Anxiety in pets is a lot more complicated than you may think.
It's never easy to see our beloved furry friends feel scared or suffer from anxiety over the things we know won't hurt them. Because you can't rationalise with your pet, soothing and treating their fears can be more challenging.
Dr Cherlene Lee, veterinarian and owner of Sydney's My Vet Animal Hospital says that it's essential that your pet is actually suffering from anxiety. "There are many conditions that mimic anxiety in pets, for example, pain and neurological disorders. So, it is very important to confirm this with your vet," she says.
Once you've confirmed your pet is suffering, you need to get to the root of the problem. They can be frightened of all kinds of things, including strangers, being alone or other dogs, so determining what will help you decide your course of action.
Below are the top five most common environmental modifications that pet owners ask about when helping a pet with anxiety:
You watch TV for pleasure and perhaps you put it on sometimes when you're at home to add a bit of background noise. Dog TV works on the same principle. "This would be useful for dogs that prefer hearing a human voice," says Cherlene. "It gives them a sense that someone is in the house and they are not alone all the time."
Adaptil collar or spray
"Adaptil collar is particularly useful for dogs with anxiety because it replicates feel-good pheromones known as Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP). It provides comfort and security to dogs of all ages," explains Cherlene. It helps dogs and puppies feel reassured and relaxed, especially during difficult situations.
Pet rescue remedy
Turns out you can give Rescue Remedy to your beloved four-legged friend, however, it is best to consult your vet before using pet rescue remedy on your pet. "We would recommend using the Adaptil collar or spray over pet rescue remedy, as Adaptil products are vet approved," advises Cherlene.
Wearing a thunder jacket gives pets a swaddling effect. "This hugging pressure can sometimes help pets feel calmer and safer. However, owners should be careful when using them during summer, as their pets can easily overheat from wearing the jacket," recommends Cherlene.
Leave lights on at night
This can work if it's the dark your pet is scared of. "However, most pets actually prefer being in the dark, as it keeps them calmer and makes them feel safer when they are not being distracted by visual cues," says Cherlene.