A common reason for pet owners to visit their vet is to get advice about an anxious dog or cat. Stress in pets can be a familiar occurrence with a number of different causes. At certain times of the year pets can become more stressed. Both cats and dogs alike can be prone to anxiety, which can make certain situations stressful for their owner too.
Common causes a dog or cat to be stressed and anxious can include:
- Cattery or Kennel stays
- Vet visits
- New pets
- Separation anxiety
- Moving home
- Loud noises
If your pet becomes stressed or anxious, there are some common signs to look out for which include, decreased appetite, increased vocalisation, their ears may be pulled or pinned back, and they could be trembling or shaking. Some extremely anxious dogs could show aggression.
Tips To Calm Your Anxious Dog or Cat
There are some positive actions you can take to help reduce stress for your pet, which include:
Create a safe zone
Make sure your pet has a den or a spot they can retreat to if they start to feel anxious. Let them come and go as they please – don’t follow them around but check on them now and again to make sure they are ok.
Stress and anxiety can sometimes create uncontrollable energy. Taking your dog for regular walks or encouraging your cat to play and go outside can help to relieve some of that energy.
Keep to your routine
Any changes to your normal household routine can upset and stress your pet. Stick to the same feeding and walk routine and stay calm yourself. Pets can pick up when you’re anxious and that could in turn cause them stress.
If you have more than one cat, make sure that you have at least one litter box per cat and separate water bowls. It’s also important to ensure your cat has somewhere to hide and get away from other pets. High accessible areas, such as shelves or on top of furniture allow them to feel safe, whilst still being able to watch and feel included in the family.
If you have to leave your pet home alone, leaving the TV or radio on can help to drown out external noise which could cause stress. Toys can also help to occupy and distract pets, treat release toys are often beneficial.
If you know a specific event will cause stress, try to plan ahead. Ask your vet about calming aids for pets, such as nutracalm, which works fast, within 1-2 hours. nutracalm is specifically formulated to naturally calm anxious pets.
If certain situations cause your pet to become stressed, training could help them get used to these situations. Reward your pet with treats and praise when they respond positively. Professional training classes can also help dogs to get used to other dogs and new people.
Don’t punish your pet
If they do anything out of the ordinary due to stress, such as toilet in the house, refrain from shouting at them. Reward positive behaviour with treats and ignore any unwanted behaviour. This behaviour can be a reaction to how they feel in a situation and shouting at them could lead to further stress and behavioural problems.
If you are worried about changes in your pet’s behaviour, speak to your vet who will be able to advise the best solution for your pet’s health needs.
For more information and tips visit www.nutravet.co.uk.