On Tuesday, we learned about the signs and causes of anxiety in pets. Today, we will focus on treatment methods of anxiety in pets, to reduce the chances that a pet will be relinquished or euthanized due to anxiety-related behavioral problems.
The top reasons for pet relinquishment are:
- house soiling
- destruction of property
Dogs and cats can exhibit the behaviors listed above in response to a real or perceived threat. A real threat incites fear, whereas a perceived threat causes anxiety in pets.
Treatment of anxiety in pets is often a 3-part process:
Avoidance of fear object + behavioral modification and conditioning + anxiolytics
Anxiolytics are medications or supplements used to treat anxiety. They can be synthetic pheromones, pharmaceuticals, or nutritional supplements.
Synthetic pheromones (such as D.A.P. for dogs and Feliway for cats) mimic chemical secretions that animals produce as a way of communicating to themselves and others of their species.
Cats secrete calming pheromones from glands in their face. (By contrast, the pheromones secreted during urine spraying incite aggressive, territorial behavior.)
Dog-calming synthetic pheromones mimic pheromones found in bitches’ milk.
Pharmaceuticals (drugs) target chemicals within the brain to achieve their proper balance, which helps provide mood stability. Unfortunately, drugs can have side effects; also, most anti-anxiety drugs are labeled for human use. Although these medicines have been safely used in pets, they are not pet-specific.
Nutritional supplements use natural ingredients to achieve proper balance in brain chemicals. They do not have the side effects found in pharmaceuticals, and they are prepared and labeled specifically for pets. Zylkene and Solliquin are two pet-specific nutritional supplements used to treat anxiety in pets.
Pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements are available through your pet’s veterinarian.
Coming up in Understanding Anxiety in Pets, Part 3: a closer look at Zylkene and Solliquin and how they work to treat anxiety in pets.
If you suspect that your pet is showing signs of anxiety, Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, so we can schedule an appointment to discuss your pet’s behavior today.