20% of Pet Owners¹ in the New Tomlyn® Pet Health Survey* Report that Their Dogs and Cats Experience Anxiety When They Left The House; Vet Expert Discusses Common Triggers, Stress Signs and Solutions for Pet Owners
FORT WORTH, Texas, April 29, 2016 – Excessive panting in the car or cowering when new guests arrive are just some of the signs of pet anxiety. "Pet owners often think anxiety only manifests itself as trembling or ‘tail between the legs,’ but a pet may be sending stress signals in other ways, and there’s things that be done about it,” says Dr. Jim Lowe, technical services veterinarian for Tomlyn pet health products (https://tomlyn.com).
Excessive shedding, pinned ears, continual yawning, nose licking and avoidance are some other signs. “Dogs and cats rescued from shelters can be fearful from previous trauma or neglect,” Lowe explains. “But even animals adopted through breeders or friends can develop high-stress personalities depending on the situation.”
What can set off pet stress? Dr. Lowe summarizes some common situations:
- Separation: If your pet appears depressed or anxious before you leave, begins to pace, urinates/defecates when left alone even for short periods, reportedly barks or meows excessively while you are gone, or causes any type of destruction while you are away from home, separation anxiety could be the root cause. “This can occur during the workday or even when part of your family leaves, such as when kids go back to school at the end of summer – our pets get used to us being around and some stress out when we aren’t,” explains Dr. Lowe.
- Traveling: Pets can display travel anxiety even before the trip begins. You may notice him panting, pacing, shaking, acting hyper aroused, barking/meowing excessively, salivating, vomiting and possibly urinating while you are making preparations to leave – sometimes even packing a bag can be a trigger. “We think dogs love to stick their heads out the car window and take in the rush of wind, but there are many dogs that are very anxious to be on the go,” says Dr. Lowe. “They may even yawn repetitively as a sign of anxiety.”
- Noise: Fireworks and other loud noises such as construction work, music and thunder can cause extreme anxiety in our domestic pets. During these situations you may notice your pet trembling, whimpering, panting, constantly seeking your attention or protection, or attempting to run away/escape from the noise by hiding under furniture, in dark rooms, etc. “This is probably the most common stress-factor in our pets, and it’s often one we can’t control,” adds Dr. Lowe. “Loud thunder or jack hammers outside your apartment building may come no matter what we do.”
- Meeting New People: While you know that the stranger is trying to be friendly – adult or child – your pet may not see it that way. According to the Tomlyn Pet Health survey, one in four pets is nervous or antsy around new people. “When a stranger walks up to him, the stress may be obvious if your pet attempts to back away, growls/hisses, barks/meows excessively or tries to snap, bite or scratch, but there are other less obvious signs like pinned ears or lowering their stance that means they are anxious,” explains Dr. Lowe.
Dr. Lowe advises that the best way to reduce anxiety in our pets, particularly in the things we can control – like separation or meeting strangers – is to gradually expose your pet to these changes, conditioning them to cope with each in time. Avoidance of the situation just perpetuates the issue. For loud noises that are unavoidable – like thunder or fireworks on 4th of July – try to bring your pet to a quieter place, such as an interior room, or to play soft music as a distraction.
In addition to behavioral conditioning, consider using a calming supplement like Tomlyn® Relax & Calm Chews for cats or dogs. Specifically formulated with L-Tryptophan, chamomile and ginger, Tomlyn Relax & Calm Chews support balanced behavior, relaxation and reduced hyperactivity in large to small dogs and cats.
“Adding a supplement such as Tomlyn® Relax & Calm Chews can be incredibly helpful when transitioning your pets to feel less anxious in these situations,” summarizes Dr. Lowe. “Its natural ingredients help your pet to feel relaxed as you continue to gradually expose your pet to the environments that can cause anxiety and distress.”
For more information, visit www.Tomlyn.com.
Tomlyn®, a pet health and wellness company founded in 1976, carries a complete line of scientifically developed, veterinarian-approved pet health products. The company’s wide range of product categories range from immune support, vitamins and supplements and hairball remedies, to joint and hip support, calming aids and sanitizers. Known as the maker of Nutri-Cal® and Laxatone®, Tomlyn is owned by the ninth-largest veterinary pharmaceutical company in the world.
¹ Pet owners – In the survey, pet owners are defined as adults who currently have a pet cat or dog or had one within the past 5 years
*This survey was conducted online within the United States from March 8-10, 2016 among 2,015 adults ages 18 and older, among which 1,339 are pet owners who currently have a pet cat or dog or who had one within the past 5 years. by Harris Poll on behalf of Tomlyn via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.