The festive season is well underway, but with Christmas and New Year just around the corner, what does this mean for your pet? Are they as happy and excited as you are? Or are they displaying anxious behaviour?
MedicAnimal, the UK’s leading online pet retail and healthcare company, has put together some useful information to help pet owners recognise and relieve the signs of anxiety displayed by their animals. With festivities ramping up as Christmas draws nearer, the chaos at this time of year can have knock-on effects for your pet.
Pets can’t speak to tell you when something is wrong, so it is up to you to be observant! But spotting anxious behaviour can be tricky. More often than not, the signs of anxiety in your pet will be subtle clues. Generally, pets will display one of the following:
Actions such as a tail between the legs or pinned back ears and panting are symbolic of classic anxiety in animals and are relatively easy to spot.
This is trickier to recognise. Displacement behaviour tends to be exhibited when your pet would rather be doing something else, like leaving the room, but is suppressing the urge. Actions such as licking their chops when no food is present, sudden biting or nibbling at a body part, or yawning when they are not tired are a few examples of this type of anxiety. These are basically normal behaviours that are carried out within the wrong contexts.
It does what it says on the tin. When your pet is leaving the area, turning their head away, or hiding behind objects, they are trying to tell you not to hurt them. Similar avoidance behaviours can be seen in actions such as barking whilst backing away and even rolling onto their backs.
Andrew Bucher, co-founder of MedicAnimal and Chief Veterinary Officer, commented: “It is really important to make sure you pay attention to your pet this festive season. If you spot any signs of anxiety or anything similar, you should first consult your vet to ensure there is no underlying medical condition that could explain the way they are acting.
If your pet gets the all-clear, then you could look into non-medical products to de-stress your pet. There are a number of suitable natural remedies and pheromones on the market such as Zylkene, Feliway, Adaptil, and ThunderShirts, but remember these take time to become effective! Buy in advance and let them do their thing. It can also help to create a ‘safe place’ for your pet. This could be in the form of a crate, a mat, or even a separate room where your pet can go; do not disturb them when they are in their safe zone!”
So bring on the festivities, the parties, and the decorations. But don’t forget your four-legged friend!