Many pets suffer from some level of anxiety, ranging from just a startle response to extreme fear and destructive behavior. Some of the stimuli can be “diagnosed” by their consistent responses to things like thunderstorms, fireworks and separation, whereas others can be much more difficult to figure out.
Behaviors resulting from anxiety can include
- Inappropriate elimination
- Scratching at doors, floors, kennel or exits
- Chewing at doors, floors, kennel or exits
- Panting excessively
- Inability to relax/sleep
One of the first steps when you notice these behaviors should be to discuss with your veterinarian what you’re seeing. Although the cause may or may not be obvious, your vet will be able to discuss your therapeutic options as well as rule out a systemic issue that could be causing your pet to feel vulnerable or “off.” Aging, pain, metabolic disturbances, along with hormonal imbalances, can all cause strange behaviors in your once cool and calm pet.
Should the behavior(s) be ruled a direct result of an anxiety-producing stimulus, there are several approaches depending on the source. Behavior modification, pharmacological intervention, stress-relieving natural and biological products can all be used together to work on desensitizing, calming and relieving the stress your pet is feeling. Finding a good behaviorist and assembling a plan of action may also help both you and your pet feel back in control.
There are many resources out there for anxiety in pets with variable success rates. Some that this author has had success with include the following:
We at Heal House Call Veterinarian want to give every pet and every pet family the best chances of living together in a secure and harmonious environment.
Heal House Call Veterinarian is an opportunity for practice ownership that provides a network of like-minded veterinarians, business and technical support, online scheduling and marketing support for veterinarians who want to practice quality medicine, have excellent quality of life and enjoy the benefits of being a business owner. Go to www.healhousecall.com to learn more.
Photo credit: “Please…” by Dean Wissing – Flickr: Please…. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons