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I have noticed just recently that there is a huge increase in adverts in my Facebook feed which feature some gimmick or other, making wild promises to fix all manner of behaviours and conditions:

"Got an anxious, reactive & fearful dog? Fed up with the excessive barking, reactivity, whining or destruction? Spent a small fortune on trainers, drops & plug-ins?

Exhausted all options and 'DIY' hacks?

These little chews are the last things you'll ever need to calm your dog.

Sceptical? So were 150,000+ other owners before they tried them, and now they are all (insert name) LOVERS... The only thing they wish is they had tried (insert name) sooner!"

This kind of thing drives me potty. There is such reluctance to ask for veterinary help as a first port of call, and it makes no sense at all. With any health or behavioural concern, why do we avoid seeking help from those who are educated, highly trained, qualified, and have the power to improve the welfare and quality of life of our precious pets in the first instance, rather than trying this, that, and the other, which may or may not work? It's just bonkers.

"I didn't want my boy to lose his cheeky personality or leave him sedated, but we desperately needed to sort his reactivity and excessive, constant barking.”

It is also very wrong to perpetuate the stigma against medication and repeat misinformation in order to push a product. Anxiolytic medications are absolutely essential to so many for quality of life, both canine and human, including myself.

With up to 80% of behavioural cases involving a pain component, (Dr. Daniel Mills of Lincoln University, it is insane to recommend anything other than a visit to the vet for a thorough health check, then enlisting the help of a qualified trainer, behaviourist or vet behaviourist, as needed. How are these companies able to get away with making their claims, and no doubt contributing to guardians not seeking veterinary help when they really should? I just don't get it.

This particular company also claims that only 25% of all dogs are fearful, stressed or anxious, based on a study (which is quoted but not referenced) observing reactions to dogs meeting strangers, or going to new places. This doesn't take into account the many other situations which induce stress and fear, nor the number that may suffer from anxiety, regardless of exposure to triggers. Being in a constant state of stress due to feeling anxious is hugely debilitating, so this is both very worrying and misleading.

I appreciate that advertising is often very appealing, especially when finding certain behaviours extremely challenging, but, please, don't fall foul of it.

If in doubt, PLEASE get them checked out!

If you have found this useful, why not subscribe to receive my future blog posts? Don’t forget to check your junk mail folder, just in case! You can also find my blogs, along with other science-based, dog-centred posts and articles over on my Facebook page: Trailie Paws For Thought | Facebook

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