What is Dog and Cat Anxiety? How Can You Help?
Anxiety is one emotion that humans feel quite often. However, pet owners do not realize that their furry friends can also go through anxious phases. Pets are as likely to experience anxiety as human beings. Cats and dogs are also prone to stress from time to time. From abuse to neglect, any negative behavior can be the reason for anxiety.
Separation anxiety is prevalent in both cats and dogs. Both being social animals, get attached to their human owners. Hence, separation from them for a long time can make the pets anxious. Changes in the surroundings or feeling threatened due to another animal or weather, or another member of the family can also make your pet highly anxious.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms?
In the case of dogs, some of the symptoms or signs of distress and anxiousness are – destroying the furniture, walls, and even hurting themselves. Pacing, barking, shaking, panting, and drooling can also be symptoms.
Also, urinating and defecating inside the house when they are not allowed to are also considered symptoms. The dogs will often attempt the owner from leaving; they might whine and cry even after the owner has left the house.
In cats, the anxiety is usually hidden but can be diagnosed by signs such as- urinating and defecating in the house (especially on the owner’s bed). Causing destruction such as pushing things, clawing, and tearing furniture, and much more can also be a sign.
Some severe symptoms include pulling out their hair, yowling, pacing, and not eating. Separation anxiety is more common in older cats. The other signs, such as hiding, social withdrawal, hypervigilance, and twitching tails, can also show that they are stressed and anxious.
How Does Anxiety Affect Your Pet?
The effects of anxiety on the pets are rarely physical, but if it is left untreated, it can cause phobia in animals. Phobia can be defined as an extreme physical and emotional state of distress. This mental distress can disturb the schedule of your pet, which can affect the physical health of the animal. The only significant harmful effect is that the pet might injure themselves during these attacks.
How Can Anxiety In Pets Be Treated?
There are some ways in which you can treat the anxiety in your pets. These include:
- Be aware of the signs that your pets are showing. If they are stressed or lashing out, look for the reason for it. Once you know the reason your pet is anxious, try, and take measures to ease their minds. For example- In the case of separation anxiety, train your pets to stay alone slowly.
Leaving them alone suddenly can scare them. So, either stay home with them or ask someone to babysit your pets. You can also start giving them treats when you leave so that they associate your leaving with positive action. To know more about the signs of stress read this article: https://www.insider.com/how-to-tell-if-your-dog-cat-is-stressed-what-to-do.
- Distraction is one of the best ways to keep your pet from getting anxious. Give them food, toys, or any other stimulating activity that can keep their minds busy for the time you are not with them.
- Visit the doctor to check their symptoms. If you have noticed unusual behavior in your pet, get them checked by the doctor. There might be an underlying health condition causing such symptoms in your pet.
- You can also consult animal behavior specialists regarding the condition of your cat or dog. These specialists will work together with you to learn more about the behavior of your pet and give you the right advice. Desensitization and counterconditioning are the two methods that your Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist will use on the pets to help your dog or cat. Do not scold or shout at your pet for their behavior as it can further aggravate the situation. Also, do not try to use the ‘facing fears’ approach. Pets usually do not function as humans, and they will not get better by confronting the fears or stimuli that are making them anxious.
- The doctors might also prescribe anti-depressants in case your pet has severe depression. You can also give them dog treats CBD to calm their minds. Many of the site web resources will help you find the best CBD for your pet. Whenever trying a new treatment or change in habits for your pets, always consult a doctor.
Cat or dog anxiety can be stressful for the animal and the owner. But with the right kind of treatments and diagnosis, it can be managed and cured effectively. The only thing to keep in mind is to look out for the symptoms and contact your vet or CAAB to know the best course of action.