Pets, like people, get stressed too. Picture: Karolina Grabowska Pexels
Pets, like people, get stressed too. Picture: Karolina Grabowska Pexels

3 ways to help your fur kids with stress

By Vuyolwethu Fundam Time of article published May 21, 2021

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Pets can stress for a variety of reasons, including being in an unfamiliar environment, separation anxiety, or a lack of socialising.

According to experts, long-term stress can lead to full-blown anxiety and behavioural issues.

"Pets are social beings by nature. When that is taken away from them, it may result in behavioural issues, such as your pet becoming destructive, among other things," says Allan Perrins, of the Animal Welfare Society of SA.

As a pet parent, it's important to recognise the warning signs early on, so you can take swift action.

Signs that your dog is stressed

Anxious or tense dogs may whine or bark to get your attention.

Dogs, like people, pace when they're nervous. Even though it's natural for them to shake after a bath, it's important to pay attention when they're in a stressful situation.

Also, if your dog tucks their tail, it might be experiencing stress.

Pay attention to their eyes and ears as well. According to experts, the eyes will be wide, and the ears, which are normally alert, will be pinned back against the head.

How to ease their stress?

Engage your furry kids

Play with them using interactive toys. For dogs, you can use toys like balls, launchers and rings. For cats, it could be laser pointers or feather wands.

Conditioning training

Slowly increase the amount of time you're out of the house to help with separation anxiety. Begin with 30 minutes, then one hour, two hours, and so forth.

Calming pheromones

These can be found at your local pet shop or vet. From home pheromone diffusers to calming collars, calming sprays to chews, there are plenty of options.

Even though all of these approaches can be done at home, experts recommend enlisting the assistance of a professional early on in the process.

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