April 2017 Magazines - Page 51

To be honest, what triggered your pet’s anxiety isn’t as impor- tant as alleviating it. Unless you know what’s causing your pet’s fearful behavior, like the vacuum, balloons or a stuffed animal they react strongly to, it can be difficult to advise sim- ply removing the source of anxiety. Separation anxiety is the most common type seen in pets and usually stems from being rehomed or feeling abandoned, it can also be triggered if something scary happens while you’re not home, causing them to associate your departure with bad things happening. Treating anxiety is a little trickier than treating pain, as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to calming an animal’s mind. While there are prescription anxiety medications available for pets, some people like to try a more natural approach before turning to doggy drugs. Many animals do incredibly well with an anxiety wrap, which applies gentle pressure around their torso to relieve anxiety, like swaddling a baby. Some animals may do well with being crate trained, as it gives them a safe space and relieves their mind of feeling vulnerable or needing to have eyes everywhere; be advised, though, that some anx- ious animals will reject this completely, so do a trial run while you’re home or only running a very quick errand. There are also natural anxiety relief supplements like cannabinoid oil, herbal supplements, essential oils, and even calming music designed specifically for animals’ ears to drown out excess noise that may cause anxiety. Unlike pain, you can take steps to prevent anxiety. If possible, expose young dogs to as many situations and environments as you can and be present. Praise them for being brave, stay by them when they approach new things, and instill a positive, curious attitude in them as best you can. Between the expo- sure they’re getting and the confidence they gain in having you by their side reaffirming them, you can certainly teach young dogs how to brave situations as they get older to pre- vent them from being fearful. The most important thing to remember is that both of these ail- ments are completely treatable– your pet isn’t doomed to a life of pain or fear. Pay attention to your pet’s behaviors and consult your veterinarian about what you observe. Together, you’ll come up with the perfect way to relieve your pet of their discomfort. ◆