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Helping Your Pet Cope with Anxiety

When you notice your pet is upset, you’ll want to help them feel better. However, if your pet is experiencing anxiety, you may need some special strategies to help them cope. Keep reading for tips on how to help your pet overcome anxiety.

Signs Your Pet is Anxious

Some common signs of anxiety in cats and dogs can include urinating or defecating in the house/outside the litter box, destructive behavior such as scratching furniture or carpeting, excessive shedding, furrowed eyebrows, excessive barking for dogs, or yowling for cats, and hiding. These are just some of the symptoms of stress in animals, your pet may show other signs as well. Any odd behaviors or new signs of distress should be discussed with your veterinarian. 

Causes of Stress in Pets

You have probably noticed your pet hiding during fireworks or thunderstorms or whining on their way to the veterinarian. Like humans, animals are afraid of certain situations as well. Another cause of anxiety, that many pet owners have experienced, is separation anxiety. This type of anxiety usually results in destructive behavior. One source of anxiety that is not as well known is age-related anxiety. Pets can experience dementia, which can cause them confusion and anxiety.

Managing Your Pet’s Anxiety

How you help your pet cope with anxiety will depend on your pet’s breed and personality, as well as the triggers for their symptoms. For example, creating a space for your pet where they can feel safe and protected can help reduce their anxiety during storms and fireworks. Providing toys, exercise, and other activities that are enriching can help to tire them out before car rides or prevent destructive behavior when you leave the house. Working with a trained professional can also help as they have experience of working with anxious animals. You may also want to ask your veterinarian about medications that are safe for your pet.

If you need help managing your pet’s anxiety, contact your veterinarian.