Any pet, of any age, can get heart disease. Similarly, they can suffer mental ‘heart health’? Like a lot of humans, pets such as dogs, cats and horses are very anxious beings. A lot of unwanted behaviours of your pets, can be due to an underlying anxiety. Depending on the trigger of the anxiety there can be some simple ways to help reduce the heart ache for your pet when it comes to anxiety, fear and phobias.
- Reduce expose to the trigger – pin point the trigger and where possible avoid it, or find an alternative to it.
- Play/exercise – physical activities like a walk, game with a favourite toy or chase are great stress reducers.
- Provide mental stimulation – Provide food based toys or do some training to keep your pet’s mind focused away from the trigger.
- Create a safe zone – Provide a safe place in your home or item, for your pet to escape high-stress events (a crate, quite room, favourite toy/blanket).
- Calm background noise – Playing calm music or leaving the TV or radio on, can help provide comfort and promote relaxation for your pet.
- Choose a high quality food - Your pet’s diet is an integral part of his health and wellbeing. Providing your pet with a diet that is not properly balanced for his or her life stage and lifestyle may cause unforeseen repercussions that may lead to anxiety and stress.
- Remain calm yourself – If your pet becomes stressed or anxious, remain calm. Pets pick up on your emotions. If you become upset or stressed, your pet will continue that behaviour.
- Seek assistance from a trainer or behaviourist - about desensitising your pet to the trigger of their stress.
- Be with your pet - If possible be with your pet and hold him/her until the high-stress event has passed (i.e. thunderstorm). Your presence is a great reassurance.