Today, August 15th, is National Relaxation Day! It’s important to just take some down time for yourself regularly, and just unwind a bit. Pets can be both reminders and role models of that! However, some of our furry friends are quite anxious, and need some extra TLC in this area. In this article, a local Louisville, KY vet offers some advice on helping an anxious pet relax.
Pets need exercise and stimulation just as much as we do! Take time to play with your pet daily. Fido should have at least a few walks a day, while Fluffy can work off her angst by taking it out on that string toy.
Fido and Fluffy should have safe spaces they can retreat to. For dogs, this may be a comfy crate with bedding. (Note: Proper crate training and use is crucial. If Fido has negative associations with being crated, this will only make matters worse.) Cats may appreciate having things like paper bags, boxes, or kitty condos. Even a spot under the bed or behind the couch may serve as a safe retreat for a timid cat.
In some cases, a lack of confidence is the actual culprit here. Training and positive reinforcement can help with this. For Fido, mastering a new command is rather like the equivalent of a child scoring a goal. The kitty equivalent may be nailing that tricky run/pounce combo. Treats can also go a long way towards helping pets feel safe and loved. Just stick with safe options.
Some pets are completely comfortable in familiar spaces, but on edge around strangers or in new spots. One example of this would be a dog that is happy and cheerful at home but nervous at the dog park. Remember, your furry friend may look to you to protect them and encourage them. Pay attention to your dog or cat’s body language, and don’t force them into situations they seem uncomfortable in.
Calming products can also help soothe anxious pets. These are in many cases best used for stressful situations, such as travel or appointments. Medication may help on a more permanent basis. Just don’t offer any products or medications without talking to your vet first.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Louisville, KY pet hospital, today!