Reducing anxiety in your pet
By Sea Island Animal Hospital | Halloween is quickly coming around and all our wonderful Beaufort children are excited to dress up, enjoy the fall weather and go out and do some trick-or-treating. In all this excitement, our furry friends, dogs and cats, can experience stress and anxiety, not to mention the scary possibility of chocolate toxicity.
Stress and anxiety can present itself in many forms in your furry friends.
A few warning signs include: hiding, barking, destructive behavior, urine marking, not eating, shivering, pacing, nrvous behavior, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive coat-licking, over-excitement or any other abnormal behavior in your pet. All could be signs that your pet is stressed.
As you can see, stress and anxiety can present itself in many different and confusing ways. If you have any concerns about your pet’s stress and/or anxiety levels during this busy season please call your veterinarian right away. There are several preventative measures available to both dog and cat owners to help prevent and treat stress and anxiety:
-Encourage your pet to sit or lie down in an area that they typically feel safe.
-Reward calm behavior.
-Thunder shirt: gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. Thunder shirts can be ordered online.
-Feliway pheromone diffuser and spray for cats: pheromones are ‘chemical signals’ used to communicate from one individual to another. As a result a pheromone emitted from one individual can affect the behavior of another individual. Feliway Pheromone Diffusers and sprays have a natural calming affect to cats. These products can be purchased from your veterinarian or online.
-Adaptil diffuser, collars, and spray for dogs: Natural pheromone distributors that can have a significant affect on a dogs stress and anxiety levels. Pheromone products also work wonderful on elderly pets that begin to show signs of pacing and restlessness. These products can be purchased at your veterinarian or online.
-Valerin: a root that has a calming effect on the nervous system. It does not cause drowsiness but will help to stop anxiety and induce sleep.
– Chamomile: A plant that contains the chemical apigenin which is a mild sedative and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety). Apigenin also helps with negative gastrointestinal side effects of stress, such as vomiting and diarrhea due to action on the smooth muscle of the GI tract.
Please keep in mind that punishing your pet will only accelerate the issue; the submissive behavior an owner observes when they have punished their dog is a natural behavioral response to their anger not because the pet understands they did something wrong. Your pet can sense your stress, anger and anxieties.
* Always consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on a supplement
Chocolate Toxicity in Pets
Chocolate toxicity is more common in dogs than cats, because dogs are more likely to eat non-pet food items, however, there have been cases of chocolate toxicity in cats. Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains properties that can be toxic to animals. If ingested the ingredients caffeine and theobromine can lead to various medical complications and may even prove fatal to your pet.
Signs of Chocolate Toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, increased body temperature, increased reflex responses, muscle rigidity, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, and seizures; while advanced signs are cardiac failure, weakness, and coma.
* If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate or has chocolate toxicity please call you veterinarian right away.
Stay safe and enjoy the wonderful fall season!
Sea Island Animal Hospital is located at 40 Professional Village Drive on Lady’s Island, and can be reached at 843-548-0741