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Ingredient Spotlight: L-Theanine

Is your dog a nervous nellie?

Nervousness, anxiety, and fear can be an appropriate reaction for your dog, depending on the circumstances. But being chronically stressed out isn't healthy for your pup.

Long-term stress reduces your dog's quality of life and can lead to diseases like colitis and urinary tract infections. Additionally, some skin conditions can be traced back to stress-related excessive grooming.

Even short-term bouts of intense fear and anxiety (think visits to the vet or fireworks on the 4th of July) can have debilitating effects on your dog's mental and physical well-being.

If your dog is prone to nervousness, you'll want to learn more about the benefits of L-Theanine for dogs. This natural mood enhancer can help your dog maintain an even keel during stressful situations. You can also use it long-term to help your regularly nervous dog feel more comfortable.


Anxiety in Dogs

Anxiety in dogs is not uncommon, but it's not something many dog owners are aware of.

More than 70% of dogs experience anxiety according to a 2020 study conducted by the University of Helsinki in Finland. In particular, 32% of dogs in the study were highly fearful of at least one noise, 29% expressed general fear (of other dogs, strangers, and/or novel situations), and 5% displayed separation anxiety-related behavior.

Other studies have found that the number of dogs experiencing separation anxiety to be much higher, often as high as 20 to 40% of dogs.

How your dog responds to anxiety and nervousness can vary, so it's important to recognize the signs.

Learning to spot when your dog is anxious, can help you determine if a supplement like L-theanine for dogs can help.

Some of these can also be symptoms of more serious illnesses. It's important to speak with your vet to rule out anything life-threatening.


Common signs of a stressed-out dog include:
  • Frequent panting and/or excessive drooling
  • Pacing
  • Unusual vocalizations, whining or excessive barking
  • Destructive behavior
  • Self-harming behavior including licking or biting himself
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Hiding or cowering
  • Unusually reactive and/or aggressive


L-Theanine for Dogs

L-theanine, also referred to as theanine, is an amino acid that is found in green and black tea leaves, and some mushrooms.

The main benefit of theanine for dogs is its ability to reduce anxiety. When used regularly or for a short stint, l-theanine can help your dog deal with environmental stressors, such as loud noises, strange people and places, and even separation anxiety.
Studies related to l-theanine for dogs are limited, but we dug up research that shows the power of theanine to help nervous and stressed-out dogs.


In a 2015 study, researchers evaluated the use of l-theanine in 18 client-owned dogs with a history of storm sensitivity. Owners completed six questionnaires, one before starting theanine and five after (each questionnaire correlated with a storm). By the end of the study, owners had recorded a "significant decrease" in global anxiety scores during thunderstorms. The time to return to the dog's normal baseline behavioral state decreased as well. Dog owners said they saw less drooling, following people around, panting, pacing, and hiding.


A 2010 study, also on dogs with noise-related anxiety, had similar results. Over a 63-day period, 10 dogs that received behavioral therapy and l-theanine demonstrated a greater reduction in specific behaviors (panting, drooling, lip licking, yawning, drawing attention, vocalizing, and compulsive behaviors) than 10 dogs that only received behavioral therapy. 


Veterinary Formula Clinical Care & Theanine for Dogs
At Veterinary Formula Clinical Care, we recognize the benefits of L-theanine for dogs and include it as a main ingredient in our Pet Calm Plus once-a-day supplement.
When combined with other mood-enhancers including chamomile, tryptophan, and melatonin, the supplement works wonders.

Just ask Chrissy Roe, who uses Pet Calm Plus with her noise-phobic Pit Bull.

"He'll literally tear the dry wall off the studs to get through a wall, causing his paws to be all bloody and cut up… It was so bad we had to go as far as giving him Trazadone (but that drugged him up.) … I have been using this for the last year and a half… it calms my dog without drugging him up. Usually, the earlier I give it to him, the better the results, but either way it always gives a calming effect within 20-45 minutes."