Help With Pet Anxiety - The Pet Van
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Help With Pet Anxiety

Can dogs get anxiety and how do you manage it?

The answer is yes. They absolutely can.

Anxiety in dogs is common and can be attributed to countless psychological, physical and environmental factors, manifesting itself through various signs and symptoms which can ultimately result in destructive behaviours. The most common forms of canine anxiety are typically born through separation, fear, and ageing:

  • Separation Anxiety – Separation is the most common form of anxiety in dogs, affecting an estimated 1.8 million dogs in the UK, according to research from the Dogs Trust. As social animals, separation anxiety is caused when dogs become extremely anxious and distressed when they’re away from their owner.
  • Fear-related Anxiety – Like humans, dogs can develop fears and anxiety relating to specific noises, visual stimuli, and/or situations. Common examples include loud noises, fireworks, strangers, other dogs, and even the dreaded car ride to the vets.
  • Age-related Anxiety – It’s also worth noting that older dogs can develop anxiety, largely caused by pain associated with joint problems like arthritis, or neurological diseases, which can affect the nervous system. Like with separation and fear-related anxiety, this can trigger a number of physical symptoms and serious behavioural issues.

Treating canine anxiety

The source of anxiety will ultimately dictate the best treatment, so the initial diagnosis is crucial. For example, playing calming music may help a dog with separation anxiety, but would have very little effect on a dog suffering with a fear of crowded places. As such, a trip to the veterinarian is a great place to start, who will also be able to rule out any other medical conditions which could be contributing to the dog’s symptoms.

Your vet will determine a treatment plan, typically involving a combination of the below tactics:

  • Calming actions (depending on the source of anxiety, this could include human contact, massage, exercise, providing additional stimuli, etc.)
  • Natural remedies, aimed at relaxing your pet
  • Behavioural training and counter-conditioning, often provided by dog training specialists who aim to change the canine’s reaction to the source of the anxiety
  • And in extreme cases, prescribed dog anxiety medications

Whilst it is hard to predict if your dog will develop anxiety, there are a number of ways to help your new pet avoid anxiety-related problems including; socialising with other dogs, regular exercise, stimulation, and obedience training. Also, avoiding potentially stressful situations (e.g. leaving your pet alone for extended periods of time) can reduce the likelihood of your pet developing anxiety issues in the future.

What are the signs of canine anxiety?

So, how can you tell if your dog has anxiety? As there are various dog stress symptoms, many of which are slight variations or extremes of normal canine behaviour, diagnosis can be difficult.

However, some common signs to look out for include:

  • Constant barking and/or howling
  • Excessive licking or grooming
  • Escape behaviours
  • Aggressive chewing, scratching and the destruction of furniture
  • House training accidents
  • Irritability
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Trembling

Whilst stressful, the good news is that for every stressed dog there is medical and psychological help available through veterinarians and specialists.

How To Keep Your Cat Safe Through The Colder Months

When the temperature begins to drop, and the scarves, hats, and gloves make their way out of hiding, you might be left wondering what all this could mean for your cat. Will they be safe dipping a paw out into the freezing weather?

Keep your cat inside

If your cat enjoys the pleasures of the outside world, it’s crucial to keep an eye on them. Particularly if there’s no strict household rule on their night-time sleeping habits. If your cat is partial to spending the evenings outside, make sure they have easy access to come inside, or better still, lock that cat flap, seal up those windows and keep them inside overnight.

Outdoor cats can freeze to death overnight, especially if it becomes very cold, very quickly. Just remember that if you feel as though it’s too cold, your cat probably feels this way too.

Get them checked out

As the weather gets cold, it’s crucial that your cat is prepared for what’s ahead. In this case, it could be worth taking your cat to the vets for a check-up. This way, your vet should be able to check out your furry companion to make sure they don’t have any medical problems that will make her vulnerable to the cold.

Wash and dry their paws

When your cats comes in from their daily activities, grab a towel and give their paws a quick wipe. The drier they are, the less likely they are to feel the cold and develop an illness. If they have particularly muddy paws. Consider giving them a quick wash with a wet paper towel before drying them off.

Check hidden areas

Ever seen your cat rolling their fur all around that one sunny area outside? That’s because your cat loves to bask in the warmth of that cosy little spot. When inside, a cosy fireplace, a warm human bed or little nook on your sofa are all firm favourite spots, but when Fluffy heads outside in winter? They seek the warmest spot available.

This often means they’ll hide out under the bonnet of a car or perch themselves on the tops of your car tyres. Some cats will also sneak into sheds, garages or smaller areas to try and feel the heat. So, make sure to gently bang the sides of your car and check nearby hideouts to ensure they don’t get trapped inside.

Keep an eye on the ice

Anti-freeze and water coolant can leak from cars without people even noticing. This can look like a harmless puddle to your feline friend but sadly, this can be fatal if ingested by your cat. To help, keep your antifreeze clearly labelled, check for any spills to yours or neighbouring vehicles, and clear up any spills as soon as possible.

Keep them well covered

Dogs are known for sporting fleecy coats and jackets when out for their wintery walks, but there’s no harm in doing the same for your cat. Many people think that because they naturally come covered in fur, cats don’t really feel the cold. But they’re still at risk in the colder months.

If they love the outside and aren’t inclined to rip off said cover-up, consider sending them on their outside jaunt with a jumper or jacket or cover them with a blanket if your house is particularly cold. Personalise your pet and not with a trip to the hairdressers. When the weather turns arctic, cats are much more likely to become confused, and this can lead to them getting lost. In this case, make sure your cat has been microchipped and if you think they’ll keep it on, consider investing in a cat collar, complete with a tag with their name and your contact details.

How to Care for Outdoor Rabbits

If you have made the choice to let little Flopsie enjoy the quiet of the garden, then you will need to know how to keep her safe and healthy. There is much more to looking after an outdoor rabbit than frolicking around in the grass, thumping and being the apple of your eye.

Here is what you need to know about caring for outdoor rabbits:

Keep an Eye on the Weather

A life in the great outdoors can be hindered by what’s happening in the sky. Bunnies are at risk of overheating in the summer, so ensuring there is plenty of shade and providing plenty of water is essential.

In the winter, keep rabbits out of storms or the snow and if the conditions are severe, take Flopsie inside.

Always make sure that your hutch is weatherproof and will repel that pesky rain.

Find the Best Bunny Home

Small hutches will limit a bunny’s quality of life. Make sure to get a hutch, or build one yourself, with plenty of room and private space for Flopsie to enjoy. Extra security and good quality straw bedding will minimise the risk of waking up to an unhappy bunny.

Check the Hutch Daily

Damp, mites, droppings, excess food and general dirt can prove a health risk to rabbits −no-one wants to live in those kinds of conditions! Check the hutch every day to remove any health risks and replace the water and food. Flopsie will be forever grateful for the fresh digs.

Make Sure the Run is Roomy

Rabbits like to hop, jump and stretch. They have more energy than a toddler! Therefore, it’s really important to make sure flighty Flopsie has plenty of room to really enjoy the outdoors and the sun in a completely safe way. Build your own run, or invest in a pre-built solution – either way, Flopsie will be one happy bunny.

Set Aside Bunny Time Every Day

Bunnies love company, which is why it is always suggested that you have more than one. Their social nature means they need that extra bit of love to keep them going, so make sure to head outside to give them a cuddle every day.

Predator Proof the Garden

Predators can be lurking at any time of the day. When keeping a rabbit outside, you need to take extra measures to ensure that you don’t lose your fur baby to a hungry lurker. It’s worth noting that rabbits can quite literally be scared to death, so keep them safe in the hutch and the predators out of sight.

Loud and surprising noises like fireworks are just as dangerous to Flopsie as it is to Mittens from next door, so consider taking your bunny inside on those occasions.

How dog toys can help with common dog behaviour issues?

We stock a whole host of different dog toys that not only keep your pups busy for hours. But, these toys can also help with common dog behaviour issues such as boredom, chewing, separation anxiety, and destructive behaviours. In our latest blog post, we’re looking at some of our tops picks as we educate you on which toys you should be using to combat particular behaviour issues that your beloved dog might be experiencing.

Types of Dog Toys

Soft toys: great for reassurance for nervous dogs

Did you use to have a teddy bear when you were younger? Maybe you still have one now. Just like us humans, dogs could use a little reassurance from time to time also, whether it’s whilst they’re chilling on the sofa of an evening or a little pal to sleep with. How about treating your canine companion to our kong shells turtle or plush teddy bear? We have plenty of options so we’re confident you will find your dog’s new best friend, minus the huge price tag!

Chew toys: good for combatting teething and chewing issues. Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs, but after time, chewing can become a problem behaviour issue that needs to be nipped in the bud before your dog goes on to destroy everything and anything in your house. Like most common dog behaviour issues, prevention is key. Start by offering your pup a selection of chew toys from the offset, from the stage they are teething right through to adulthood, it’s super important for your dog’s health and jaw strength. We have a whole range of chew toys on offer here at The Pet Van, be sure to read the descriptions to find out which toys are best suited to your canine. In
case you didn’t know, certain dogs chew differently, you can read about it on our blog post here.

Tug toys: if your dog loves these, you can use them for recall training. Tug toys can keep your pup entertained for hours on end whilst providing a fantastic tool for recall training. We stock an extensive range of tug toys in various sizes and styles suited to many breeds of dogs. Whether your dog is best suited to a cotton toy, rubber or even tennis ball style, you will find a suitable option. Tug toys are great when it comes to bonding with your dog, training and keeping them active.

No matter if your dog is old, young, big or small, one thing is for sure, they will love to play with toys. Playing games with your dogs can have a significant effect on their behaviour, your relationship and make training much easier, as well as making your beloved dog a whole lot happier.

Top tip: If you are teaching your dog to play with a particular toy as part of a behaviour treatment, allow up to 8 weeks for your plan to become effective and ensure you are choosing the right toy to combat the issue in hand.

Is lovejoys food good for my cat or dog?

Well they take great care to ensure that everything that goes into our dog and cat food is paramount to your pet’s well being. The best for your pet. Healthy development. All Lovejoys® food includes Seaweed Oil which supports a healthy brain, vision and nervous system. Hypoallergenic. Contains no added wheat, wheat gluten, dairy, pork, beef or soya. Delicious and nutritious.