We seldom give much thought to the stress our pets have to endure. There are certain situations where we notice
visibly signs of stress and anxiety in our pets such as:
• introducing a new pet into the house
• the UPS guy rings the doorbell
• going to the groomer or the vet
• when the next-door neighbor fires up the lawnmower
• Holiday fireworks
Many pets are stressed by the over-activity that we create, which happens most frequently during major holidays. The distressing popping of fireworks (4th of July and New Year's Eve), a house full of guests, piling on more holiday activities.
There are several different strategies as well as natural remedies to help relieve your pets’ anxiety. Just as with people, not every approach or remedy works for every pet. You’ll likely need to experiment to see what is most effective for your pets.
1. Create a safe place: The first thing I encourage is to have a safe haven where your pet can go to feel at ease and away from the disruptive commotion. Sort of a ‘panic room’. It may be a closet, a crate or kennel, a bedroom or bathroom or a basement. Let them decide where they feel most comfortable.
2. Thunder Shirts: With dogs, it’s often useful to try a ‘thunder’ shirt’, or a fairly tightly wrapped garment. By applying constant, gentle pressure, thunder shirts can offer comfort for mildly stressed pets. Does it work all the time? No, but it’s certainly worth a try.
3. Adaptil & Feliway: Many pet owners have found their pets respond well to Adaptil (dogs) and Feliway (cats) that come in a pump spray or a plug-in infuser. These products mimic pheromones, which are chemical substances naturally produced and released by animals that can affect the behavior of other animals. Most often, they have a calming, soothing effect. In households with multiple cats, Feliway can have a noticeable calming effect to reduce the anxiety created by territoriality or by the subtle aggression of an “alpha kitty”. Feliway comes in 3 different forms: 1) Classic 2) MultiCat and 3) Optimum. I definitely prefer the broader range of behavior benefits seen with Feliway Optimum.
4. Diversion: With some dogs, if you engage them with an enjoyable activity, such as giving them a treat, or encouraging them to play while a stressful situation is going on, this can serve as a beneficial and welcome distraction.
5. Exercise: And don’t forget EXERCISE and activity! Daily brisk walks can benefit pets and people! If your dog loves to chase balls, then engage with them. If you can get your cat to chase a tethered toy, then get them moving. Be aware that many cats will be MORE stressed by trying to chase laser pointers ~ Don’t use them!
6. Purina Calming Care Probiotic- Calming Care has been researched and found to be an effective probiotic that provides a calming effect on pets. This supplement is given daily as granules mixed into food. It may take up to 6 weeks for full effect, so be patient. You can order Calming Care from our website: www.CarolinaValuePetCare.com. On the homepage, click Food Delivery -> Purina Pro Plan Vet Direct, then set up an account (for newbies), and order Calming Care for home delivery.
These simple techniques can ease some anxiety but there are some pets that, may need to resort to medications to help turn off your pet’s alarms and help calm their nerves. We have a couple of supplement options available in the form of capsules or chews at our clinic events for clients that want a little extra help with their anxious pets. Please continue reading our blog on CBD!