How to Tell if Your Pet is Stressed and What to Do About It

Does your cat or dog suffer from stress or anxiousness? It’s nothing to be ashamed of and a far more common problem than you’d think. Believe it or not, 9 out of 10 pet parents are seeking help for behavioral issues.* Fortunately, there are numerous steps that you can take to help relieve pet stress when it’s needed most.

What Causes Stress in Pets?

Your four-legged friend is a creature of habit and any change to their daily routine can trigger a stressful response. Everyday occurrences like car trips, summer storms and even package deliveries can cause a great deal of stress for cats and dogs. Many pets also have phobias of strangers, large crowds and loud noises which cause them to react negatively. These are some of the most common pet stressors:

What are the Signs of Stress?

Does your dog growl at house guests? Or love to chew your favorite shoes? Does your kitty always hide under the bed? What you may perceive as normal behavior or a personality quirk might actually be your pet’s reaction to stress. But, it can be easy to recognize when your cat or dog is feeling anxious, stressed or fearful. Common signs of stress include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive vocalization (i.e. constant barking)
  • Destructive or aggressive behavior
  • Accidents in the house
  • Reduced appetite
  • Physical distress (i.e. panting, pacing, trembling)
  • Hiding or isolation

5 Tips for Managing Pet Stress

We know how hard it is to see your cat or dog struggle to manage stress or fear. Of course, you’d do everything in your power to help your pet feel better. If you have underlying concerns about your pet’s health, we recommend consulting with a veterinarian for treatment options and behavior modification techniques. Meanwhile, here are a few helpful tips so you can get through the next thunderstorm or BBQ.

1. Room to relax

Whether in a crate or spare room, provide your pet with a comfortable, quiet space during fireworks, thunderstorms and other stressful occasions. Keep curtains and windows closed. Use white noise or TV as a distraction.

2. Run, run, run

Give your pup plenty of exercise before a stressful event. A game of fetch or long walk can reap rewards before a car ride or vet visit. After all, a tired pet is less likely to act out.

3. Calming Supplements

Try Composure for pet stress! Veterinarian formulated and made with natural ingredients, Composure™ supports calm behavior during times of stress. Composure™ is clinically shown to work within 30 minutes and last up to 4 hours.**

4. Act Naturally

Your pet will take their behavioral cues from you. Act calmly and your fur ball will respond in kind. If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, keep exits low-key to make it easier for you to get out the door.

5. Anxiety Challenge

Sign up for our 5-day Anxiety Challenge! By joining the challenge, you’ll receive an email every day that will educate you on your pet’s behavior and offer tips and tricks for reducing stress.

* Promoting the Human-Animal bond in Veterinary Practice. Tom Catanzaro. 2001 Iowa State University Press.

** CanCog Technologies Study “Assessment of Anxiolytic Properties of a Novel Compound in Beagle Dogs with a Noise-Induced Model of Fear and Anxiety”