Our furry friends can also get anxiety!
By Patricia Durocher • 30 April 2019
Anxiety is widespread in our time!
Many animals feel anxious when they arrive at the shelter. All of a sudden, they lose all of their bearings: environment, people, routine, etc. Here are some of the signs of anxiety in animals:
- Excessive barking or moewing
- Destructive behaviour in dogs
- Self-destructive behaviour
- Lethargy, lack of movement, hiding or avoiding contact
- Rapid breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Pacing in dogs
- Excessive drooling in dogs
- Uncleanliness in cats
Our job is to make them as comfortable as possible by establishing a bond with these animals and by enriching their environment: frequent interaction, toys, medication, a calm environment that also has room to hide, relaxing music, etc.
When people want to adopt an anxious animal, they should expect an adaptation period ranging from several days to several weeks. During this time, the animal will learn a new routine and get their bearings. Patience is the key to success! Let the animal set the rhythm and don’t force it into new experiences.
Here are a few easy tips for dealing with anxious animals:
- When an animal seems anxious, act normally and stay calm to show it that there’s no reason to be scared. Avoid comforting the animal.
- It is important to socialize dogs very young by exposing them to a variety of situations, environments, sounds and people.
- Have your animal expend energy with exercise and games.
- Cats appreciate having a cat tree, shelves and hiding places where they can rest and observe.
- Avoid punishing your animal when it shows signs of stress because this will only increase its anxiety.
Since signs of anxiety can look like the symptoms of illness, we encourage you to consult a vet first. Once illness is ruled out, we suggest you consult a canine or feline educator in order to know what to do to reduce your pet’s anxiety.
Helpful hint to all owners of anxious animals: be as zen as possible if you want to help your pet be calm.