Pets can suffer from anxiety that is both general and in response to a specific issue. Such as, fireworks or separation anxiety. There are steps owners can take to soothe the pet, and these can really help.
However if your pet seems resistant or will not calm down no matter what, it may be time to visit a veterinary office for behavioral treatment.
Does My Pet Have Anxiety?
Most dogs and cats have their pet peeves, some of which can lead to frightened or stressed responses. Fireworks are notorious for making dogs and cats nervous. Every Fourth of July sees shelters full of runaway pets who were trying to hide from the awful noise. Other stimuli could include dogs barking at a cat that was previously attacked, and other loud or startling noises.
In these cases, try to insulate the animal from the noise as best you can. Provide distractions like videos, or try to hold and comfort the animal. Dogs respond well to commercially available wraps and shirts that provide gentle body pressure. Simply being with the animal can often help as well.
For cats, car travel is often nerve-wracking. But you have to get your cat to the vet and to make the cat less stressed about getting in the car is essential. Strategies include making the travel carrier familiar and comforting – favorite toys, blankets, and layouts are reassuring to cats. Talk to the cat as you drive. Do not place the carrier so that the cat can’t see you – let the cat know you’re right there with it.
One of the tougher forms of nervousness that pet owners have to deal with is separation anxiety. Mild cases often respond well to retraining the pet to trust that you will be back from wherever you’re going. You can also condition the pet (especially dogs) to be alone.
It’s when the anxiety is more severe that things get complicated. There are ways to retrain the pet, but you must be very careful because the wrong tactics can make the pet’s anxiety even worse. In these cases, you need to contact your vet to work out a plan or to get the pet into a behavioral medicine program. Veterinarians who offer these programs create a comprehensive treatment plan to help soothe your pet and change its behavior, while also keeping an eye out for possible physical problems that could be contributing to the anxious demeanor.
If you would like help calming a nervous cat or dog, or you just want to get some guidance regarding issues like firework noise, contact Palmdale Veterinary Hospital. Caring vets know the best ways to soothe pets so that you can once again have a harmonious home life.