Stress – something we would like to avoid, but impossible to do. Our pets are so attuned to our moods that they experience our stress. This is especially true during holiday times, but can happen anytime.
We all lead busy lives these days and we rush to prepare our homes for guests (and ourselves), cooking, working in-between, trying to make sure everything gets done on time.
If we travel with our pets, have lots of visitors, time spent alone while we’re out partying, shopping or working, these place added stress on all of us, our pets included.
There are signs you can recognize when your pet is stressed – excessive licking, clinginess, cats looking for hiding places or not using the litter box regularly, excessive drinking, pacing, restlessness.
You can reduce your pet’s stress by giving her/him more exercise, new toys, playing soothing music (check your pet shop for music CDs made especially for pets).
Exercise is a great stress reliever. Exercise your pet according to his/her physical ability and age. Your pet probably won’t have time or energy to be stressed and will just want to relax.
Give your pets their own special area that has little or no traffic so they have a retreat to go to and get away from all the tumult. Think about having a crate prepared for your pet to escape to. Make sure they have water available and favorite toys for comfort. Check on them every so often to make sure all is well.
Keep a supply of toys for your pet. Rotate toys, offering one or two at different times.
Take time out of your busy day to give your pet your full attention. Petting or cuddling with your pet can relieve stress for you as well. And your calm demeanor can ease your pet’s stress.
There are flower essences and herbal and homeopathic formulas that help reduce a pet’s anxiety. Consult your veterinarian to find which ones are suitable for your pet. Cats are particularly sensitive and great care must be taken.
If your pet continues to show signs of anxiety, take him/her to the vet for a checkup to make sure that the reasons are not health-related. If all is well but your pet continues to show nervousness, consult with an animal behaviorist.
No matter how busy we are, we should always take time to stop and smell the roses – or better than that, give our pets the attention they deserve.