There are a variety of reasons why dogs and cats may feel stressed. When a cat meows inconsolably at night, or a dog whines whenever he is left alone, pet owners often feel concerned as to how to remedy their pet’s stress. Each scenario will be unique, just as every cat and dog has their own personality and emotional needs. However, below are a few helpful tips as to how you can help your fur-baby calm down and feel comforted when the stress sets in.
Remedies for Stress
Though it is impossible to remove ALL the stress-triggers, domestic pets can learn to cope with anxiety if they are given the tools to do so. By implementing good exercise and creating a calm environment through the ways listed below, most cats and dogs will grow to overcome their acute stress struggles.
Activities: Helping animals work through tension can occur by increasing regular activities such as exercise and training. For some, this might look like an additional 30 minutes of command training, or wrestling and playing every day, or even extending their daily walk.
Aroma therapy: Natural plant fragrances and oils have been used for centuries to release tension and create a sense of peace. Lighting aromatic candles, keeping bouquets of lavender or restful flowers around, or even using essential oil diffusers can help bring the anxiety level of pets significantly down. Other helpful tools are aroma therapy house sprays and linen wipes which can be applied to the dog or cat’s bed.
Calming collars: The benefit of calming collars is that they allow the animal to carry their own source of calming therapy around their neck, just a few inches from their noses. These seem to be helpful tools in dialing down stress and anxiety in animals.
Herbal remedies: Two helpful herbal remedies are catnip or valerian, both of which seem to help lower stress in cats. Pet pheromones have also been used to ease tension, and Bach flower is effective on cats, dogs (and humans!) and can be found in the product Rescue Remedy for Pets.
Vitamins: Balancing emotions internally by giving your pet additional vitamin supplements they need can also prove helpful in de-stressing animals.
Peaceful sounds: Since animals experience stress when thunder crashes and wind storms rage, it makes sense that alternative peaceful sounds such as trickling water, the ocean, or soft music, could work the opposite effect.
Massage: Petting releases endorphins in both the animal and the human, and massage works the same way. Rubbing in firm circular motions on the cat or dog’s body can have a relaxing, hypnotic effect on animals. Taking the time to give your pet a focused 15-minute massage might give them the emotional security they need while relaxing their muscles.
Medication: When the stress or anxiety in a domestic pet is severe, and is inhibiting their lifestyle or health, veterinarians might prescribe medications to help bring high tension levels down, such as clomicalm (clomipramine) or valium (diazepam). However, there should only be administered as a final resort, when all other natural remedies have been exhausted or found unsuccessful.