An Overview of Pet Anxiety and Management

Pets experience anxiety just like people do.  And while going into great depth of all the reasons behind pet anxiety is beyond the scope of this article, we will touch on some of the more common reasons pets experience anxiety and how to manage it.  Anxiety in pets can present itself in a variety of ways.  Signs an include any of the following: panting, drooling, licking paws or air licking, shaking/trembling, tucked tail, or in more pronounced cases destructive behavior to the home, furniture, or objects.  Behavior modification and training are the cornerstone of any anxiety management program.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a commonly used term that covers a large spectrum of behavioral problems and severities and can affect both cats and dogs. Separation anxiety simply put is anxiety and the associated often destructive behaviors exhibited when a pet is separated from their owners.  Treatment/management is often a multifactorial process with behavioral modification and training at the core of any successful plan.  I encourage ANY pet owner with a dog experiencing separation anxiety to engage the help of a trainer.  Other things to include in managing separation anxiety include:
  1. AKC recommended Calming Shirt – Just like with babies, swaddling your dog with a snug fitting jersey shirt can help reduce anxiety safely.
  2. High value toys with treat – Distraction with toys with really yummy treats can retarget those destructive behaviors while you’re away.
  3. Calming Herbs and Tinctures – Many companies have herbs and pheromones which can help calm your pet. Rescue Remedy and Feliway are a couple I recommend.
4) Talk to you veterinarian! – It’s important to rule CalmingCoatout medical causes for separation anxiety. Some pets require pharmaceutical management while you initiate your training plan.  Please talk to you vet for more info!

Thunderstorm anxiety 

Storms with thunder and wind can be very scary for some pets! Dogs and cats have hearing that cover different decibels than ours, and these sounds are amplified.  Many dogs and cats know the storm is coming before we even notice a change in the clouds!  Here are some quick solutions:
  1. AKC recommended Calming Shirt – Again, the Calming Shirt is a great way to decrease anxiety in your dog or cat. Swaddling helps them feel safe and secure.
  2. Talk to your veterinarian! – Again, some pets need sedation for storms in more severe cases of anxiety. There are many options available to help your stressed dog or cat if swaddling isn’t enough.

Travel Anxiety 

Our pets are traveling more than ever, but for some dogs and cats traveling in cars and airplanes can be a stressful experience. Training and behavior modification is important for helping with reducing travel anxiety.  Please talk to your trainer about easy to do training exercises to help reduce anxiety.  But some things to incorporate into training include (and maybe you’re seeing a pattern here!):
  1. AKC recommended Calming Shirt – Again, the Calming Shirt is a great non-pharmaceutical way to help calm your dog or cat when traveling.
  2. Calming Herbs and Tinctures – Rescue Remedy for your pets can be useful when traveling. The tincture helps decrease the response to the stress hormone cortisol and is very safe
  3. See you veterinarian! – I’ve had success with many dogs and cat using sedatives when traveling. Some dogs only need the sedatives for a period of time and can be discontinued over time.  Some pets also get carsick, and there are new medications available to help pets who experience nausea when traveling.
I hope this gives you a little insight.  Anxiety is a far reaching problem, and we barely scratched the surface here.  If you feel your pet is experience anxiety please reach out to The Vet Set, or your veterinarian for further guidance and knowledge.  Treatment is based upon training, behavior modification, and different tools to help calm the pet.  Patience and consistency is imperative for success.

Thinking of getting a rescue? Listen to Dr. Taylor on SiriusXM Doctor Radio Share Advice!

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Dr. Taylor Truitt chats with Dr. Allen on SiriusXM Doctor Radio and fields calls about bringing a rescue pet into your family.  The Vet Set encourages people to consider adoption when bringing a new pet into your home.  Each year 7.6 million pets enter shelters and close to 3 million are euthanized per statistics from the ASPCA.  Adopt not shop!


4 Tips To Keep Those Winter Paws Healthy!

4 Tips For Winter Paw Health

The winter months can be really hard on your dog’s paws.  Between the extreme cold, different chemicals used to prevent ice, gravel, and dry conditions there’s many elements to protect those sensitive paws against.  Here’s some tips to keep your paws in tip top shape!

  1. Trim those feathers and extra fur! – The extra fur around your dog’s paws can trap ice, salt, dirt, gravel, and more. Trimming the fur back will cut back on the extra debris the paws can trap.  If you don’t’ feel comfortable grooming a professional groomer will be more than happy to help you out.
  2. Use boots when outside! - When going outside cover those paws with high quality boots to protect from cold, ice, gravel, and chemical de-icers. There are many different JellyWelliesshapes, sizes, and varieties to find the perfect pair for your pooch.  BH Pet Gear has many varieties including Pawtech for the more rugged dogs to Jelly Wellies for shorter walks outside in urban areas.  Remember – once the snow has gone there’s often still chemicals on the roads and sidewalks to protect your pets from!
  3. Paw balms for cracked and dry feet. – After all the extra fur has been removed check your dog’s feet on a regular basis for dry or cracked paws. Use a dog specific paw balm if needed to soften those paws up to keep them comfortable.
  4. Use pet safe salt and de-icers. – There are pet safe de-icers available on the market. Use these products and ask your neighbors to do the same.  Once inside, even when wearing boots clean your dog’s paws with warm water and inspect for any irritation.

 These simple tips will help your dog’s paws be safe, warm, and healthy through the winter months!  If you notice any redness, ulceration, or deeply cracked paws please contact The Vet Set or your veterinarian immediately.

5 Tips To Keep Your City Kitty Happy

Top Five Ways to Keep Your City Kitty Happy!

As dictated by the cat that owns Taylor Truitt, DVM

 Your city kitty is indeed a lucky cat!  Since she can’t go outside she doesn’t have to worry about being attacked, contracting disease, and will most likely live a longer life.  But we do need to keep our city kitties happy by modifying their home environment so they don’t get bored.  Here’s the top 5 ways to keep your city kitty happy!

5) Cat Grass.  Cat grass is a special variety of grass you can grow indoors for your cat to munch on.  It can help control hairballs by helping them pass and provide some additional nutrients that aren’t apart of their carnivorous diet.  While the jury is still out on whether cat grass offers any health benefits, most cats really enjoy it, so let them have it! 4) High quality diet and quantity management.  City kitties are prone to gaining weight since they aren’t out prowling all day.  It’s important to put them on a set quantity of food daily based upon their activity levels.  Cats that are allowed to graze throughout the day end up overweight over time.  Cats have an easier time managing their weight when fed canned food. 3) Appropriate toys and exercise.  Cats are hunters by nature.  Hunting their toys is stimulating for them both mentally and physically.  Using the fishing pole toys, cat n14805-Tabby-cat-playing-with-a-feather-duster-white-backgroundip toys, or toys with feathers or fur are often kitty favorites, but there are so many – find some your cat enjoys!  And don’t forget to interact with your cat!  Movement is 50% of the fun! 2) Window hammocks and perches.  Cats love to watch the world go by!  Why not give them a fun and comfortable place in a window to catch a ray of sun or spy on the lowly citizens below.  Windows can be prime entertainment! 1) Cat trees.  Cat trees allow cats to climb, scratch, and get to a high perch in their environment.  Cats love to be up high.  By giving them their own territory they feel they have a safe spot to sleep, and lots of cat trees now have many levels allowcattreeing them to exercise and scratch in a place we all approve. Incorporate these simple tips into your cat’s home to create a happy home environment for you and your cat!  Of course, don’t be surprised when your cat is initially more interested in the box your new gifts came in than the gifts themselves.  Please contact The Vet Set for any questions you may have for your city kitty!

Degenerative Myelopathy - An ALS-Like Condition in Dogs

Did you know that dogs can get a condition similar to ALS in people? Dr. Eva recently contributed to an article on this devastating disease, called Degenerative Myelopathy. See below: Photo Credit: Jolanta Kozikowska

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