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Combating Pet Stress

Combating Pet Stress

Dogs and Cats experience stress in a variety of ways. Trips to the veterinarian, being bathed, receiving medications, new pets or people in the home, and rearranging your furniture are common sources of stress. Stress and anxiety can often lead to behavior problems in our pets. Stressed felines may have litter box issues or may begin fighting with other pets. Anxious dogs may become destructive, try to escape, start digging, or pant, whine and pace.

If you are experiencing any unusual behaviors in your pet, consider if there may be any new anxiety causing situation in your home. Next, consult with your veterinarian to be sure that bad litter box behavior is not a sign of a physical problem. Once you’ve ruled out any physical problems, behavior modification might be worth looking into. Some behavior modification involves prescription medication while others involve over-the-counter products that produce a calming effect.

Natural Pheromone Products

Pheromones are used in a variety of applications to influence animal emotions and behaviors. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemicals in an animal's system that are used for communication. Comfort Zone makes a pheromone product that can help reduce anxiety in cats. Also called Feliway the product comes in two versions: a spray and a diffuser. The diffuser typically covers 500-650 square feet and is useful for prolonged exposure to stressors. The active ingredient in Feliway is a synthetic version of the pheromone cats leave behind when they rub their cheeks on objects to mark territory. Cheek marking is an activity that indicates that a cat is happy and comfortable in his environment. Many multiple cat owners have reported significant reductions in cat anxiety once they started to use Feliway on a regular basis.

A similar product for dogs is the Comfort Zone Adaptil diffuser which includes a dog-appeasing pheromone. It has been found to be useful in helping dogs with fears or phobias, excessive barking, and separation anxiety as a result of stress. The active ingredient in Comfort Zone’s Adaptil is a synthetic version of the pheromone produced by nursing female dogs.

Like humans, dogs and cats may respond differently to treatments, so you will need to experiment to see what works best for your pet. Natural pheremones help animals feel more secure and in control of their surroundings.