Managing Your Pet’s Anxiety

Dog with anxiety hiding under the bed

How to Calm an Anxious Pet

Does your pet cower in fear during thunderstorms or hate to be alone? Although it doesn't seem fair, anxiety isn't just a human problem but can affect animals too. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to decrease your pet's anxiety.

Anxiety Triggers

Identifying your pet's triggers can help you create a strategy to calm your dog, cat or rabbit. Triggers vary from animal to animal and may include:

  • Loud Sounds: Vacuum cleaners, fireworks, thunder, and other sounds can be particularly frightening to some pets.
  • New People or Animals: Exposure to unfamiliar animals and people may increase anxiety symptoms in some pets.
  • Change in Routine: Moving, bringing a new person or pet into your household, or even changing your work schedule may be the catalyst for your pet's anxiety symptoms.
  • Visits to the Veterinarian: Some pets are overwhelmed by the unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells at the veterinary office or feel threatened by the other animals in the waiting area.
  • Certain Surfaces: Does your pet resist walking on marble, hardwood, laminate or types of smooth flooring? He or she may be afraid of falling or may have been scolded after walking on a particular type of floor in the past.
  • Separation: Separation anxiety is particularly common among pets, affecting 14 percent of dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.
  • Aging: Pets that have cognitive dysfunction syndrome, a condition similar to dementia in people, may develop anxiety.

Signs of Anxiety in Pets

Anxious pets may lash out if they're afraid of a person, animal or object. Your pet may express fear by growling, barking, hissing, biting or scratching.

Just like people, animals can lose control of their bowels or bladder if they're extremely anxious or fearful. If you've ever returned home and discovered that your housetrained dog or cat had an accident, separation anxiety may be to blame. Anxious pets can also be destructive. Social media is full of videos and photographs of mangled couch cushions, gouged doors, and overturned plants.

Anxiety can trigger frequent barking, howling, meowing, or drooling. Cats or rabbits may groom themselves excessively, causing bald or irritated spots on their skin.

How to Reduce Anxiety

These tips may help your pet feel more secure and less fearful:

  • Create a Safe Space: Place your pet in a quiet room when you're vacuuming, hosting a noisy party, or meeting your best friend's new Great Dane.
  • Try Pheromones: Pheromones are natural or synthetic chemicals that can calm stressed or anxious pets. Pet stores and online shopping sites sell pheromone sprays, diffusers, wipes, and collars.
  • Avoid Routine Changes if Possible: Your work schedule may change, but that doesn't necessarily mean that your pet's routine must be altered. Ask another family member or roommate to feed, walk or play with your pet at the usual times. If you're going out of town, your anxious pet may be happier staying at home with a pet sitter rather than spending the time in a boarding kennel.
  • Give Your Pet a Piece of Your Clothing: Decrease separation anxiety by giving your pet clothing that contains your scent.
  • Buy a Calming Vest: Calming vests are a type of wrap-around jacket that calms pets by applying constant pressure to their bodies. Similar to weighted blankets for humans, calming vests help dogs and cats cope with loud noises and may also help with general anxiety.
  • Make Time for Exercise: After a vigorous game of fetch or chase the laser pointer light, your pet may feel much calmer. Daily exercise is beneficial for all pets but is particularly important if your pet suffers from anxiety.
  • Gradually Desensitize Your Pet to the Anxiety Trigger: Pets may become less fearful if they're gradually exposed to anxiety triggers. If your pet is afraid to walk on hardwood or laminate floors, take one or two steps into the room and offer a treat. When the fear of loud noises is the problem, play a recording of thunder or fireworks for a few seconds, then offer a treat. Discontinue this approach if your pet doesn't respond well or becomes increasingly agitated.
  • Talk to Your Pet's Veterinarian: If these suggestions don't relieve your pet's anxiety, it's a good idea to consult the veterinarian. Your pet's doctor can offer suggestions, prescribe anti-anxiety medication, if needed, or make a referral to a behavioral specialist. Your pet will also receive a thorough examination to make sure that anxiety isn't related to a health condition or disease.

Are you worried about your pet's anxiety? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

AKC: Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Dog Anxiety, 5/14/19

Humane Society of the United States: Does Your Dog Freak Out When You Leave?

PetMD: 6 Cat Calming Products to Help Ease Cat Anxiety

Yummy Magazine: Stress in Rabbits, 2/16/18

Location

Find us on the map

Pet Care Clinic - Kuna

Hours of Operation

Monday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Saturday:

9:00 am

1:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Client Owner Reviews

  • "2 years ago
    Deeply appreciate humbled vets such as Pet Care Clinic. I have been to several other vets in the valley. And always felt this pressure of highway robbery. It’s as though they would pray on your love for your sweet animal to reem as much money as possible out of you during your visit.
    This place does not do that. They genuinely Care about you and your family. Our cat has been diagnosed with a unfortunate heart condition that will potentially result in his death. Rather than being referred to a cardiologist and having a bunch a test done that would leave me with no choices other than a $4000 surgery this vet gave me the tools and confidence to care for my animal at home until he passes.
    I like that they didn’t pressure me to do a bunch of things that won’t change the outcome of my animal. I like that their visits are an affordable $50. They are easy to schedule with and we enjoy the professionalism of their stuff. Highly recommend!"
    Thea Jordan
  • "2 years ago
    The staff is wonderful, friendly and kind. The doctor was fantastic, ready to answer any questions as well add giving helpful advice. The prices are okay. They have treats and goodies after the visit and the most important thing is they were professional and caring with our puppy.
    I highly recommend the Pet Care Clinic."
    Cecilia Imberti
  • "10 months ago
    I live in Nampa and I drive clear to kuna just to have these guys take care of my dogs. The best around friendly knowledgeable and they love animals."
    Curtis Childers
  • "6 months ago
    Very good and kind Buddy loved Anthony 🐕"
    Linda Argier
  • "2 weeks ago
    Excellent pet care!"
    Terri Cameron
  • "6 months ago
    These people are GREAT! I needed to get my cat in quickly and they made time for him and me. So appreciated them doing that for us. Will be using them as are permanent vet.
    Totally recommend!"
    Cindy Green
  • "8 months ago
    Very meticulous and caring people. Treated our old cat and helped us keep him happy until it was the time for him to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Even then they were respectful and sympathetic with our grief and gave us all the time we needed to say goodbye. They were careful with him and gently put him under anesthesia. He passed quietly and with the dignity he deserved, sounded by the people who loved him. During the whole process they were very caring and interested in his comfort and ours. I can't recommend them enough."
    Tana Woomack
  • "a week ago
    The version here are awesome super neat staff I love going here."
    Christopher Bethel
  • "2 months ago
    Positive: Professionalism, Quality
    Today was my first visit, I thought all the staff were very knowledgeable and made the experience comfortable. They answered all my questions and I am so relieved to have found a place I can take my fur babies. I Would definitely recommend Pet Care Clinic to my family and friends and hope to continue working together for a very long time!!!!"
    Kelcee Keyes
  • "3 weeks ago
    Positive: Professionalism, Quality, Reliability, Responsiveness, Value
    I took my 14 year old cat in for a exam and labwork. Dr Britton and her staff were so welcome and friendly. They gave great service for an excellent price. My cat was so nervous, but Bree was great at making him feel right at home. I definitely recommend this vet clinic!"
    Sandy Sheridan
  • "a month ago
    Just had our 3rd trip to pet care clinic for our cat and they are fantastic. Really great local animal care. We are so grateful they're close to our home as well."
    Keegan L Bradley
  • "a month ago
    We moved out of state to Kuna with our cat. We were looking for a place for her check-up appointment and we’re so glad we found this place. Our cat is incredibly anxious, but they took great care of her by providing a soft rug for her to sit on and a towel for her to “hide” under. They treated her with top of the line care and made sure she was comfortable. We will be back!"
    Tom Essig
  • "a month ago
    Great service. Had been going to the same vet in East Boise since 93, after moving to Kuna decided the drive wasn't worth it. Glad I changed, only went twice before having to put my 14 year old dog down. The day that I knew it was time was a Saturday morning and I pleaded my case. They fit me in at the end of the day, it was calm and the most relaxed I had seen my girl in the last couple weeks. I appreciated them squeezing her in and being so kind about it. Will take all future pets there."
    Landon Gillespie
  • "3 months ago
    I absolutely love this family vet team! Moving to a new state was difficult. I knew I had to find my new favorite places (bar, restaurants, shopping, boutiques, doctors, etc). However, on the top of the list was to find a great vet. Someone who would love my fur babies like I do. Someone who wasn't a doc in box and interested in assaulting my pocketbook.
    Well, I found all that and so much more at Pet Care clinic in Kuna!. They never rush me. They take care of babies as if it was their own dog. They don't push unnecessary blood work or medications. They follow up with me and so much.
    I found my vet before I found a doctor for me cause my doggies care is important."
    Michelle S