What causes anxiety in pets
Interestingly, what causes anxiety in your pet is very similar to what may cause anxiety in you. Especially in dogs, one of the biggest anxiety concerns is separation. Dogs are inherently social animals and being alone or even being left with a caregiver can result in a variety of “acting out” forms of anxiety.
Environmental changes such as moving into a new home can be difficult for pets such as cats who are uncomfortable with change once they are set in their environment. Other environmental changes such as noise and even thunderstorms can result in fear or panic. It shouldn’t surprise you that in these events your cat will likely want to be near you for protection.
Illness and age can also play a role. Common pet illnesses are hypothyroidism, Encephalitis, hearing of vision loss, and Thyrotoxicosis. These illnesses can either concern your cat who won’t understand the changes or may affect your cat’s disposition due to hormonal imbalances.
Here are three ways to assuage your cat’s anxiety regardless of cause.
Read the situation
While some cats are easier than others when it initially comes to reading the situation, over time you should be able to identify behaviors related to your pet’s concerns. Being able to read the situation will help you find treatments to reduce your cat’s stress. For example, if your cat is not comfortable with their food, you may need to change the food. If your pet is ripping up furniture, that may mean your cat is uncomfortable being alone. If your cat whines or meows at night, they may need the comfort of being in your bed or at least the same room.
Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons, and reducing anxiety is one of them. For starters, exercise stimulates the release of serotonin which is a chemical produced in both humans and pets that helps to make the body feel good as well as ease the mind. Exercise also helps reduce anxiety by expending energy which in turn reduces stress.
Sleep with your pet
Sleeping with your pet may not only reduce your cat’s anxiety, but research shows it may help you get better sleep too. Sleeping with your cat provides warmth, comfort, and love. These three components are also what both people and pets crave most when it comes to overcoming anxiety and depression. The bond created while sleeping with your cat is a great way to develop security for both you and your pet.
Anxiety in pets is not all too different from the anxiety you might feel. Remember, that a cat who is “acting out” may actually be looking for love and affirmation. To help reduce your cat's anxiety you need to know how to read the situation, exercise and play with your cat, and cuddle up whenever possible.
This article was written by our friend Krista Harper.