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Pet Anxiety: Understanding and Managing Your Furry Friend's Stress

As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to be happy and healthy. However, just like humans, pets can experience anxiety and stress. We will explore some ways to treat pet anxiety at home, discuss whether certain breeds are more likely to have behavioural problems, and identify common behavioural signs of anxiety in pets.

How to Treat Pet Anxiety at Home?

There are a number of ways we as pet parents can help pets with anxiety at home:

1. Provide a safe and comfortable space: Create a designated safe space for your pet, such as a crate or a cozy corner, where they can retreat when they feel anxious or stressed.
2. Use calming pheromones: Products like pheromone diffusers or sprays can help create a calming environment for pets. Feliway is an excellent product for cats, and Adaptil works very well for dogs.
3. Practice positive reinforcement training: Reward calm behaviour with treats, toys, and praise to reinforce positive behaviour. Avoid negative rewards such as yelling, punishing and you should never hit a pet.
4. Play soothing music: Soft, calming music can help soothe anxious pets.
5. Try natural supplements: Supplements like Vetriscience Composure Pro, VetPlus Calmex and Natural Animal Solutions TravelEze can help reduce anxiety in pets.
6. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety in pets and promote overall health and well-being.
7. Consider medication: In severe cases, medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be necessary to help manage anxiety, but I do try to reserve this for cases where we’ve tried all non-drug therapies already and the pet needs more help.

Remember, every pet is different and what works for one may not work for another. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best approach for your pet's anxiety management.

Are Some Breeds More Likely to Have Behavioural Problems?

Certain dog and cat breeds may be more prone to behavioural problems due to their genetics, temperament, or physical characteristics – but remember that nurture (upbringing) is possibly more important than nature (the genetics and breeding).

Examples of dogs include breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers which may be prone to aggression, and breeds like Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes which may be prone to escape behaviour. Examples of cats include breeds like Siamese and Bengal cats which may be more vocal and demanding, and breeds like Persians and Exotic Shorthairs which may be prone to litter box problems.

However, individual temperament and life experiences can also play a significant role, and proper training, socialization, and veterinary care can help prevent and manage behavioural problems in pets.

What are Common Behavioural Signs of Anxiety in Pets?

Some common signs of anxiety in dogs include:

- Pacing or restlessness, shaking or trembling
- Panting or rapid breathing
- Excessive barking, whining, or howling and aggressive or fearful behaviour
- Destructive behaviour, such as chewing or digging
- Loss of appetite or digestive issues

Cats are a little different to dogs, and common anxiety signs include:

- Aggression, hiding or restless behaviour
- Excessive grooming or licking, or meowing
- Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box
- Loss of appetite or digestive issues

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