Valerian Root for Dogs: Anti-Anxiety Effects

Valerian root

Valerian root is a natural supplement that is sometimes used to help manage anxiety in dogs, although there is limited research on its effectiveness in this regard.

Valerian root is believed to have anti-anxiety effects due to its ability to increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety and other emotions in the brain. By increasing GABA levels, valerian root may help promote a sense of calmness and relaxation.

There have been some studies on the use of valerian root for anxiety in humans, which have found mixed results. Some studies suggest that valerian root may be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, while others have found no significant effects.

As for its use in dogs, there is limited research on the anti-anxiety effects of valerian root specifically in canines. However, anecdotal reports from dog owners and veterinarians suggest that valerian root may be helpful in reducing anxiety in some dogs.

One investigation focused on shelter dogs examined the impact of olfactory stimuli (i.e. smells) on behavior. The study demonstrated that substances like valerian, (along with other olfactory stimulants, notably influenced behavior by decreasing vocalization and movement). Such reductions in vocalization and movement could be linked to a decrease in stress attributed to the utilization of olfactory stimulants (Binks et al., 2018). 1

It’s important to note that while valerian root is generally considered safe for dogs, there is not good evidence to support it’s use. It’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian before using any supplements or medications to manage your dog’s anxiety or other health conditions.

Additionally, not all supplements marketed for dogs may be of high quality, so it’s important to choose a reputable brand and carefully read the product label to ensure that it contains safe and effective ingredients.


  1. Binks J, Taylor S, Wills A, Montrose VT (2018). The behavioural effects of olfactory stimulation on dogs at a rescue shelter. Appl Anim Behav Sci, 202, 69-76. ↩︎

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