Problems that we face as humans can also occur in our pets.
One of those problems…
So what is anxiety? And specifically for your pet?
It’s important to note that anxiety is not just generalized. There are specific types of anxiety that your pet could be facing.
This includes fear-related anxiety, separation anxiety, and age-related anxiety.
These three types of anxiety can occur together or individually with one another. So what are they?
This type of anxiety is induced by anything environmental or physical that stimulates a fear response. Depending on your pet, this can be a variety of things such as loud noises, strangers, other pets, car rides, the vet’s office, and other environmental factors.
It’s actually pretty common when you think about it. How many dogs or cats start to act MUCH differently all because they arrive at the vet. Their behavior starts to change and sometimes it’s impossible to get them inside.
This type of anxiety is exactly how it sounds. Your pet will have anxiety simply because they are separated from you. This can result after just a short period of time when you aren’t there. It breaks their level of comfort because they are left alone away from their owners.
This typically affects older pets because their mental state is deteriorating. Because of this deterioration, it starts to make them anxious and causes confusion. It’s relatable to what Alzheimer’s is in humans. Your pet starts to feel those same losses of awareness and memory, and the result can be anxiety from not knowing what’s happening in their everyday surroundings.
These three types of anxiety can be pretty easy to diagnose and are fairly common. It’s important to note the symptoms of the anxiety that attach to the situation bringing about the anxiety.
- Excessive Barking or Howling
- Urinating or Defecating
- Chewing/Destroying Things
- Trying to Escape
- Trying to prevent you from leaving
- Repetitive or Compulsive Behaviors
It’s important to take note of these symptoms because in certain cases they can escalate. If your pet is experiencing anxiety-related aggression, this can be taken out towards people or other animals depending on the situation. It’s important to be aware so that you can prevent unwanted situations from happening.
Coming home to a mess in the house could be because they were left out for too long, but it’s also related to anxiety. If you notice it’s happening more often and even when you aren’t away for long, it could be a result of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety can also induce every symptom listed. Some of these symptoms you wouldn’t be able to notice if you aren’t there, so it’s easier to tell if your pet is experiencing this if you’re coming home to items being destroyed or a messy house. You might even hear complaints from neighbors or someone nearby if they were howling/barking excessively.
So if you notice your pet is experiencing symptoms or think your pet might have anxiety, how do you handle this?
You ultimately want your pet to be as healthy as possible, and don’t want their anxiety to become too overwhelming.
The first step is heading to the vet. Some of these symptoms can be common in other conditions, so it’s important to rule out a separate medical diagnosis.
Other treatment options can come in the form of medications, training, and natural methods.
Depending on your pet’s level of anxiety, medication may be recommended. We’ve discussed here before how medications can negatively affect your pet. There’s always a chance of your pet experiencing unwanted side effects that can be minor or major.
If you want to avoid possible side effects, the next option is training. In some cases, your dog can be reconditioned to view their environment differently. This is especially helpful in fear-related anxiety and separation anxiety.
The upside to this option is that it doesn’t come with the side effects of medications; however, it will take money and patience.
Training your dog out of an anxiety disorder is not an overnight fix, and requires consistency. The first person to contact would be a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. If you cannot find someone with this accreditation, contact a professional dog trainer to see what training options they provide that will work best for you and your family.
The last set of options are natural methods.
Some fresh air and a walk never hurt anyone, especially your pet. Taking them for a nice long walk can help to ease their mind and especially help your older pets who need some regular exercise for their joints.
Sometimes your pet needs a distraction. This can be found in teaching your pet new tricks. The mental energy expenditure helps to provide stimulation that can provide stress relief.
Playing some music can add a calming effect to your pet. Your pet may have a preference in music, but a 2017 study showed that reggae and soft rock were the most effective.
Massage and Acupuncture:
It’s been shown that a massage of as little as 15 minutes can help to improve stress levels. Acupuncture is used to help heal pets and correct imbalances. Take the time to research someone qualified to perform these services in your area and find someone you can trust.
We think of grooming as common upkeep for our pets, but in this circumstance, we’re talking about staying consistent with brushing. Brushing your pet for a short period of time every day can be soothing for your pet and also help you find anything out of the ordinary on their coat.
In some cases, different types of oils have been found to have a calming effect on your pet. Some people have found that CBD oil works in calming a pet’s anxiety. There are plenty of options when it comes to CBD oil, so it’s important to do some research. Try to find an organic and free of additive CBD oil that is in liquid form. This will help you if you need to adjust the dosing at any point in time. If you are unsure or don’t trust this, get an expert opinion from someone you trust.
Anytime we’re looking to better our pets, supplements always enter the conversation. Bettering your pet’s health by supplementing can also improve the way their mind and body feel. We recommend Canine Immune Complete or Feline Immune Complete in order to do this.
Ultimately anxiety can wreak havoc on your pet if untreated. It’s important to notice the signs and symptoms and address what is happening. When your pet lives a comfortable life, so do you. Have you found anything specific that works for your pet’s anxiety? Let us know in the comments!