Homeopathic preparations and separation anxiety in dogs: a pilot study https://doi.org/10.12982/VIS.2022.034

Main Article Content

Adalberto von Ancken
Giovani Bravin Peres
Cidéli de Paula Coelho


Separation Anxiety (SA) is a behavioral syndrome that may affect dogs of different ages and that is characterized by intense clinical signs. Traditional veterinary clinic efforts rely on harmful side effect drugs. Overall, homeopathy handles individual idiosyncrasies and susceptibilities and deal with them using a single medicine through the law of similarity. This study aimed to determine whether individualized homeopathic medicines have a greater effect than placebo for dogs suffering from SA or not, assessing its relation to behavioral settings, cortisol levels, and blood cells count before and after therapy. It also focused on setting a demographic profile of these dogs. Owners filled out a score questionnaire. Twenty-one dogs were recruited and repertorized in accordance to classical homeopathy. A pharmacist was responsible to randomize and dispense verum medicine or placebo. On the 30th day, reappraisal of owners were allowed altering the dispensed medicine. The final assessment occurred on the 60th day. In verum group, destructive behavior analysis had a significant statistical difference intra-group over the trial compared to the placebo group. The mean of cortisol levels in the placebo group was significantly higher on the 60th day of the trial when compared to the verum group, whose levels were sustained over the same period. Although evidenced behavioral improvements could be related to homeopathic preparations, it was not feasible to set any connection between homeopathic interventions, behavioral issues, and plasma components


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
von Ancken, A. ., Bravin Peres, G. ., & Paula Coelho, C. de . (2022). Homeopathic preparations and separation anxiety in dogs: a pilot study: https://doi.org/10.12982/VIS.2022.034. Veterinary Integrative Sciences, 20(2), 459–473. Retrieved from https://he02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/vis/article/view/257956
Research Articles


Appleby, D., Pluijmakers, J., 2004. Separation anxiety in dogs: the function of homeostasis in its development and treatment. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Small. Anim. Pract. 33(2):321 344.

Belzung, C., Philippot P., 2007. Anxiety from a phylogenetic perspective: is there a qualitative difference between human and animal anxiety? Neur. Plast., 1-17. Available at https://doi.org/10.1155/2007/59676.

Bishayee, K., Sikdar, S., Khuda-Bukhsh, A. R., 2013. Evidence of an epigenetic modification in cell-cycle arrest caused by the use of ultra-highly diluted Gonolobus condurango extract. J. Pharmacopunct. 16(4):007-013.

Blackwell, E., Casey, R.A., Bradshaw, J.W.S., 2006. Controlled trial of behavioral therapy for separation-related disorders in dogs. Vet. Rec. 158(16):551-554.

Box, G.E.P., 1949. A general distribution theory for a class of likelihood criteria. Biometrika 36:317 – 346.

Box, G.E.P., 1950. Problems in the analysis of growth and wear curves. Biometrics 6: 362-369.

Box, G.E.P., 1954. Some theorems on quadratic forms applied in study of analysis of variance problems: II – Effects of inequality of variance and correlation between errors in the two-way classification. Ann. Math. Stat. v. 25, p. 484-498.

Cohen, J., 1988. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.), Ed. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Corty, E. W. Using and interpreting statistics. 3. ed. New York: Worth Publishers, 2016.

Cottam, N., Dodman, N.H., Patronek, G.J., 2008. Comparison of remote versus in-person behavioral consultation for treatment of canine separation anxiety. J. Appl. Animl. Welf. Sci. 11:28-41.

Cracknell, N.R., Mills, D.S., 2008. A Double-blind placebo-controlled study into the efficacy of a homeopathic remedy for fear of firework noises in the dog (Canis familiaris). Vet. J. 177, 80-88.

Dudley, E.S., Schiml, P.A., Hennessy, M.B., 2015. Effects of repeated petting sessions on leukocyte counts, intestinal parasite prevalence, and plasma cortisol concentration of dogs housed in a county animal shelter. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 247(11):1289-1298.

Dunn, O.J., 1964. Multiple comparisons using rank sums. Technometrics 6, 241-252.

Espírito-Santo, H.M.A., Daniel, F., 2018. Calculating and reporting effect sizes on scientific papers (3): Guide to report regression models and ANOVA effect sizes. Portuguese Journal of Behavioral and Social Research, 4 (1): 43-60. Available at https://rpics.ismt.pt/index.php/ISMT/article/view/72.

Ferguson, C. J. (2009). An effect size primer: A guide for clinicians and researchers. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(5), 532–538.

Ferreira, P.B., Santos, I.M.S., Freitas, R.M., 2012. Aspectos farmacológicos, efeitos anticonvulsivantes e neuroprotetores da buspirona. J. Appl. Pharm. Sci. 33(2):171-179.

Field, A. Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. 4. ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2013.

Flannigan, G., Dodman, N.H., 2001. Risk factors and behaviors associated with separation anxiety in dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 219:460-466.

Gilbert-Gregory, S.E., Stull, J.W., Rice, M.R., Herron, M.E., 2016. Effects of trazodone on behavioral signs of stress in hospitalized dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. A. 249(11):1281 1291.

Gruen, M.E., Case, B.C., Foster, M.L., Lazarowskib, L., Fish, R.E., Landsberg, G., DePuy, V., Dorman, D.C., Shermana, B.L., 2015. The use of an open field model to access sound-induced fear and anxiety associated behaviors in Labrador retrievers. J Vet Behav;10(4):338-345.

Hahnemann, S., 2007. Organon of medicine. Translation from 6th German edition (1856). Ed. Bento Mure, Brazil. Portuguese version.

Hiby, E.F., Rooney, N.J., Bradshaw, J.W.S., 2006. Behavioral and physiological responses of dogs entering re-homing kennels. Physiol Behav; 89:385-391.

Horváth, Z., Dóka, A., Miklósi, A., 2008. Affiliative and disciplinary behavior of human handlers during play with their dog affects cortisol concentrations in opposite directions. Horm. Behav. 54:107-114.

Huynh, H., Feldt, L., 1970. Conditions under which mean square ratios in repeated measurements designs have exact F-distributions. JASA 65: 1582-89.

Kerepesi, A., Dóka, A., Miklósi, Á., 2015. Dogs and their human companions: the effect of familiarity on dog-human interactions. Behav. Processes 110:27-36.

Khuda-Bukhsh, A.R., 2018. Ultra-Highly diluted homeopathic remedy arnica montana 30C can reduce UV-induced DNA damage in Escherichia coli through its regulatory influence on nucleotide excision repair genes: a commentary on our published research finding. Biomed. J. Sci. Tech. Res. Available at https://biomedres.us/fulltexts/BJSTR.MS.ID.001355.php.

Konok, V., Dóka, A., Miklósi, A., 2011. The behavior of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) during separation from and reunion with the owner: a questionnaire and an experimental study. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 135, 300-308.

Laerd Statistics (2017). Two-way ANOVA using SPSS Statistics. Statistical tutorials and software guides. Retrieved from https://statistics.laerd.com/

Landsberg, G.M., Mougeot, I., Kelly, S., Milgram, N.W., 2015. Assessment of noise-induced fear and anxiety in dogs: Modification by a novel fish hydrolysate supplemented diet. J. Vet. Behav. 10:391-398.

Lees, P., Chambers, D., Pelligand, L., Toutain. P.-L., Whiting, M., Whitehead, M.L., 2017. Comparison of veterinary drugs and veterinary homeopathy: part 1. Vet. Rec. 181(7):170-176. doi: 10.1136/vr.104278.

Lees, P., Chambers, D., Pelligand, L., Toutain, P.-L., Whiting, M., Whitehead, M.L., 2017. Comparison of veterinary drugs and veterinary homeopathy: part 2. Vet. Rec. 181(8):198-207. doi: 10.1136/vr.104279

Marotti, I., Betti, L., Bregola, V., Bosi, S., Trebbi, G., Borghini, G., Nani, D., Dinelli, G., 2014. Transcriptome profiling of wheat seedlings following treatment with ultra-high diluted arsenic trioxide. Evid. Based. Complementary Altern. Med. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/851263

Marzotto, M., Bonafini, C., Olioso, D., Baruzzi, A., Bettinetti, L., Di Leva, F., Galbiati, E., Bellavite, P., 2016. Arnica montana stimulates extracellular matrix gene expression in a macrophage cell line differentiated to wound-healing phenotype. PLOS ONE, Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166340.

Mccrave, E.A., 1991. Diagnostic criteria for separation anxiety in the dog. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Small Anim. Pract. 21 (2).

Mcgreevy, P.D., Masters, A.M., 2008. Risk factors for separation-related distress and feed-related aggression in dogs: additional findings from a survey of Australian dog owners. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 109:320-328.

Mcmillan, F., Serpell, J.A., Duffy, D.L., Masaoud, E., Dohoo, I.R., 2013. Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 242 (10):1359-1363.

Nicks, B., Vandenheede, M., 2014. Animal Health and welfare: equivalent or complementary? Rev. Sci. Tech. 33(1):87-101.

Ohl, F., Arndt, S.S., Van der Staay, F.J., 2007. Pathological anxiety in animals. Vet. J.175(1):18-26.

Overall, K.L., Dunham, A.E., Frank, D., 2001. Frequency of nonspecific clinical signs in dogs with separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, and noise phobia, alone or in combination. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 219(4),467-473.

Overall, K.L., Hamilton, S.P., Chang, M.L., 2006. Understanding the genetic basis of canine anxiety: phenotyping dogs for behavioral, neurochemical, and genetic assessment. J. Vet. Behav. 1(3):124-141.

Palestrini, C., Minero, M., Cannas, S., Rossi, E., Frank, D., 2010. Video analysis of dogs with separation-related behaviors. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 124:61-67.

Parthasarathy, V., Crowell-Davis, S., 2006. Relationship between attachment to owners and separation anxiety in pet dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). J. Vet. Behav. 1:109 120.

PNS – National Health Plan, 2013. Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE); Federal Government; Brazil.

Pongrácz, P., Gómez, S.A., Lenkeei, R., 2020. Separation-related behavior indicates the effect of functional breed selection in dogs (Canis familiaris). Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. Available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2019.104884. Accessed May 15, 2020.

Ribeiro Filho, A., 2010. Repertório de homeopatia. São Paulo: Editora Organon, Brazil.

Russell, N.J., Foster, S., Clark, P., Robertson, I.D., Lewis, D.A., Irwina, P.J., 2007. Comparison of radioimmunoassay and chemiluminescent assay methods to estimate canine blood cortisol concentrations. Aust. Vet. J. 85, n. 12.

Ryan, M.G., Storey, A.E., Anderson, R.E., Walsh, C.J., 2019. Physiological indicators of attachment in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and their owners in the strange situation test. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 13:162. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00162.

Saha, S.K., Roy, S., Khuda-Bukhsh, A.R., 2015. Ultra-highly diluted plant extracts of Hydrastis canadensis and Marsdenia condurango induce epigenetic modifications and alter gene expression profiles in HeLa cells in vitro. J. Integr. Med. 13(6):400-411.

Sargisson, R.J., 2014. Canine separation anxiety: strategies for treatment and management. Vet. Med. Res. 143-151.

Schöberl, I., Beetz, A., Solomon, J., Wedl, M., Gee, N., Kotrschal, K., 2016. Social factors influencing cortisol modulation in dogs during a strange situation procedure. J. Vet. Behav. Clin. 11,77-85.

Schõeberl, I., Wedl, M., Beetz, A., Kotrschal, K., 2017. Psychobiological factors affecting cortisol variability in human-dog dyads. PLoS ONE; 12(2).

Schwartz, S., 2003. Separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and cats. J. Am. Vet. Med. A. 222(11):1526-1532

Sherman, B.L., Mills, D.S., 2008. Canine anxiety and phobias: an update on separation anxiety and noise aversions. Vet. Clin. N. Am. Small Anim. Pract. 38:1081-1106.

Sherman, B.L., 2006. Separation anxiety in dogs. Compend. Cont. Educ. Vet. 27-32.

Storengen, L.M., Boge, S.C.K., Strøm, S.J., Løberg, G., Lingaas, A., 2014. A descriptive study of 215 dogs diagnosed with separation anxiety. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 159:82-89.

Sümegi, Z., Gácsi, M., Topál, J., 2014. Conditioned placebo effect in dogs decreases separation-related behaviors. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 158:90-98.

Takeuchi, Y., Houpt, K.A., Scarlett, J.M., 2000. Evaluation of treatment for separation anxiety in dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 217 (3):342-345.

Temesi, A., Turcsán, B., Miklósi, A., 2014. Measuring fear in dogs by questionnaires: an exploratory study toward a standardized inventory. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 161:121-130.

Tiira, K., Lohi, H., 2015. Early life experiences and exercise associate with canine anxieties. PLoS ONE;10(11).

Tiira, K., Sulkama, S., Lohi, H., 2016. Prevalence, comorbidity, and behavioral variation in canine anxiety. J. Vet. Behav. (16):36-44.

Tomczak, M., & Tomczak, E., 2014. The need to report effect size estimates revisited. An overview of some recommended measures of effect size. Trends in Sport Sciences, 1(21), 19–25.

White, N., Mills, D., Hall, S., 2017. Attachment style is related to quality of life for assistance dog owners. Int. J. Environm. Res. Public Health; 14(6).

Wormald, D., Lawrence, A.J., Carter, G., Fisher, A.D., 2017. Reduced heart rate variability in pet dogs affected by anxiety-related behavior problems. Physiol. Behav. 168:122 127.

Zapata, I., Serpell, J.A., Alvarez, C.E., 2016. Genetic mapping of canine fear and aggression. BMC genomics; 17:572.