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Anxiety and Your Pet

Anxiety is a normal emotion in perceiving “future danger”, and it is important for survival. However, some animals can have inappropriate levels of anxiety, when there should be low levels of anxiety, or sometimes we need to calm “normal” anxiety. If your animal is anxious there are things that may help from mild no medical things through to very serious medications to modify brain network chemicals/patterns.

This article is about things that may help before seeking major medical treatment (either with your vet or a specialist behaviour consultant)

The range of possibilities can also be used if your pet is anxious about going to the veterinary hospital.

  1. Thunder shirts
    A tight and comfortable thunder shirt reduces heart rate. E.g., thunderstorm anxiety 47%
  2. Calming chews
    Contain tryptophan, Vitamin b1 (thiamine) ginger and chamomile. E.g., used as treat at/close to the beginning of a consultation.
  3. Essence Aromatherapy
    Contains lavender, Chamomile and Egyptian Geranium. This can be sprayed around a pet’s room or on a Thunder shirt.
  4. Zylkene
    This is a natural milk casein product that can be used in dogs, cats (and horses). It recreates the warm cosy milky feeling of mother/ baby bond and a full tummy of milk. It is very good for mild anxiety and available over the counter. E.g., can be used prior to a nail trim. It is calming and does what Valium does.
  5. Pheromones
    e.g., feliway and adaptil. Pheromones are comforting chemicals released from mothers from the mammary glands. They are available as sprays and diffusers for your pet’s environment and may be good to spray on a cage, lead or thunder shirt going to a veterinary hospital also.
  6. Always try to keep routines for your pets and reward them when their behaviour is calm and good with a soft voice or treats.
  7. 90% of anxiety can be due to pain. Have injuries/illnesses checked and treated.
  8. Encourage your pets to be as “ok” as they can be at a veterinary hospital. Take treats and give pats.
  9. If you think your pet would benefit from mild calming medications before a vet visit, do ask for something to have on hand a few days before a vet visit but some medications may work better/ not as well for some animals and the dose may not be perfect 1st time.