(StatePoint) Just as you can become tense and stressed out by your daily life, so too can your dog or cat. And pet anxiety is not only unpleasant for your pet and potentially damaging to your home and belongings; it can also lead to a host of other health and wellness problems.
With some simple lifestyle tweaks however, you can make scratching, digging, clawing, whining and crying a thing of the past. Here are some tips to reduce your dog or cat’s anxiety and make their life, and yours, a bit more comfortable:
Keep Pets Active
“Often, the source of a pet’s anxiety is lack of activity,” says Brian Atkinson, Director of Pet Training at Invisible Fence Brand. “Whether you have a dog or cat, regular exercise is crucial for a happy, anxiety-free pet.”
Be sure to give pets plenty of opportunities for outdoor exercise. Play games with your cat or dog that are both mentally and physically stimulating.
Grant More Freedom
If you’re like many pet owners, your schedule means leaving your dog or cat alone for long stretches of time. Granting safe access to your yard while you’re busy can alleviate this burden. Consider installing a pet door combined with a pet containment system.
“With proper training, dogs and cats can safely learn to understand and respect the boundaries of the yard,” says Atkinson.
Highly recommended by veterinarians, professional dog trainers, behaviorists and other pet experts, a pet door can reduce accidents inside the home, increase exercise, stimulate a pet’s senses and provide a change of scenery.
Opt for a programmable electronic pet door that’s customizable. For instance, the Invisible Fence Brand Doorman, which is completely secure against unwanted visitors with an automatic locking device, allows you to set different schedules, boundaries and rules for each pet. More information about such devices is available at www.invisiblefence.com.
Make Separation Easier
If your pet cries or misbehaves when you leave the house, you may need to take steps to reduce his or her separation anxiety. Desensitize your pet to anxiety-inducing pre-departure cues like putting your shoes on or packing your bag, by regularly doing these actions and staying put.
When you do leave, keep the radio on to keep your pet company throughout the day. Keep your absences short initially, gradually building up the length of time you’re away. And try to avoid making grand entrances and exits. The act of leaving and returning home should be as much of a non-event as possible.
Maintain their Space
Be sure to regularly clean litter boxes and keep your pet well-hydrated. Automatic litter systems, pet feeders and drinking fountains can help you maintain your pet’s living conditions, even when you aren’t there to do it yourself.
Don’t ignore your pet’s anxiety. A few household changes can take the stress out of being a pet, giving you peace of mind that your furry friend is happy and healthy.