How can I tell if my pet is anxious?
Anxiety is a very common issue for our furry friends. In fact, tens of thousands of animals in the UK suffer from anxiety and noise phobia in particular.
Around this time of year fireworks displays are common, and these can cause severe anxious behaviour to surface.
Here are some common symptoms of anxiety that your pet might display:
- Hiding away, cowering
- Trying to escape
- Chewing, digging, or destroying things
- Howling, barking or generally vocalising more than usual
- Drooling more than usual
- Scratching excessively
- Urinating or defecating inappropriately
- Eating their faeces
If your pet is displaying these signs, be sure to bring them in to have them checked over and discuss the situation with a vet.
How to help your pet’s anxiety:
Dogs suffer from anxiety for a multitude of different reasons. Noise phobias are quite common in our pups, which can make days like Guy Fawkes night and Hogmanay incredibly stressful for pets and owners alike.
There are many ways you can help to manage your pet’s anxiety however, which can make this time of year much less stressful for you and your pet.
- Plan ahead! Check out when fireworks in your area are scheduled.
- Walk your pet before sunset to avoid having them out during the fireworks display.
- Setting up a safe space for your pet:
- Create a den for your pet to seek comfort in (see our information sheet on our website!). Be sure to introduce the den prior to bonfire night so your pet can get used to it.
- Put the den in a quiet area of the house, away from windows. If there are any windows, be sure to close them and the curtains.
- Provide access to you, the owner! It’s best to stay in on fireworks night to offer reassurance to your pet if they seek you out and to ensure they don’t injure themselves.
- Give your pet a big distracting treat or chew like a kong with peanut butter and kibble frozen inside.
- Turn music or television on.
- Non-prescription remedies:
- Adaptil, pet remedy sprays or plug ins. – these are available to buy in the practice and help calm your pet using essential oils and pheromones
- Nutracalm supplements. – these are gentle calming supplements which you can buy from us without coming in for a consultation
- Thundershirt or compression shirt.
- Prescription remedies: Occasionally we find that despite our best efforts at home, pets still suffer from their noise phobias. In these instances we always recommend bringing your pet in for a consultation to speak to a vet.
Cats are special! How to tell if your cat is anxious:
- There is a lot of focus on dogs during Guy Fawkes, but cats get anxious too! Cats are adept at hiding their anxiety, so it is important to be aware of any behaviours they might display to suggest anxiety. Some common signs include:
- Hiding or trying to escape
- Reduced activity
- Plan ahead! Check out when fireworks displays in your area are scheduled.
- If you have an outdoor cat, keep them indoors if there are going to be fireworks.
- Manage your cat’s anxiety:
- It’s best to stay in on fireworks night to offer reassurance to your pet if they seek you out, and to ensure they don’t injure themselves.
- Non-pharmaceutical therapies:
- Feliway or pet remedy – a plug in diffuser or spray to help calm your cat which you can buy from us
- Nutracalm – this is a calming supplement which you can buy from us without having to come in for a consultation
- Royal Canin Calm food – this food has special ingredients in it which calm down an anxious cat
- In severe cases:
- Potential referral to a veterinary behaviourist.
- Prescription medication may be required
Signs of anxiety
If you have any questions or are worried about your cat or dog, please come in and chat to us.
We are happy to help you prepare for the fireworks season or to talk about any other anxiety issues your pet may have.