A pet that is fearfulness or stress because of the anticipation of unfortunate events. Both cats and dogs can experience anxiety, in which they feel uncomfortable for some reason. When an anxiety is caused by a specific stimulus or situation, it can lead to a phobia. Anxiety can be caused by a bad experience with a stimulus, or by an illness or painful physical condition. Some pets experience separation anxiety, in which they are afraid of being separated from their owner. Behavior training may help your pet overcome its anxiety.
How to Recognize
Just like their human counterparts, dogs and cats can suffer from anxiety. The signs can manifest in a number of presentations, and various stress triggers and conditions can bring out anxiety in dogs and cats. Addressing the signs of anxiety in cats and dogs to a veterinarian is the first step in seeking out the help that they need to reduce anxiety and live out their lives in contentment. The signs of anxiety in dogs and anxiety in cats both include changes in behavior. You may notice a decrease in appetite, lethargy or a lack of interest in activities that once excited him. The following additional signs may be indicative of dog anxiety: Urinating or defecating in the home, Destructive behavior, Persistent pacing, Excessive barking, howling, crying or yelping, Excessive panting or drooling, and Constant repetitive actions, such as licking himself, chasing his tail, attacking shadows or reflections or digging inside the home. The following signs may accompany the anxiety cat: Persistent meowing, Compulsive grooming, Sucking on wool, certain fabrics or people, Pacing, Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box, and Hiding.
Anxiety in dogs and cats is often the result of stress. One stressful situation includes feelings of abandonment when an owner leaves the pet home while he or she goes out. Other stress triggers include changes in environment, such as a move to a new home, the addition of a new baby or another person or pet into the household, the death of a beloved family member or the death of another pet with whom the dog or cat was closely bonded. Changes in the pet's routine can also incite stress. Some anxiety cats that live strictly indoors may feel stressed from confinement. Dog anxiety and anxiety in cats can also lead to an increase in the behavioral signs when the behavior is reinforced. This may occur when an owner offers a rewarding bribe, such as food, in an attempt to quell the behavior. The release of pleasure endorphins when the pet is engaged in some of these behaviors can also encourage him to continue. Many dogs develop anxiety as a result of phobias. Some common phobias include thunderstorms and fireworks. An anxiety cat that suffers from compulsive disorder may be genetically predisposed to the behaviors. Siamese cats and other Asian breeds have a higher incidence of compulsive disorder than other breeds.
The first step in evaluating the signs of anxiety is for the veterinarian to discuss the pet's history. In addition to medical history, which will take into consideration the pet's age, medical conditions and medications, the veterinarian will want to discuss the pet's home environment, recent changes in the pet's family and routine and any other possible triggers that led to the anxiety. He will also run a complete blood panel and blood cell count to rule out any underlying illnesses. If the pet is grooming excessively, the veterinarian may take skin scrapings to rule out a skin condition.
Many of the aforementioned signs of anxiety can also present as symptoms of numerous metabolic conditions, diseases of the brain, senility and certain blood disorders. When presenting your pet to a veterinarian for these signs, he may need to perform additional diagnostic tests to rule out these conditions in order to prescribe the best treatment protocol. Additional tests may include specific blood tests, a urinalysis and a diagnostic image of the pet's brain.
The following are some potential dog anxiety and anxiety cat conditions that may be diagnosed: Separation anxiety and Compulsive disorder.
Treatment plans for anxiety in pets are drawn up individually for each patient according to the stress triggers, the intensity of the behavior and the pet's responses. Treatment may include behavior modification and drug therapy. In some instances, your veterinarian may refer your pet to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist to ensure the best outcome.