Pets that Stress – Anxiety in a Nutshell
Anxiety is caused by a fear of the unknown and an anticipation of future dangers. This is why your dog might run around like a crazy person when you leave the house or why they shake incessantly when in a new environment.An anxious dog shows signs of their nervousness by shaking and panting. If severely distressed, they will pee and poop where they stand. In cases of separation anxiety, they will be destructive and very vocal – lots of barking and whining.
When a cat is stressed or anxious, they will have blood in their urine or stool, and they may urinate in inappropriate places. In male cats, this can become life threatening as they can quickly develop blockages due to the stress or anxiety.
If an animal is brought in to see us at Clearbrook Animal Hospital an exam will be performed to ensure there is no deeper issue going on and that it is, in fact, anxiety. Once it’s decided we have an anxious pet on our hands, there are a few different medications the veterinarian can recommend along with some alternative suggestions.
The medications that can be provided will help soothe the pet and calm them down – much like anti-anxiety medications for people. Depending on the animal, there are other options available. Some pets greatly benefit from the use of a Thunder Shirt. This shirt fits nice and snug which gives your fur baby a feeling of comfort that helps keep them relaxed.
There is also a diffuser available that lets off a continuous fragrance of calming pheromones and the smell is completely undetectable to people. It’s known as Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs. Along with the diffuser, they offer a portable spray you can use in their carriers if travelling is super stressful for them.
Pets who suffer from separation anxiety can find it helpful if a TV or radio is left on. This helps by having the sound of human voices when no one’s home and it can help distract them from the common sounds of an owner leaving (i.e., keys jingling, coats ruffling, or shoes being put on).
All animals handle anxiety differently and it can take a bit of trial and error to determine what will work for you and your loved one. Once you find what works, your furry friend will be so thankful that they no longer need to be stressed out and can finally relax.
Until next time, Clearbrook Animal Hospital
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