Anxiety can be a serious problem in pets. It can significantly affect their quality of life and even be dangerous to their health and wellbeing.
Anxiety is common in pets, so it helps to know your pet is not alone. Studies have sown that 28% of dogs suffer from some form of anxiety. The majority of the time it is caused by fear, separation anxiety, noise sensitivity, changes in living situation, visiting new places, genetics and personality.
Signs of anxiety include:
- Refusing eye contact
- Desire to escape
- Sticking close to you
- Low tail or tail between legs
- Freezing and won’t explore
- Barking and growling
- Inappropriate urination and defecation
- Destructive behaviour
Anxiety can be caused by a variety of things. Leaving the pup with his or her mother for the first 60 days, providing a nurturing environment, good nutrition and exercise as well as properly socialising your pup will make a difference to how they handle the many experiences the world has to offer.
Here are some of our top tips when dealing with anxiety in pets. There is not a one size fits all, as all pets are different and will respond to different things.
- Add a canine companion to provide reassurance for your dog while you are out.
- Create a safe space or crate for a nervous dog to retreat to.
- Diffuse pet appeasing pheromones using a diffuser, spray or collar – speak to our team for the best products
- Try redirecting their attention with toys, treats and fun distractions.
- Provide healthy foods and supplements will boost health and therefore help calm anxiety. Common supplements include probotics, digestive enzymes and omega fatty acids. L-theanine (an amino acid found naturally in green tea and mushroom) and colostrum (calming milk supplement) have been found to help with separation anxiety and environmental stressors.
- Start systematic desensitization, which is exposing your dog to small, mild versions of the stressor from a distance and gradually increasing the exposure).
- Medication – If you have exhausted other efforts and nothing seems to be easing your pet we recommend coming in to speak to Dr Peter or Dr Dylan about the different medications available.
PLEASE NOTE: It’s important that you never punish a dog for behaving anxiously as these are not behaviours that can be corrected out of a dog with discipline.
Anxiety can make your pet miserable and it’s no way for them to live. If you are looking for the best ways to help your pet we recommend speaking to one of our team members by calling us on 5576 0400.