It looks like the warm weather might be here to stay! For most this means sunshine, barbecues, and vacations. For some though it is another season of anxiety for their furry family member. Thunder, fireworks, road trips, boarding, staying home alone for extended periods of time, all of these can be stress triggers for our pets. We love them to death and would do anything for them, we just wish they would not destroy the house when you left for the beach. To preface this article, these stress reactions are not your pet being bad, acting up, or throwing a tantrum, in their mind the world has ended or is ending and they do not know how they are supposed to respond. It is up to us to help them react better and give them the proper responses.
Step One: Does my pet have anxiety?
Like people anxiety is shown differently in each pet, below are a list of some of the signs that could be shown by your pet
Signs to look for: Cowering, shaking or hiding, trying to escape (clawing/jumping at the door), defecating or urinating in the house, excessive: pacing, panting, grooming, vocalizing incessantly, licking lips, yawning, or attention seeking (being clingy), refusing to eat.
SILEO also has a little quiz you can take about your dog’s anxiety, specifically related to loud noises (fireworks, storms, construction, etc.)
Step Two: Identify the problem
Sometimes it is one thing that triggers this anxiety in your pet, like coming to visit the vet, and sometimes it feels like it is everything. Trying to identify the source can be a great way to help prevent the anxiety.
Step Three: Talk with your vet and develop a plan.
Even if it is only a phone call, your veterinarian has seen more anxiety in dogs and cats than you could imagine, so they have a good idea on what does and does not work in helping to treat anxiety.
There are many different things that can be used to help your pet, and there is no one right solution, but with the help of your vet you can find what works for you and your loved ones.
SILEO: This is a product specifically designed for the pets who have noise phobias. Storms, construction, loud music, fireworks, whatever it might be SILEO is a fast acting oral gel that calms your pet. This is a prescription product.
Zylkene: This a capsule which contains a natural product, derived from casein, a protein in milk. It is a molecule well known to promote the relaxation of new-borns after breastfeeding. This product is best used prior to the stress event, and continued through it. Here is also a video of what you can do with Zylkene to help your pet . This is a prescription product.
Training: This is not your typical sit/stay/lay kind of training but a behavior modification training. Exercises that can be used alone or with any of the other resources to ease your pets anxiety. For those in the Toledo area we at Lewis animal hospital recommend Talk Dog Toledo.
Music: Some studies show that music can be used to help your pet during their stress events. Specifically classical music like Beethoven. Here are the links to those studies for more information.
Safe Space: A safe space can be used in conjunction with other treatments to help ease the stress level of your pet. For cats it can be as simple as a box on a dresser, or dogs a bed in one of the quitter rooms of the house. Do not isolate your pet though as this can increase the stress they are experiencing. A rather new product that has come out called Zencrate is a safe space you can place in just about anywhere in your home. Though it is relatively new it does show promise as a safe space for you dog.