Behavioural solutions for stress and anxiety in our pets

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Our pet’s behaviour is the best indicator that they are suffering from anxiety or stress

They tell us a lot by their actions, their physiological responses, and sometimes by the “evidence” they’ve left while you’ve been at work.

One of my current dogs, a rescue, shows aggressive behaviour towards the other dogs in our home, because she feels threatened and uncertain of her own safety. She also gets car sick and vomits all over the back seat on any journey longer than 30 minutes.

A friend’s cat starts bouncing off the walls when he’s frightened by loud noises, like fireworks or thunder.

Some pets can wreck furniture, scratch up the place or relieve themselves when experiencing extreme anxiety. Panting, shaking, drooling, whining and fretting are all indicators.

During peak holiday seasons this behaviour often becomes more obvious.

We have put together a guide with some examples of situations that might cause your pet anxiety, and how you can help them overcome it. 

FIREWORK FEAR
Most pets are frightened by the loud noises that come from fireworks. To help them feel safe during these times, bring them inside where they can be sheltered from the noise and be closer to you. If you are not going to be home, make sure your property is secure to prevent them from running away with fear.

STORM STRESS
Similar to fireworks, storms create loud noises that can startle your pets. Again, bring them inside, or if that is not an option, secure your property and make sure they have a space outside to get undercover.

TRAVEL ANXIETY
Taking your pet on holidays with you is a great option, but it is important to consider that taking your pet out of their usual environment can cause stress. Some pets feel safer in their familiar spot, and believe it or not animals can get car sick! Make regular stops if you are driving, and when you arrive at your destination take your pet for a walk to let them sniff around the area and get familiar. As always, make sure they are  secure as it is common for pets to try and find their home when they find themselves somewhere new, and they could easily get lost or injured.

HOME ALONE
If you are leaving the house for a period of time or going on holidays, make sure there are arrangements for your pet so that they don’t panic and think they have been abandoned. Consider putting them in a boarding facility, or getting a trusted neighbour to feed and walk them each day. They will also need to keep their mind busy during the day, so leave out toys or games.


CROWDED HOUSE
Similar to how your pet can fret when they are home alone, they can also stress when there are lots of new people in the house. With visitors coming from interstate or even overseas for the holidays, all the unfamiliar faces and voices can unsettle your pet. Make sure they have a quiet space to retreat to for when they have had enough of the crowd, and with lots of people going in and out make sure that doors and gates are locked so that if they want to run away from the commotion, they can’t escape your boundary.

For more information speak to your local Just For Pets store.

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