb 28, 2023 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9217918/

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