Holiday is a fantastic time for family cheer, but your pets may not feel the same. While everyone else enjoys the lights, music, and extra people in your home, your pets may not love all of the additional excitement. Today, the El Gato Veterinary Hospital team is here to help you with some signs to look out for when diagnosing stress or anxiety in your pet. Be sure that you and all members of your family are aware of these stress warning signs.

What To Look For

  • Increased Lip Licking – Situation matters with this – if your dog is laying on the couch and licking their lips, there probably is not an issue. If they are in a high-stress situation and licking their lips, it’s time to take action.
  • Hackling  – Does the hair along your dog’s spine jump up in high-pressure situations? This is a sign of stress. We call it the mohawk!
  • Wide Eyes  – If your pet’s eyes are open wide and they are not making eye contact, they are stressed out.
  • Growling or Hissing – If your pet is growling or hissing, they are letting you know exactly how they feel.
  • Shaking – If your pet is shaking, it could mean they are in a state of heightened stress. Assess the situation and be sure to find and fix the cause.
  • Cowering – Cowering to people means that a pet is fearful. Be sure to use calm tones and let them know that everything is okay.
  • Pacing  – A pet that is pacing or moving around rapidly may be stressed out or anxious, depending on the situation.
  • Hiding – Pets hide when they are uncomfortable and want to feel safe. It is important to let them be, do not go after them, and let them come to you once they’ve calmed down.

Now that you know what to look for when diagnosing pet stress, it’s time to talk about what we humans can do to make our pets feel better! We have a few tips that will help you help your pets relax and feel comforted.

  • Create a safe space for your pet which can include a private room, a comfortable crate, or a special area for their dog bed where they can go and not be bothered. It’s important to make sure this area stays their special and safe place.
  • Always be aware of your pet’s mental state and if they are feeling stressed out, be sure to remove them from the situation and calm them down. They’ll be happy you cared enough to get them away from what’s worrying them.
  • If your pet is feeling stressed, it’s time to play! Throw a ball, go for a walk, or just do whatever it is you do to get some energy out! Your pet will forget all about the things that were worrying them, allowing them to reset.

The holidays can be a hectic time and a little extra attention to your pet can alleviate a lot of potential stress that they may have. We love when our pets are happy and enjoying their time with their family!