Written by Grace Park
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 11/05/2020, edited: 10/26/2022
Everyone wants a happy and healthy pet. Whether pet parenting is new to you or owning a dog or cat is old hat, giving them the best life possible is always the aim.
But sometimes, our pets can experience emotions like anxiety, fear, and stress. Humans aren’t the only ones to have a roller coaster emotional self.
Enriching your pet’s life with love and attention is important, and there are many steps you can take to ensure your feline or canine friend is feeling tip-top emotionally!
There are a few sure signs that your four-legger is feeling frazzled:
Vocalization, whether it be incessant barking or constant meowing, growling or anxious purring
Excessive grooming and licking
Not settling down for a rest
Going potty in the house instead of outside or in the litter box
Change in appetite, which could be eating less or more
Is the stress acute, meaning it came on suddenly? Or is your pet chronically stressed? Either way, any time that you see your furry best buddy is out of sorts, taking them to the veterinarian can give you peace of mind.
Being a doting dog or cat parent, you know your furry companion’s personality pretty well. But, seeing them stressed, and even anxious, can throw you for a loop. There are some simple steps you can take to relieve the upset your pooch or kitty is going through.
Let’s look at the top activities to do to relieve the stress your pet feels.
Taking your dog out for walks is an essential part of their well-being. No matter whether they are big or small, a brisk promenade is a great outlet for stress. When your dog sees the leash, it will surely put a bounce in their step and a wag in their tail!
As for your cat, have a basket of toys within their reach and make a point of playing with your cat at least once every day. Small balls to roll around, a pet-safe laser pointer to encourage your feline to jump, and even rolled up pieces of paper are ideal toys for cats. Leave the basket within Fluffy’s reach. Cats love to play in the middle of the night!
#2. Mental stimulation
Both cats and dogs need a mental workout just as much as a physical one. Sure, cats do love to sleep the day away, but when they are awake and roaming the house, make sure they have fun things to occupy their mind. Buy a “cat tree” to place in front of the window to allow them a view of the great outdoors. Watching the squirrels and birds play keeps your cat on guard, and gives their brain a workout.
Dogs thrive on activity. That’s why if being outside isn’t in the picture, a mentally stimulating toy should be. Interactive puzzle feeders are ideal for giving a dog’s noggin a workout. Buy a couple of puzzle toys to keep the variety factor in play, and when your pupster first tries a toy, assist them if they need help. Otherwise, they may give up and not try that specific toy again.
#3. Friends furever
Outings to the park are the icing on the cake for many dogs. Getting to run and play and be with friends is the highlight of many a tail-wagger’s day. Choose a park with more than one enclosure to ensure your dog’s comfort zone. They may love rambunctious and rowdy play or could prefer a quieter space in which to greet other dogs. A pooch involved in a team sport like flyball will mingle with other mutts and learn to socialize. Give it a try!
Cats who have dedicated friends they’ve been introduced to for play dates from a young age should do fine seeing the cats regularly. Introducing a new cat to your feline furball is not always an easy process and isn’t really feasible all of the time. The ideal solution? Adopt a second kitty to live right alongside yours for a playmate always at the ready.
#4. Healthy haven
Creating a safe and welcoming haven with your pet is something you can do together that keeps your cat or dog busy. The activity also takes their input into account. Of course, verbal acclimation isn’t always realistic, but keep in mind your pet’s favorite place and take steps to make it their own.
For a dog, a comfy bed just their size and an old piece of your clothing make a spot for rest. Your scent will calm your pooch and the bed gives them a place to retreat to when they want to be alone. Your cat will love a covered crate (or a cardboard box) with a cozy blanket inside. Throw in a few mini treats for the incentive to go inside.
#5. Stretchy fun
For agile pups, it’s all about doga. Your woofer will want to do doga daily once they’ve had a session! With stretching moves like the Downward Dog and the Woofer Wheelbarrow, your pooch will be feeling zen in no time—and you will, too!
Yoga for cats? It’s a trending pastime to have your cats purring and pawing their way through your cat-cow. Afterward, give your participating kitty a massage that will keep them coming back for more!
#6. Movie time
Who doesn’t love a good movie night? Whether it’s the time to snuggle with your feline friend or your canine kid, an evening in front of the television is the ideal time for bonding.
You’ll get closer to your pet physically, but can also pass along a calming vibe while watching a show. Stroke your pet and talk softly, letting them know they can release any stress they are feeling, and you will take care of it.
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