What to do if your pet has anxiety, like you?

Pets are great companions that can help you peel away shyness and anxiety.  They do this with the attention and love they pour in to you – especially dogs.  Dogs will also force you to get out more via daily walks.  The cuteness overload plus knowing that you have a furbaby to care for, creates intrinsic motivation that spreads to other areas of your life. This article is about what you can do if you happen to have an anxious pet.  You know how it feels to be anxious and now your pet can benefit from your compassion.  Read on! – Wallflower Bloom

fearful-puppy-via-canva-by-tommeka-sSo you’ve decided to provide a forever home to a furbaby.   You’ve done your research and decided on the perfect pet.  Prior to the big day, you collected items to help Fido or Fifi feel at home.  You even purchased the best organic food and pet clothes that you could find online.  You are excited to introduce your furbaby to the family.

However, on your first occasion to have guests over, you were in for quite the shock.  Your new pet seemed to be agitated.  He had a noticeable shake and he stayed near your feet.  When people tried to pet him, he tried to escape to small spaces and he even growled once or twice.  

Concerned that this behavior will cause problems for family and friends, you do your research.  You need to come up with a plan for dealing with your grumpy puppy.  The more that you read, you begin to suspect that your trembling pooch may be more than agitated. Your pick from the litter or the rescue kennel just might have anxiety!  

Dealing with a fearful or anxious pet can be rough.  Anytime that your pet is nervous, he can display potentially problematic behavior.  In addition to shaking, your pet can become physically ill; engage in risky flight behavior; or obsessively gnaw at body parts creating sores.  Displays of nervousness and anxiety are not only troubling, but they can lead a concerned pet owner to rack-up quite the veterinarian bill.

The best way to avoid anxiety induced pet parent issues is to help your pet become comfortable around people, pets and non-familiar places.  Here are a few tips to help you help your pet.

  • Know the signs of fear or anxiety such as a a tucked tail, repetitive behaviors like pacing, or startle accidents in housebroken pets
  • Gradually introduce your pets to new stimuli such as noise, animals of similar size, and people–always take your pet out on a leash
  • Play with your dog on their level–on the ground; avoid what may be misconstrued as aggressive behaviors like showing your teeth or laughing
  • Consider obedience or agility training to help your pet learn to play and socialize with others

If you believe that your pet suffers from anxiety, it is important to address his emotional health sooner than later.  Though many resources are available online, at your pet store and in your local library, you should consult with your veterinarian at the first signs of fear or anxiety.  Your veterinarian can ensure that your pet is otherwise healthy and provide professional advice for dealing with the problem.

Online sources include www.petmd.com, www.humanesociety.org and Google.  

by writer, Tommeka Semien

Tommeka Semien is a non-profit professional, mom of three and two extras, operator of LN2 Consulting, freelance writer and blogger at www.luckyno2.com.

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