Help Pets Cope with Stress and Anxiety
by StatePoint ◊ Jul 20, 2012
When pets behave badly, it’s hard to remember how lovable they can be.
Get a handle on barking, begging, jumping, scratching, digging, and marking with a good attitude and the right tools.
Keep Pets Happy – An active pet is a calmer pet. Give furry friends plenty of exercise, so they don’t use the kitchen as a dog run. Walks are a great start. Play games, like fetch, to give cats and dogs mental stimulation and release pent up anxiety. If they’ve had their fun, they’ll be far less likely to act out.
The same way babies cry to express themselves, a pet’s behavior may simply be a message. While pain and discomfort can cause naughtiness, such as inappropriate marking – and a vet visit can confirm if that’s the case – much bad behavior is stress-related.
When you aren’t home, ensure pets’ needs are met. Provide access to water, toys, a window to watch the world from, and a clean litter box. Let dogs out immediately when you get home.
Speak Your Pet’s Language – Behavior training can change certain behaviors, but it’s not effective for everything and takes a great deal of time, money, and patience. On the other extreme, veterinarians may recommend sedatives as a last resort when other solutions have failed. New alternatives, however, can reduce or eliminate problems safely and quickly.
“In scientific studies, pheromones mimicking those produced by mother cats and dogs have been shown to modify both stress-induced behaviors and physiology,” says Dr. John McGlone, a professor and animal behavior research scientist. “Pheromones are naturally produced chemicals animals use to communicate with each other. Pheromone therapy is helping pets overcome difficult behavior problems.”
Consider outfitting active pets with a pheromone collar, such as one from Sentry. They last 30 days and go where pets go, so they are in constant contact with calming pheromones. Sentry’s Stop That Spray may be useful for eliminating certain behaviors. For example, if pets bark excessively at the doorbell, applying spray will get the pet’s attention and send the message to stop barking, so you can greet guests trouble-free. When a pet expresses fear or stress from thunderstorms or loud noises, use a calming spray or diffuser in an enclosed space to prevent him from wreaking havoc throughout the house. More information can be found at www.sentrypetcare.com.
Go to School – Not everyone has the benefit of personal visits from “Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Milan. Obedience training, however, can benefit you both, while socializing your dog. Get training underway as young as possible to break bad habits before they get out of hand. Consider using pheromone-based products in conjunction for faster, more lasting results.
Parents of problem pets: don’t give up. Make bad behavior a thing of the past with a few key changes and the application of science.
Photo: Collars containing pheromones can help keep pets calm.