Valerian: a natural dog calmer

Herbal medicine is increasingly used on our four-legged friends. It is true that medicinal plants have many properties, especially when it comes to combating stress and anxiety. Among these plants there is one that stands out for its effectiveness: valerian. We tell you all about this natural calming agent and its benefits for dogs!

Valerian, a widespread officinal plant

Valerian, with the botanical name "Valeriana Officinalis", is a perennial plant of the Valerianaceae family. It is a pharmacopoeial plant that is easily found in Europe and Asia. It grows in damp undergrowth and can be recognised by its small white or pale pink flowers. 

In herbal medicine, this herbaceous plant is most often used in powdered form in capsules and not as an infusion because of its unpleasant taste. It must be said that it gives off an odour reminiscent of cat pee. This bad smell is due to the release of isovaleric acid, which is why it is known as catnip.

It is not the flowers of the plant that are used, but the valerian root (rhizome) which is ground into a powder to relieve many ailments. It is in the rhizomes that the active ingredients of this plant are contained. 

A natural calming agent with multiple virtues

Valerian has been used since ancient times as a natural tranquilizer for its many virtues: anxiolytic, anti-stress, sedative.

Ancient Greek doctors (including the famous Hippocrates) used it to treat insomnia and promote restful sleep. 

The Romans used valerian as a remedy for palpitations and heart rhythm disorders.  

Native Americans used valerian roots to relieve epilepsy, as did many European herbalists in the Middle Ages.

The plant is still widely used today for its tranquillising properties. 

It is also known as the "all-purpose herb" or "healer of all", because of its many benefits.

Today, valerian is used more particularly in phytotherapy to calm sleep disorders, anxiety, nervousness and stress.

Valerian contains valerenic acids, which have a neuromediator effect. This means that they have an effect on the central nervous system, which certainly explains the effectiveness of this plant.

A natural calming agent for dogs

Valerian officinalis is frequently used as an anxiolytic or natural calming agent for our four-legged friends. Its soothing and sedative properties can indeed be useful for our furry friends in several cases:

  • If your dog has certain behavioural problems such as hyperactivity or separation anxiety for example, valerian can be used in addition to behavioural therapy. It quickly calms the dog down for better results.
  • For pooches suffering from disturbed sleep, such as older dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome, valerian helps to improve sleep quality.
  • To combat stress in risky situations: fireworks, car journeys, moving house, etc. You can anticipate your dog's stress and prevent it by using valerian.
  • In the case of epilepsy, valerian can be used in addition to allopathic treatment. It is said to have the effect of attenuating the seizures and spacing them out (ask your vet for advice before using valerian in this case).
  • In case of muscular contractures: Valerian has a muscle relaxant action which allows the muscles to relax and helps to relieve cramps. 

Valerian is therefore useful as a natural dog calming agent in many cases. It can also be given in synergy with other medicinal plants with sedative properties such as camomile, for example, to reinforce its effectiveness. 

The easiest way to give valerian to your dog is to give it as a food supplement, so that the dosage is easy.

Valerian: precautions for use

In addition to its many benefits, valerian has other advantages. Unlike many anti-anxiety drugs, it has no side effects and is not addictive to use. It is therefore an easy-to-use natural dog tranquiliser. 

However, there are a few situations in which it should not be given:

-Pregnant or nursing females;


-dogs suffering from liver disease;

-dogs undergoing medication, due to the risk of interaction with a drug.

If you have any doubts about the use of valerian for your dog, it is best to ask your vet for advice. And as with all food supplements, be careful to respect the dosage to avoid a possible overdose. 

Valerian now holds no secrets for you! This plant can really help your dog to fight against stress and behavioral problems. Its soothing effect is quickly visible and it can be used without risk. 

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