Behavioural Problems in Dogs and Cats


Over the past few years there has been a much greater recognition of the behavioural problems that can affect both cats and dogs. There are now a number of veterinary surgeons and behaviourists trained to help with problems of this type. Sometimes drugs are prescribed as part of the treatment, but trusted natural remedies such as valerian and skullcap can often help.

This fact sheet provides details about the active herbal ingredients in Denes Tranquil Plus+ Powder and outlines how they can help in resolving some of the more common behavioural problems in both cats and dogs. Some forms of epilepsy can also benefit from using herbal remedies of this type.

Herbal remedies have long been used to treat problems of this nature, in both man and in domestic animals. Some of the herbs we include in our Denes Tranquil Plus+ Powder were once used routinely by the veterinary profession. Notably, this included Skullcap, known in the past as “Mad Dog Weed”, a colloquial name derived from its use in controlling frenzied canine behaviour.

Collectively, the herbs included in Denes Tranquil Plus+ Powder fall into the category that herbalists describe as nervines. Some of these are tonics, which strengthen the nervous system and are useful in situations where stress is evident. Some of the herbs have relaxing properties and will reduce levels of anxiety and excitability.


Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is well known for its relaxing and sedative properties. It is widely used in this context and is of most value in cases of excitability and anxiety. It also finds application in situations where a degree of tension or a state of hysteria is involved. It is well known to help calm without causing anxiety.

Skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia)

This herb also reduces anxiety levels and has a general calming effect. Skullcap also acts as a tonic to the nervous system, providing a general boost where the system has been under stress. More specifically, it has been used successfully in the past to treat hysteria, nervous spasms and epilepsy (seizures or fits).

Vervain (Verbina officinalis)

Vervain strengthens the nervous system and helps calm anxious animals. It is especially good for calming hysterical behaviour and is thought to have some effect in treating epilepsy. It works well alongside the other calming herbs.



  • Anxiety
  • Excitability
  • General nervousness
  • Fear
  • In the control of aggression
  • Destructiveness
  • Hysteria
  • Noise sensitivity/phobia
  • In the management of epilepsy
  • Car sickness
  • Heightened sexuality


  • Anxiety
  • Excitability
  • Nervousness
  • Fear
  • Over-grooming, linked with behavioural problems, such as stress or anxiety
  • Eczema, linked with stress situations
  • Spraying, where linked with nervousness or stress
  • FLUTD where linked with stress

Denes Tranquil Plus+ Powder is gentle in its action and slow to take full effect and may, therefore, take between 3 and 6 weeks before an improvement is seen. Once the desired effect is achieved, it may be possible to reduce the dose gradually until your cat or dog is weaned off the powder. Treatment can be continued safely for some time. Some animals will need to be on a low maintenance dose, depending on the individual animal and the nature of the problem.

Available in pots of 50g. Suitable for animals aged 6 months or over.


Flower Essences provide an alternative means of dealing with behavioural issues and can, if necessary, be used alongside our Denes Tranquil Plus+ Powder. These combination essences all work on the psychological level and can safely help with a wide variety of problems. Available as drops, they are easily administered to all cats and dogs. We usually recommend their use for a minimum period of 3 months.

There are 5 essences in the range:

Animal Emergency Essence

A combination formulated for acute emergency situations or distress of any sort. Common indications include, after injury or accidents, reactions to noises such as thunder or firework phobias, for trips to the vet or at shows, before or during car journeys, after surgery, change of house, kennelling, loss of a companion, grief and in any other similar stressful or potentially stressful situation.

Timid Essence

This combination is for shy timid animals which lack confidence, appear insecure or are who are easily spooked. This combination also works well for anxiety and nervousness which is fear based and for withdrawn and submissive animals, especially those which may have been subject to trauma.

Separation Flower Essence

A blend of 15 flower essences working together to help ease the trauma of separation, pining, grief, kennelling and cattery boarding and the physical problems that can occur such as destructive behaviour or excessive barking. This blend can also help puppies and kittens, or any other animal, adjust to a new home.

Over Dominant Essence

This combination features flower remedies, which will help with temperamental animals that are impatient, stubborn, difficult to control, headstrong or that are snappy, irritable or jealous. It can help establish the pecking order and reduce unwanted dominant traits. It will encourage co-operation and help calm where this is needed.

Highly Strung Essence

A combination of 12 different essences for overactive, excitable, irritable and unpredictable animals. This combination will also help with hysteria, restlessness, excessive attention seeking and tension.

Where appropriate, the use of either herbal supplements or flower remedies should be combined with specific professional help, such as behavioural advice. For further information on how a behaviourist may be able to help contact:

Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors,
PO Box 46,
WR8 9YS.
Tel: 01386 751151
Fax: 01386 750743
Website: [link opens in a new window]

Other useful Denes factsheets to read