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Stressed pets

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Pets are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and are generally creatures of habit. We look at the symptoms of a stressed pet and how to treat an anxious pet.

Common sources of pet stress

  • separation from owners
  • moving house
  • travelling and boarding kennels
  • illnesses, loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks
  • the death of a family member or another pet

Signs of a stressed pet:

  • Shyness or seeking areas to hide in
  • Restlessness or trembling
  • Increased vocalisation (eg. barking or meowing)
  • Destructive behaviour 
  • Excessive grooming or licking
  • Inappropriate toileting /house soiling
  • Illness – particularly diarrhoea

How to treat a stressed pet

While many of these things are unavoidable, prevention is always the best cure. Ensuring your pet is exposed to new things when they are young will prevent fears and phobias later on.

Providing essential key nutrients in the diet can help in dogs.  Look for B Group vitamins that help maintain a healthy nervous system and tryptophan that helps to promote serotonin production (serotonin being well known to contribute to feelings of wellbeing).

Read more: Tryptophan - what is it and how can it help my dog? 

If your pet already has anxieties or phobias, these are likely to escalate unless your pet is retrained.  The way you act towards your pet at this time is critical. Be careful not to reward your pet by giving attention to stress behaviour, as this reinforces the ‘panic behaviour’ which can make their problem worse.

Instead, you will need to find a way to control, relax, calm or distract your pet in the presence of the stressful stimulus. This teaches them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Rewarding appropriate behaviour at times of stress by plenty of pats, toys and treats works well, reinforcing their response to stress. Alternatively, music, TV or radio background sounds can help camouflage noise anxieties (eg thunderstorms) and also help modify their moods.

If you think your pet is showing signs of stress you should consult with your veterinarian.

Related Product:

  • PAW Complete Calm 
    Tasty kangaroo based chews that contain 25-50% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for key B group vitamins for general health & wellbeing including normal nervous function, antioxidants to maintain the immune system and additional tryptophan for positive balanced health.