Stress Relief for Pets

Gray kitten with a pink flower.

Stress isn't just a problem for humans; your pet can experience the negative effects too. Illness, changes in the usual routine or the death of another pet can lead to an increase in your pet's anxiety level. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your furry friend relax.

Signs of Stress

Your pet may not be able to tell you that it feels stressed, but you will probably notice some behavioral changes, including:

  • Bathroom accidents, particularly if your pet has been successfully house or litter trained
  • Excessive grooming, licking or scratching
  • Irritability
  • Chewing walls, couches or other items in your home (dogs)
  • Scratching furniture, doors and walls (cats)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Hiding (cats)

Identifying the Cause

In some cases, the cause of your pet's stress is obvious. Perhaps you got a new puppy or kitten, and your pet is having trouble adjusting to the new addition. In other cases, the cause might be less obvious. Something that you view as a minor event, such as rearranging furniture, can be stressful for some animals. Other potential causes of stress are:

  • Travel
  • Moving to a new home
  • Holiday celebrations, which may include scary Halloween costumes, 4th of July fireworks or loud parties
  • The death of a person or pet
  • The addition of a new person to the home
  • Being left at home alone
  • Changes in the usual family routine
  • The absence of a family member
  • Car trips
  • Visits to the veterinarian or groomer

Reducing Stress

Once you have identified the stressor, you can make changes to help your pet feel more relaxed. For example, the start of a new school year obviously means that your family must make changes to its normal routine. If you notice that your cat or dog seems to be stressed by the flurry of early morning activity in your home, offer a quiet refuge far from the chaos. Provide a crate with several toys for your dog or put your cat in a quiet room with a few favorite things.

Your dog may become stressed about riding in the car if he only associates car trips with visits to the vet. Take him on a few short trips to a place he enjoys, such as a local park, and provide treats at the end of the trip. Turning a car ride into a pleasant experience means that short and long trips will be more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Treatments That Can Help

A variety of treatments may help reduce your pet's stress level, including:

  • Pheromone-based sprays, collars and diffusers. Pheromones are scents animals produce to communicate with each other. Pheromone products mimic scents that help calm your pets.
  • Herbal products. Some pets react well to herbal products; others do not experience any decrease in stress levels. Catnip and valerian may be helpful in relaxing your cat while oat seed or California poppy might help your dog.
  • Natural supplements. Your pet may experience less stress after taking supplements containing vitamin B1, colostrum and L-theanine. Before you give your pet any herbal or natural product, check with your veterinarian to make sure it is safe.
  • Massage. Many pets enjoy a good massage just as we do. If you have any questions about pet massage, contact our office today.

When to Call Your Vet

If home remedies and removing stressors do not help your pet, it's time for a visit to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend anti-anxiety medication or suggest that you consult with an animal behaviorist. The behaviorist will evaluate your pet's behavior and suggest strategies that will help him or her cope with stress.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Ocean Animal Clinic of Santa Cruz

Monday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Sunday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

The Cat Clinic of Santa Cruz

Monday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Sunday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "My well loved dog, Bella, was well taken care of with gentleness and excellent care. She is so much healthier after her dental treatment. I highly recommend Dr. Hall and his staff. They truly care and have exceptional communication regarding the recommended and provided care."
    Catherine
  • "Our little dog needed extractions. We found the Ocean Animal Clinic and Dr. Hall. They took fabulous care of him -- even including a nail clipping and ear check. Both the vet and the staff were open and transparent. The surgeon was top notch and the staff really cared about our dog and us. Our little guy bounced back quickly. All this for a lot less money than we feared as well. Highly recommended!"
    Terra
  • "Dr. Hall and the staff at Ocean Animal Clinic are truly unique. Most vets are compassionate but always peddling unnecessary expensive services and drugs. Dr. Hall is compassionate, direct and alternative. He really seems to be in tune with the animals.

    My baby, Harry, is ill and his prognosis is not what a mother wants to hear. But, Dr. Hall was so good with him and also our girl Roxy.

    Just a truly decent, loving Vet. Thank you."
    Jennifer
  • "The Ocean Animal Clinic staff have been caring for my adult turtles since 2011 and I cannot imagine trusting another veterinarian with their care. As a college student he was able to help me find ways to improve the care I provided my pets and his payment options (accepts CareCredit!) helped ensure that my pets received the medical attention they needed on time.

    I consider Ocean Animal Clinic a part of my family and would recommend their services to anyone without hesitation.

    Thank you, OAC!"
    Alejandra