L Tryptophan For Dogs: Find Out How It Can Help Anxious Pups Relax


Most dogs will experience some type of anxiety in their lives, but the severity can vary. Stress can take a toll on your dog’s health and comfort, making day-to-day life feel difficult for the pooch. No one likes to watch their pet suffer. Fortunately, there are lots of supplements that can benefit anxious dogs. L Tryptophan for dogs is one of many natural, stress-reducing ingredients.

L Tryptophan may not be the most well-known anxiety relief for canines, but it can calm them and improve their health in many other ways. So, how can this ingredient make life easier for your pup?

Anxious dog close-up

What is L Tryptophan for Dogs?

L Tryptophan, also known as L-Tryptophan, is an amino acid that helps both dogs and humans with brain functions. However, neither human nor animal bodies can create this amino acid on their own, so it must be gained through certain foods and supplements. For that reason, it’s considered an “essential” amino acid.

This amino acid is crucial for dogs, especially puppies, because it can make proteins and brain-signaling chemicals. Once inside the body, it can be converted to serotonin to control a dog’s mood and sleep. It’s often given to dogs and humans to help reduce anxiety. For humans, it may improve a wide variety of conditions, including depression, facial pain, and premenstrual syndrome. However, doctors won’t suggest L Tryptophan supplements because they’re not FDA-approved for medicinal use.

Tryptophan has two forms: L Tryptophan and D Tryptophan. The two are very similar, but the orientation isn’t the same, making them function differently. Only L Tryptophan is used for canine supplements. If your dog has frequent anxiety, you should consider serving them this amino acid.

What Foods Contain L Tryptophan?

Turkey is known for being high in L Tryptophan. Yet, it can also be found in a wide range of plant and animal proteins, such as chicken, salmon, tuna, eggs, beans, cheese, peanuts, milk, tofu, and pumpkin seeds. Many high-protein foods have some L Tryptophan in them, which is why you might feel relaxed or sleepy after a big meal.

Turkey contains L Tryptophan

Does Turkey Make You Drowsy?

Some people believe that turkey contains uniquely high amounts of these amino acids, which is why you might feel extra drowsy after a Thanksgiving meal. The idea became extremely popular in the 1980s, which is how L Tryptophan supplements for humans became so popular.

However, turkey making you extra tired is a myth. The amount of L Tryptophan in turkey is similar to other proteins. In fact, plant-sourced proteins often contain more of it, but you rarely hear people talking about being tired after eating tofu or another plant-based protein.

Also, serotonin must cross through a selective blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. Since it’s usually competing with many other amino acids to get there, only a limited amount will enter the brain. The amount of other amino acids in your body will affect the amount of serotonin reaching your brain. So, the only way to gain significant relaxation from the amino acid is to consume it in a supplement rather than through a protein source.

The reality is that there isn’t enough L Tryptophan in turkey to cause increased drowsiness. The reason people usually feel like sleeping after a Thanksgiving meal is that they ate too much food in general, not just turkey. Turkey has a healthy amount of amino acids, but it’s not as extreme as people claim.

Is L Tryptophan Safe for Dogs?

Yes, L Tryptophan is a natural ingredient that’s safe for dogs. However, like any ingredient, it can have risks and side effects if given too often. Always give your dog a proper dosage to avoid any complications.

Some anxiety medications for dogs can lead to liver or kidney damage with long-term use. However, this amino acid is a safe, natural option that removes those added risks. That’s why many pet parents choose L Tryptophan over a medication for anxiety.

Several studies have been done on L Tryptophan for dogs, showing that it’s safe for canine consumption. Yet, a few sources concluded that the benefits of the amino acid were minor. So, L Tryptophan is most effective when given with other anxiety-reducing ingredients, such as hemp or melatonin.

Anxious dog outside

What Can L Tryptophan Do for Dogs?

While most people associate L Tryptophan with relaxing properties, there are many things it can do for your dog. However, supplements usually include more than one calming ingredient because L Tryptophan isn’t highly effective on its own. This amino acid is especially beneficial when used in CBD products.

Here are a few positive aspects that researchers have discovered, along with how they can improve your dog’s well-being. All the following benefits are also similar for cats taking L Tryptophan.

Treats Anxiety

When our dogs consume L Tryptophan, their bodies can transform it into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can improve moods and lower stress, making it great for dogs with anxiety. It affects your dog’s nervous system to reduce stress responses by transmitting signals between nerve cells and constricting blood vessels. This ingredient works similarly for humans.

While L Tryptophan has apparent calming properties, it’s most effective when paired with a healthy lifestyle. Make sure your dog is still getting regular exercise and living in a healthy environment while taking L Tryptophan. The ingredient can help with all types of anxiety, including noise phobias, separation anxiety, and situational anxiety.

Promotes Healthy Sleep

Since L Tryptophan increases serotonin in the body to calm dogs down, it can also help them sleep better at night. It acts as an antidepressant to regulate sleep patterns and prevent dogs from feeling restless. It’s great for dogs who pace and wander around when they’re unable to sleep due to stress. With a proper dose, this amino acid can relax your dog without making them extremely sleepy.

Black Lab sleeping

Helps with Abnormal Behaviors

Dogs with low amounts of L Tryptophan in their bodies could experience aggression, depression, or moody behaviors as a result. So, the calming effects of the amino acid may also help dogs feel calm and less likely to act out.

However, if your dog has extreme aggression, that’s something you should talk to a vet about. Working with a dog trainer will be your best bet if it’s not related to an underlying health condition. Supplements should never be replacements for proper training.

Provides a Natural Health Boost

Even though L Tryptophan is usually only used for anxiety relief, it can have added benefits too. It could provide structure to your dog’s cells and tissue, giving them an extra health boost. The improved structure could end up reducing pain and discomfort for an aging dog.

If your dog has epilepsy or another condition that causes seizures, L Tryptophan may be able to reduce the risk. It has positive effects on dogs with neurological issues. It could also help regulate heart health, lung function, temperature, and hunger in dogs.

Common Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

Humans can verbally express when they’re stressed or anxious, but it’s harder for dogs to share those feelings with us. So, we have to rely on their body language and behaviors to understand how our pets are feeling. If you notice your dog acting unusual, they may be feeling anxious.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel nervous

Here are a few signs of canine anxiety:

  • Pacing
  • Shaking
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Whale eye
  • Aggression
  • Having accidents
  • Destructive behavior

If your dog is suddenly displaying any of the above behaviors, try to figure out what has changed in their routine. Yet, if you’re unsure what the trigger is, you may need to talk to a vet or dog trainer about the issue. Supplements can help relax your dog, but if you’re able to remove the trigger, that will be even more effective.

What Causes Canine Anxiety?

Anxiety always has a cause or reason behind it. So, even if you’re unsure why your dog is feeling uneasy, there may be an explanation that you didn’t consider. Here are some causes of canine anxiety that may help you better understand your pup. Once you discover why they’re anxious, it may be easier to find a solution.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is the most frequent stressor among dogs. It causes dogs to be anxious whenever they’re away from their humans, which can lead to unwanted behaviors. Now that more people are working from home, it’s common for dogs to feel stressed when their family members leave the house.

Some ways to relive their separation anxiety include walking them before you leave, playing soothing music, or giving them a calming supplement. Most dogs don’t like being left alone, but they can learn to feel more relaxed with proper training and time apart.

Worried dog on porch

Loud Noises

Many dogs have a specific trigger for their anxiety, such as loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms. These triggers aren’t easily avoided, which is why calming chews are so popular around the Fourth of July. Offering your dog a quiet space to decompress during a loud sound could help them handle it better.

Sudden Changes

Dogs don’t always handle change well. Moving to a new location, going through a breakup, or getting a new pet could overwhelm your dog. These triggers are ones you can’t avoid, but being there to support your dog every step of the way can help. During any unfamiliar situation, try to keep your dog’s routine similar so they can still have some familiarity.

Past Trauma

Some dogs have stress related to past events, especially if they’re a rescue dog with a heartbreaking history. That’s why some dogs may be fearful of certain people and situations. Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you the story behind their trauma, but you can provide them with a comfortable environment to help them relax. If you realize that your dog freaks out at certain things, such as men or car rides, you’ll need to be patient and understanding when introducing them to those things.

Stressful Situations

Many dogs are afraid of specific situations like going to the vet, getting groomed, or being around lots of dogs. Many of these events can’t be avoided, which is why dog parents use anxiety supplements before taking their dogs to these places. Choosing a groomer and vet that your dog trusts may lift their anxiety a bit. Anxious dogs need extra patience, so you should surround your dog with humans who can offer that.

New Illness

If your dog is experiencing pain from an illness or disease, it may act more anxious than usual. Hypothyroidism, vision loss, hearing impairments, and pre-diabetes are some conditions that could cause added stress. If your dog isn’t normally anxious but displays unusual symptoms, visit your vet to rule out major concerns.

Anxious dog in bed

How Much L Tryptophan for Dogs is Safe?

Like all new medications and supplements, L Tryptophan should never be given to dogs without consulting a vet first. Your vet can determine the safest supplement and dosage for your dog based on their age, weight, and medical history. Vets can also determine if a dog’s symptoms are general anxiety or related to something more serious.

What is the Dosage of L Tryptophan for Dogs?

If you buy an L Tryptophan supplement for dogs, the dosage will be listed on the label. However, a general dose suggestion for adult dogs is about 6.5 mg per pound of body weight. The dosage for puppies is much higher, at around 41 mg per pound of body weight.

Most pet parents give their pets a dose once or twice per day. However, you should get a vet’s approval before administering the recommended doses. The dosage may vary depending on what you want to use this amino acid for.

If you’re unsure how your dog will react to L Tryptophan, you can start with a smaller than usual dose and then work your way up to a regular dose. That way, you can watch your dog’s behaviors closely to ensure they have no reactions to it.

L Tryptophan for Dogs Side Effects

L Tryptophan is natural and safe for dogs, as long as you give the proper dose. However, there’s always a small risk of side effects. After taking this ingredient, dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues.

While allergies are rare, they’re still possible. When you start giving L Tryptophan to your dog, monitor their behaviors closely. If you notice any itching or irritation, stop feeding it to your dog right away and talk to your vet.

A rare (but dangerous) side effect is serotonin syndrome. It occurs when a dog has too much serotonin in its body. It could lead to confusion, increased temperature, rapid heart rate, trembling, or seizures. Serotonin syndrome usually only occurs if your dog takes other medications that interact with L Tryptophan.

Beagle begging for food

Are There Any Drug Interactions?

L Tryptophan might interact with some antidepressants, sedatives, and other behavior-modifying drugs. If mixed with L Tryptophan, these drugs could cause breathing problems or extreme drowsiness.

When in doubt, talk to your vet when choosing to get an L Tryptophan supplement for your dog. Make sure to tell the vet about all other medications and supplements that your dog is currently taking.

How to Serve L Tryptophan to Dogs

It’s rare to find L Tryptophan on its own for dogs, and it won’t be very effective that way. Instead, it’s usually paired with other calming ingredients and put into tablets or chews. Some L Tryptophan supplements look like pills, so dogs may be reluctant to eat them. You might need to hide them inside a treat or pill pocket to get picky pups to take them.

However, chewable supplements are usually the more popular options among dogs. Most of the time, they look and smell like treats. So, your dog won’t even realize they’re eating something healthy. Some other forms include liquid and powder supplements, which are less common. Yet, those options may be easier to mix with your dog’s food.

There are a lot of L Tryptophan supplements to choose from, so it’s essential to be careful. You’ll want to select a product that’s made by a company you trust. Look closely at the ingredient list to make sure it only has items you feel safe giving your dog. When in doubt, get your vet’s advice on a product before using it.

A Chewy Treat!

The iHeartDogs 9-in-1 Calming Chews for Dogs are an example of a supplement for picky eaters. They look like dog treats, and they’re bacon-flavored to pique your dog’s interest. In addition to L Tryptophan, these chews also include organic hemp powder, chamomile, valerian root, and melatonin. All these ingredients can work together to help your pup feel as relaxed as possible.

iHD Calming Chews

These chews are made to ease anxiety, promote healthy sleep, and improve digestion. Some ingredients may also help with anti-inflammatory properties, seizure control, and heart health. Plus, every container purchased donates 14 healthy meals to shelter dogs. So, in addition to benefitting your own dog’s health, you’ll also be a hero for dogs in need.

No dog should have to feel stressed and restless on a daily basis. So, we need to find ways to keep our furry friends as content and comfortable as possible. L Tryptophan for dogs is just one of many ingredients that can positively impact your canine’s anxiety.

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