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Our Veterinarian near Leonardtown Explains Anxiety in Pets

The most common reason for anxiety and fearfulness in pets is lack of socialization as puppies or kittens. When deprived of environmental and social experiences involving humans, young dogs and cats grow up to be distrustful of humans and other animals. They do not know what to expect from humans nor do they learn specific social behaviors that promote the establishment of affectionate relationships with humans and other pets. Removing puppies and kittens from their mothers before they are eight weeks old may also contribute to pet anxiety. If you have a new pet suffering symptoms of anxiety (hiding, whining, shaking and avoiding social interactions), bring your pet to our animal hospital where your veterinarian near Leonardtown will perform a wellness exam to ensure your pet is not ill.

Dog waiting for owner to get home.

Medical Problems and Pet Anxiety

In some cases, anxiety in pets is a sign of possible undetected diseases or disorders. Hearing loss, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetes and nervous system dysfunction are just a few health issues that can cause anxiety. Pets with food or plant poisoning may also appear nervous, fearful or oddly hyperactive.

Past Traumas

Being abandoned or abused will naturally make cats and dogs anxious and fearful. If you adopt an animal that was previously mistreated, it will take a lot of patience, compassion and unconditional love to help a pet learn to trust and depend on humans again.

Separation Anxiety

Cats and dogs develop separation anxiety behaviors when their owner suddenly starts leaving them for extended periods. Pets used to be with their owner for most of the day but unexpectedly find themselves alone in the home may start:

  • Barking, whining, howling or meowing wildly when you come home
  • Chewing on anything and everything when you are gone
  • Having "accidents" only when you are gone
  • Obsessively licking, scratching or biting their fur, paws, and skin
  • Acting depressed (hiding, not eating, shivering, cowering)
  • Showing excessive agitation and excitement when you return home, even if you've only been gone a few minutes

Tips for reducing separation anxiety in pets include:

  • Not making a big scene when you leave your pet. If you make departing a huge deal, your pet will think something's terribly wrong and become nervous.
  • Changing your routine periodically so that your pet doesn't start anticipating your departure. For example, if you always take a shower in the morning before leaving, try taking a shower before you go to bed. Without being "cued" by your morning shower, your pet's anxiety won't worsen by the time you leave.
  • Make sure you and your pet spend enough "together" time before you leave. Wearing your pet out with fun and exercise time makes it easier for dogs and cats to relax when you are gone.

Contact Breton Veterinary Animal Hospital in Leonardtown for More Information Today!

Scheduling your pet for an exam with your veterinarian near Leonardtown at Breton Veterinary Animal Hospital is the first step in diagnosing and treating pet anxiety. Contact us today at (301) 475-7808.