If your dog starts shaking at the slightest sound of your keys, or your cat goes into full panic mode whenever a toddler tries petting it, your pet may be struggling with anxiety. Whether the anxiety is generalized or specific, a visit to the vet is in order to rule out the possibility of physical issues and the need for medication. As a complement, here are 5 tips to help ease your pet's anxiety.
1. Create a routine
A stable routine can be very beneficial for your dog or cat and help it cope with certain changes. By creating a predictable environment, you can help reduce the stress your pet is experiencing and give it a sense of security. Your routine should include calming elements such as:
Letting music play when you leave the house.
Planning a peaceful walking itinerary.
Being consistent in your departure and arrival times for work (long live working from home!).
2. Get it moving
Pets need to spend their energy in order to feel good. While each have their own specific exercise needs (an old pooch will have less energy to spend than a puppy), getting your pet moving every day not only contributes to its physical well-being, but also to its mental comfort.
3. Give affection
It may seem obvious, but giving your pet lots of attention and affection is crucial. Just like with humans, anxiety can cause uncomfortable muscle tensions in your pet. You can help relieve your little fur ball by petting, cuddling and massaging it regularly.
4. Positive training
Work with your pet on developing positive associations to replace negative ones. For example, if your dog gets nervous when a stranger comes over, give it a treat when the person arrives to trigger a positive emotion rather than scolding it for its anxious behaviour. Keep in mind that behavioural changes don't happen overnight and that love, calmness and patience are required.
5. Try alternative treatments
Pet aromatherapy, soothing sheaths and relaxing drops like Dogmä's Felicity can help your dog or cat with their anxiety. Visits to the vet, road trips or big family gatherings are just a few examples where using alternative treatments can be beneficial to your companion.
Anxiety disorders can be difficult for both you and your pet. But by implementing these 5 tips and working with your veterinarian, you’re giving yourself the best chance at keeping your pet's anxiety under control!