How to Deal With Your Pet’s Anxiety

If your pet has been acting strange lately, you are not alone. Pet owners in the era of the pandemic have reported many strange new behaviors for their cats and dogs . Unusual hiss and growls, tenacity and destructive behavior such as attacking furniture, rolling, over grooming, heightened vocalization and scratching seem like new abnormalities for many of our furry comrades.

Just like their Humans , cats and dogs can experience anxiety as a result of interruptions in their lives, and this can manifest itself in unusual or unexpected ways. Pets can also perceive our increased stress levels, which in turn can make them more anxious.

“Dogs and cats are creatures of habit,” said Sydney Bartson Quinn, animal behavior consultant at the ASPCA, in an email to Lifehacker. “They do well in consistency and sudden scheduling changes can be confusing.”

Signs of stress in your pets

Some signs of stress in dogs may include jumping or barking to get attention, chewing on objects, and getting excited whenever you leave the house (ditto, canine. Ditto). Increased need is also a sign; on the contrary, they are closed. Cats may show stress by hiding, showing increased aggression, or showing litter box problems.

“Just as some people love the [chaos] of working from home and others cannot function without structure, some people overeat and others don’t — so do pets,” – Margie Alonso, Executive Director of the International Association of Behavior Advisers animals reported by the Washington Post. “Someone is relaxed, someone is stressed. We must remember that they are individuals. “

Ways to help your pet cope

If your pet has been acting strange lately, how can you help?

“Try to keep your pet’s daily routine as intact as possible,” Quinn said. “Boredom and excess energy are two common causes of unwanted pet behavior, so take time out for walks, jogging, and hikes with your dog, or play interactive games such as tugboat or fetch with your dog or cat.”

Right now, some pets may be spending all of your time at home. For others, this can be a source of stress as it means they spend less time alone. Each pet will react differently, some of them will be more aroused than others.

Returning to work can be an additional source of stress.

After spending months all the time at home, your return to work can be another disruption that brings new sources of stress. In particular, if you decide to adopt a cat or dog during a pandemic, you may notice a noticeable change in their behavior when you start leaving the house again.

“When our normal work and school routines begin again, your new dog or cat may be confused and lonely,” Queens said. She suggests preparing your pets, new and old, for the upcoming changes by assigning them to be alone during the day. It is recommended that you leave your pet periodically for short periods of time, whether you work in the yard or go for a walk, in order to prepare it for the time when you have to go to the office every day again. …

An online session with behavior specialists can help

If you are worried about your pet’s behavior, or if it reaches a level where it becomes unmanageable, there are options. Some trainers are starting to offer remote training, which is especially helpful if you have a new dog as they can help you get on with your puppy’s well-being.

“Pets’ parents often [consult] with a behaviorist as a last resort, but problems can often be prevented by consulting a specialist early,” Quinn said.

Get help before things get too bad, as the old adage holds true even for our four-legged friends: An ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of treatment.

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