How to spot signs of stress
You know your pet better than anybody and will often notice changes in behaviour in traumatic situations. Some of the most common events which pets find stressful are:
- Moving house.
- Sudden noise, eg fireworks, thunder.
- New members to the household, eg another pet, a baby.
- Multi-cat households.
- Kennel or cattery visit.
- Another cat moving into the territory.
During the firework season, many pets become stressed and fearful and the symptoms to look out for, in any stressful situation, include:
- Trembling and shaking.
- Clinging to owners.
- Cowering and hiding behind furniture.
- Barking or meowing excessively.
- Trying to run away.
- Soiling the house.
- Refusing to eat.
- Pacing and panting.
- Habits such as excessive licking or grooming.
Your vet will be able to assess your pet and advise on suitable treatment and/or ways in which you can help to reduce the stress.
Products to help relieve stress
There is another aid to help dogs in the form of a plug-in device, very similar to the plug-in air fresheners. When plugged in, the device warms up and gives off a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP). This is the same pheromone as that produced by a bitch after whelping which helps to reassure her puppies. The DAP has no sedative effect and cannot be detected by humans.
A similar diffuser – Feliway – is also available for cats. The DAP and Feliway diffusers can be purchased from your vet.
Zylkene is a novel product proven to help manage stress in common situations in dogs and cats. It can also help your pet adapt to change. Zylkene is natural, palatable and easy to give with food, and only needs to be given once daily. You will need to ask your vet is Zylkene can help your vet manage firework stress, short or long term. It may also be used to aid behaviour therapy such as noise desensitisation.