• Karen Tatiana

TREATING YOUR PET'S ANXIETY IN 3 STEPS

Updated: Nov 22



Your pet can’t talk so it’s up to you to help ease your fur friend’s anxiety. But before you can treat their anxiety you need to understand it. Anxiety can be displayed in abnormal behavior and/or bodily reactions. You should also know there are different forms of anxiety.


I’ve created A Quick Guide to Understand Your Pet’s Anxiety, where you can read all about it.


Step 1: Speak with your veterinarian



Your pet’s history is an essential part of establishing a diagnosis. Visiting your vet can help rule out any medical conditions that can be causing your pet’s anxious behavior.


Keep in mind any medication your pet may be on. Medications can cause incontinence in your pet, and therefore soiling.


Physical or behavioral problems can also cause your pet’s abnormal behavior. If there is no cause found, a video can help give clues to the stimuli or situation that is causing your pet’s anxiety.



Step 2: Anxiety treatment



Once your vet has diagnosed your pet with anxiety they will create a treatment plan. Anxiety treatments are normally multimodal. Your vet will use a combination of techniques to treat their anxiety.


Treatments include:

  • Behavior modification

  • Management of the environment

  • Supplements and Medication

  • Diet change

  • Mental/Physical Stimulation


Anxiety treatments can last a minimum of 4-6 months. It all depends on the intensity, symptoms, and the time frame in which your pet’s anxiety has been present.


Your vet will recommend working with a behaviorist.


Step 3: Anxiety Management at home



Anxious behavior in your pet such as over-grooming, displacement behavior, chewing, pacing, and so on is not a result of disobedience or spite. With that being said, please keep in mind, do not scold, or punish your pet. These behaviors are distress responses. Scolding can upset your pet and the problem can worsen.


Instead, keep your pet busy!


If possible, avoid situations that cause fear and anxiety.


Mental and physical stimulation you can provide for your pet:


Dogs

  • Play fun interactive games

  • Walk on new routes and trails

  • Provide food puzzle toys

  • Enroll them in a reward-based training class

Cats

  • Enrich your cat’s environment

  • Provide climbing frame positioned with a view outside

  • Scratching posts

  • Catnip toys

  • Treat dispensers

  • Bird feeders

  • A sleeping area near a window


I have to be frank with you, treating your pet’s anxiety won’t happen overnight. Helping your pet feel calm takes time and patience. Don’t leave your pet to deal with their anxiety. Leaving your pet’s anxiety and phobias untreated can progress becoming potentially harmful.



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Sources:

10 Tips to help an Anxious dog

Can pets suffer from anxiety?

(VIDEO) Cat stress: What you need to know

The ultimate guide to cat anxiety

What's causing my dog's anxiety?

Understanding separation anxiety in cats

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