Taking care of a pet can be very rewarding. Besides being adorable, these furry little creatures teach us to be patient, kind, and responsible. In addition, raising a dog or a cat can be incredibly fun, as you can teach them new tricks and play different games with them. However, just like humans, animals too experience anxiety. Part of your responsibility as a pet owner is to understand how to soothe your pet when they’re anxious. An anxious pet can be very challenging to deal with if the stressor is not eliminated first.
If your cat or dog happens to suffer from anxiety, read on below to learn how you can calm them down and relieve their stress.
Understand the Root Cause
The first step you need to take is to understand what causes your pet anxiety in the first place. Pet dogs have certain phobias, so when their fears are triggered, they can get extremely anxious. For example, most dogs experience loneliness and boredom, which are two of the most common reasons for anxiety in canines. Dogs often feel bored or alone when they are left on their own for too long. By spending enough time with your pet, you can eliminate these stressors and relieve their anxiety immediately without any other interference.
If your pet’s anxiety doesn’t subside after the stressor is removed, then exercise might be a good solution. As with humans, exercise promotes the release of serotonin and endorphins in your furry friend’s brain, which are “feel-good” chemicals that alleviate your pet’s anxiety and help them relax. You can play with your pet or, if you have a dog, take them for a jog or a walk to relieve their stress. Exercise also helps your pet release pent-up energy, which eliminates destructive, anxiety-driven behavior.
Another way through which you can relieve your pet’s anxiety is by using CBD oil. Before you go ahead and use it, you need to ask yourself “What is CBD oil?” so you can understand how it can help your furry friend. CBD, or cannabidiol, is an active ingredient found in cannabis and marijuana plants. There are CBD treats that you can give your pet, or you can put a drop of the oil on one of their toys. The amount of CBD you give your pet depends on how severe their anxiety is. In any case, it’s best to consult your vet and ask them about the recommended dosage to effectively treat your furry companion’s anxiety without endangering their health.
T-shirt or Wrap
Dressing your pet in a tight- but comfortably-fitted T-shirt is actually one of the best solutions when it comes to helping your fur baby destress. This creates a feeling of constant physical pressure, which helps soothe and comfort your pet, especially when traveling. There is not much research as to why exactly this works or how, but most animals react positively to it. There are special wraps that you can purchase online if you are unsure of how you should wrap your dog yourself.
Humans are not the only ones that can benefit from a good massage. A massage goes a long way for pets, as it helps relieve their stress and anxiety. The relaxing movements of a massage coupled with the physical contact of a person your pet is familiar with can easily calm them down. The circular movements help ease the tension in your pet’s joints and activate the cells in that region. With less tension, your dog or cat will feel drowsy and possibly fall asleep. Try to do this regularly, even if your pet isn’t anxious. That way, when they really need a massage, they won’t be nervous or scared because they already are familiar with the experience.
This is not the most common way of relieving anxiety in pets, but it is effective. Some animals react differently to different types of music. Generally, they respond to music the same way humans do; the calmer the music is, the calmer they will feel. Try to play some soothing music like jazz or look for music that’s specially created to ease separation anxiety for pets online. There are videos that last about 15 hours, so have those playing in the background if you will be leaving your fur baby alone for some time.
Sometimes, anxiety can be mistaken for hyperactivity. Dogs, in particular, can be very active, especially around new people. A combination of anxiety and hyperactivity can bring about unwanted behavior like biting or excessive barking. Time-outs away from people may decrease the tension your pet is experiencing and make them a little calmer. The thing with a time-out, though, is that it can sometimes have adverse effects. There is a fine line that you shouldn’t cross; too much time-out can increase their stress rather than decrease it.
Medication should be your last resort if your pet is not responding to any of the natural approaches. Medication can be prescribed alongside CBT, Canine Behavior Therapy to reduce constant stress in dogs. Some medications contain selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. These can ingredients can be quite difficult to read, let alone understand. So, consult your vet to discuss your pet’s options before administering any medication to ensure their safety and well-being. As a general rule, avoid giving your furry companion any drugs without seeking a professional opinion.
If you are uncertain of whether the symptoms your fur baby is exhibiting are those of anxiety or a physical disorder, don’t hesitate to consult your vet. When in doubt about anything related to your pet’s well-being, always seek the help of an expert. Since animals have different needs and can react in different ways, it can be difficult to accurately assess your pet’s needs. A vet is trained to understand the different breeds and what it takes to decrease their pain and anxiety. You can also do more research on massage therapy or CBD oil for pets and discuss those options with your vet.