Just as humans struggle with anxiety, your pets can too.
It is important to continue to open the conversation around anxiety and how it can affect a range of species.
Have you ever noticed that your dog starts to shake when around other animals? Or that your cat seems more timid than your neighbors’ friendly felines? Or maybe you’ve noticed a definite change in behavior during car rides with your pet?
These could be the subtle signs your pet is struggling with anxiety. Just as humans can, pets can deal with anxiety on both a daily and situational basis.
Thankfully, there are resources available to help ease both you and your pet’s anxiety, allowing you both to live a happier and stress-free life.
1.Pet anxiety is real and can be life-threatening.
It is imperative for pet owners to understand the severe long-term effects that anxiety can have on our fur-babies. Our pets are part of the family. Your pet’s health affects the health of your family as a whole, so why not treat their illnesses as you’d treat your own.
2. Signs and symptoms to look out for, some more subtle than others.
The first step: diagnosis
You may start to notice your pet acting more shy or afraid when dealing with certain situations, this could be your first sign in realizing that your pet may be having anxiety issues. Be sure to do your resources and educate yourself on the symptoms to look out for in both cats and dogs.
As soon as you start to think your pet is struggling with anxiety, you’ll want to determine what is causing your pet’s behavior to change. Before trying to treat your pets’ unusual behaviors, it is important to look at what the basic issues may be causing your pet to feel stress or fear. Often these issues are anxiety-related. This can be due to their environment, previous owners, or even breed traits. Determining what is causing your pet to be anxious, is a quick way to ensure you are then finding the right resources to help.
3. Prescription medicines may not be the best choice, especially for long-term treatment.
Veterinarians often jump to the conclusion that you should try prescription medication to ease their symptoms. Just as we are often skeptical about putting ourselves on daily medication, we should consider other options for our pets as well. There are tons of natural remedies available over-the-counter and around your home to try before agreeing to put your pet on prescription meds.
4. Try Natural Remedies First
The use of natural remedies such as homeopathy and CBD treatments for pets is growing fast. With concerns surrounding the many side effects and harmful chemicals that can come with prescription medicines is causing pet owners to turn to more natural, safer treatments for their pet’s health. Research continues to show us all the benefits you and your pets will reap once you switch over to all-natural products for your pet care.
5. Increased use of CBD as an alternative treatment for pets (and humans).
Although still relatively new, CBD is increasingly being linked to positive, long-term health benefits. These benefits are not exclusive to humans, they can be just as beneficial for your pets.
Anxiety is now the second most common reason for administering CBD to pets, the first being joint pain management.
There are several options for administering CBD oil; topical oils, CBD-infused treats, and pills. Recent studies show a strong link between CBD and pet stress and anxiety management. CBD can even help with other medical needs ranging from joint pain to seizures, to malignant tumor growth management.
6. Compare CBD results and side-effects to traditional medications.
Unlike many prescription drugs, CBD comes with much more mild side-effects that are less harmful to your pet’s health in the long run. With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-pain benefits, CBD treatments have an extensive list of positive results compared to prescription medications that may alter your pet’s personality completely.
7. Other things to consider.
Even after you have incorporated natural treatments for your pet’s anxiety, you may want to try other remedies such as exercise, massages, calming music, and other options. Natural, product-free, solutions can go a long way in helping your pet cope with anxiety.
8. Keep an open mind
Take a similar approach in researching and trying several options to suit your pet’s needs, just as you would for yourself or loved ones. Be sure to check all your sources and only buy from credible businesses.
9. Always discuss options with professionals, get a second opinion.
Make use of specialized vet professionals such as board-certified and behavioral specialists. A lot of confusion and resistance comes from questions regarding the safety and/or legality of CBD. A lot of resistance does come from vets who have perceived ideas of CBD and still link it to more recreational uses like with marijuana.
Studies have found that in most cases, CBD provides a more “holistic” alternative for anxiety treatment compared to more traditional prescription medicines. So although CBD may not be the first recommendation you hear from your vet, remember to consider all of the options available. Even if your vet doesn’t recommend CBD, don’t be afraid to bring it up to them. It may be as simple as opening the door for the conversation, or it may make you realize that you need to utilize other veterinarian resources that are more open-minded to the progression of CBD oil and uses.
10. Be patient
It may take several tries before finding the right dosage and administration technique that works for your pet’s wants and needs.
Continuing the discussion, just as society and media have started to spread awareness and resources for humans struggling with anxiety, pet owners’ needs to start doing the same for their pets.
Many pet owners assume their pets are just having an off day or think their pet has always acted this way so that’s just how they are, and they may think there isn’t much they can do to help.
Sharing this article is one of the first steps to starting the conversation with your family and friends about your own pet concerns or exposing them to new ways of looking at their own pets’ behaviors.
About the Author
KC Zabrycki is a Freelance Writer, dedicated to spreading awareness about positivity, mindfulness, and the importance of mental health. KC believes that with a bit of compassion and understanding, our world can become a better place for future generations. In 2018, KC launched her travel and lifestyle blog, Wonder and Wander, which focuses on cultivating self-love, mindfulness, and positivity through her passion for travel. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Relations from the London College of Communications and BA in Mass Media Communications from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.