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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

5 Ways to Reduce Your Pet’s Anxiety

2018-10-31

Both dogs and cats can develop anxiety, although it’s often more obvious to see in a dog. This can come as a surprise to pet owners who may envy what they think is their pet’s easy life. Below we look at some common causes of anxiety for each type of animal and what you can do to help.
 

Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs are social creatures who usually bond deeply with their human families after a period of adjustment. They feel lonely, bored, and anxious when left home alone for a long time, but adults working outside of the home and children going to school is a reality for most families. Unfortunately, dogs don’t understand why you’re gone or that you will be home at a predictable time each day. This can cause them to engage in destructive behavior such as chewing on furniture, non-stop barking, or soiling in the house. 

Playing soft music while you’re away and limiting your dog’s access to a single area of the home can help to curb some of the destructive behavior. You might also want to consider signing your dog up for full or part-time doggy daycare at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. We will provide your dog with plenty of love and attention in your absence while he also gets the chance to socialize with other dogs.

Loud noises, such as those from fireworks or thunderstorms, are another common cause of stress in dogs. While you obviously can’t control the weather or fireworks displays in your area, you can help your dog relax. Playing calm music, restricting your dog to one area of the house, giving your dog extra attention, and distracting her with toys or treats can all help to quell the anxious feelings.
 

Anxiety in Cats

Cats are not big fans of change, especially when it comes to introducing another pet or person to the household. They may display aggression, withdrawal, litter box avoidance, and other common problems when a new person joins the family or someone leaves. If the newcomer is someone old enough to understand, explain that he or she shouldn’t rush the cat for a relationship. The adjustment should go much better when the cat is allowed to approach the new household member on his terms. 

When adding a second pet, keep her in a separate room for the first day or so and then gradually bring her out to common areas while supervising all interactions. Be sure to give the resident cat a lot of love and show extra patience during the transition time.

Veterinary visits are often a bigger source of stress for cats than for dogs because they don’t usually like riding in the car. Even the sight of the cat carrier can cause your feline friend to run and hide. We recommend taking the carrier out a few days before the appointment and spraying it with calming pheromone. Placing a favorite blanket or toy inside can help as well.
 

Bring Your Dog or Cat to a Fear Free Veterinary Practice

Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is pleased to be have many staff members on site who are Fear Free Certified. That means our staff have completed in-depth training on animal handling and procedures as well as creating a calm and welcoming environment. We invite you and your pets to experience the difference!

Image credit: Pixabay