My childhood dog, Chelsea, used to be so afraid of thunder and lightning that she’d find spaces to hide which were MUCH to small for her. I’ll never forget seeing the front part of her body sticking out of our tiny hamper closet during one particularly bad storm. Cassidy’s elderly Husky, Stormy, once got so scared during July 4th fireworks in San Francisco, that she ate part of my shoes! We never did find that shoe part, and not even in the yard or after we packed up the apartment to move east.
I once fostered a kitten who scratched my jeans to shreds, luckily when I WASN’T wearing them. The thing is, pets often need a little help with stress, or more importantly – de-stressing, and that’s where we come in. Sadly, we can’t always change our lifestyles. We work hard to create a peaceful and harmonious home for our dog, cat, and even 11 chickens (seriously – their chicken coop is impenetrable), but life happens. The chickens survived the harsh winter, but no one expected it to last into the spring! Seriously, we got snow yesterday. Snow. And while we work hard to give Athena (dog) and Juniper (cat) safe places to live, life just happens. We renovate. We celebrate loudly. And we travel quite a bit.
That’s why we celebrate De-stress your Pet Month right now! This is the perfect time for pet owners to reduce fear and anxiety in their pets, and to improve health and wellbeing. Here are 10 tips to celebrate De-stress Your Pet Month:
1 – Provide basic essentials to your pets, such as individual food and water bowls, as well as separate spaces to eat and drink for EVERY pet you have. We actually have our spaces for our two indoor pets on separate floors of the house.
2 – Provide a good diet for your pets, based on their ages, activity levels, and formulations designed for digestive issues, food allergies, etc.
3 – Give your pets a comfy bed or kennel in a quiet part of the house, where they can relax and take space when needed.
4 – Your pets need exercise to burn off excess energy and tap into their instinctive urges.
5 – When possible, play Classical music or soothing TV or radio in the house so that your pet feels less lonely. This can also help to mask scary sounds coming from outside – like planes, trains, loud engines, and thunderstorms.
6 – Apparently, dogs and cats are terrible multi-taskers! Provide toys and food puzzles to keep them busy. When they are focused and working out a challenge – for food or a treat – they won’t be as stressed out by other factors.
7 – Have a scratching post for every cat you have. We only have one cat, but we have two scratching posts.
8 – If you notice any behavior changes, it never hurts to schedule a veterinary appointment to help rule out medical conditions causing the behavior, or contributing to high stress levels. This helps with peace of mind.
9 – Try FELIWAY® for cats. FELIWAY® CLASSIC mimics the natural feline facial pheromone used to mark their territory as safe and secure, and this helps cats to cope with challenging situations, such as moving and traveling. We love it here because it creates a state of familiarity and security, which helps to comfort and reassure Juniper as she copes with challenging situations. FELIWAY® CLASSIC may lead to the reduction or elimination of unwanted stress-related behaviors, such as hiding, scratching, or urine spraying. It’s non-sedating and has no contraindications to use with any other treatments or conditions.
FELIWAY® products are clinically proven to help reduce urine spraying in 9 out of 10 cats within 1 month, and it helps reduce scratching in 8 out of 10 cats, in as little as 7 days. FELIWAY® also helps cats adjust to new surroundings after moving or while traveling. How do you apply it? FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray can be applied to your cat’s bedding or favorite toy to reduce stress at home. We also use FELIWAY® Diffusers in our house. FELIWAY® is available at these authorized online retailers: Amazon, EntirelyPets.com and HealthyPets, Inc. You can also find a FELIWAY® veterinarian near you here.
10 – Try ADAPTIL® for dogs. This is a copy of the natural canine-appeasing pheromone that dogs know from birth, and it helps them feel more safe and secure in their surroundings. ADAPTIL® helps to comfort and reassure dogs while they cope with challenging situations, and helps to reduce and eliminate unwanted stress behaviors. We love that ADAPTIL® creates a state of familiarity and security for Athena, when we travel to Cape Cod, visit the vet, or hear loud noises. It’s also non-sedating and has no contraindications to use with any other treatments or conditions. ADAPTIL® comes in several easy-to-use forms, like ADAPTIL® Travel Spray to apply to your dog’s bedding or toys and ADAPTIL® Calm On-the-go Collar for traveling.