Stress Relief for Pets

Gray kitten with a pink flower.

Stress isn't just a problem for humans; your pet can experience the negative effects too. Illness, changes in the usual routine or the death of another pet can lead to an increase in your pet's anxiety level. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your furry friend relax.

Signs of Stress

Your pet may not be able to tell you that it feels stressed, but you will probably notice some behavioral changes, including:

  • Bathroom accidents, particularly if your pet has been successfully house or litter trained
  • Excessive grooming, licking or scratching
  • Irritability
  • Chewing walls, couches or other items in your home (dogs)
  • Scratching furniture, doors and walls (cats)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Hiding (cats)

Identifying the Cause

In some cases, the cause of your pet's stress is obvious. Perhaps you got a new puppy or kitten, and your pet is having trouble adjusting to the new addition. In other cases, the cause might be less obvious. Something that you view as a minor event, such as rearranging furniture, can be stressful for some animals. Other potential causes of stress are:

  • Travel
  • Moving to a new home
  • Holiday celebrations, which may include scary Halloween costumes, 4th of July fireworks or loud parties
  • The death of a person or pet
  • The addition of a new person to the home
  • Being left at home alone
  • Changes in the usual family routine
  • The absence of a family member
  • Car trips
  • Visits to the veterinarian or groomer

Reducing Stress

Once you have identified the stressor, you can make changes to help your pet feel more relaxed. For example, the start of a new school year obviously means that your family must make changes to its normal routine. If you notice that your cat or dog seems to be stressed by the flurry of early morning activity in your home, offer a quiet refuge far from the chaos. Provide a crate with several toys for your dog or put your cat in a quiet room with a few favorite things.

Your dog may become stressed about riding in the car if he only associates car trips with visits to the vet. Take him on a few short trips to a place he enjoys, such as a local park, and provide treats at the end of the trip. Turning a car ride into a pleasant experience means that short and long trips will be more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Treatments That Can Help

A variety of treatments may help reduce your pet's stress level, including:

  • Pheromone-based sprays, collars and diffusers. Pheromones are scents animals produce to communicate with each other. Pheromone products mimic scents that help calm your pets.
  • Herbal products. Some pets react well to herbal products; others do not experience any decrease in stress levels. Catnip and valerian may be helpful in relaxing your cat while oat seed or California poppy might help your dog.
  • Natural supplements. Your pet may experience less stress after taking supplements containing vitamin B1, colostrum and L-theanine. Before you give your pet any herbal or natural product, check with your veterinarian to make sure it is safe.
  • Massage. Many pets enjoy a good massage just as we do. If you have any questions about pet massage, contact our office today.

When to Call Your Vet

If home remedies and removing stressors do not help your pet, it's time for a visit to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend anti-anxiety medication or suggest that you consult with an animal behaviorist. The behaviorist will evaluate your pet's behavior and suggest strategies that will help him or her cope with stress.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Office Hours

Walk-ins accepted from 8am-11:30am and 2pm-5:30pm

Lubbock Office

Monday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Saturday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

10209 Quaker Avenue, Lubbock, Tx . 79424

  • "AMC has been our vet for the last 28 years with personal fur babies and now going on 12 years with our Morris Mutts. We could not be here and actively savings dogs without your help and expertise. Thank you thank you"
    Sallie-Morris Safe House
  • "They have the best vets and a wonderful staff and I couldn't be happier with the quality of service and how well they take care of my dog when I take him there! Definitely check out AMC for a friendly, affordable Lubbock vet."
    Kayla B.
  • "Always receive sound judgment, veterinary advice and excellent care here. Strong & trustworthy veterinary care providers. (I can also be a bit intense & all the staff have consistently been patient and kind each visit, intense or not.)"
    Betty H.
  • "I have used AMC since 1999 with all my babies. I've brought them dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rescues I pull off the street. They have given amazing service every visit. I also work at a local pet hotel, and when I call to check on client vaccinations, they are helpful and professional."
    Jeana D.
  • "Great doctors, friendly people and fantastic service."
    Mary W.
  • "Caring staff; knowledgeable vets"
    Virginia M.

Featured Articles

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles