If your pet is exhibiting one or more signs of stress, the first step is to have them examined by your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. If everything checks out, you can consider these holistic approaches to help reduce your pet’s anxiety and stress for their increased health, joy, and quality of life.

• Daily vigorous exercise and play can greatly reduce stress for you and your pet, and help build their confidence. Consider training refreshers or teaching your dog new tricks. Did you know you can even clicker-train your cat?

• Daily mental stimulation is equally important, so increase environmental enrichment to keep them occupied. Puzzle feeders, activity toys, appropriate things to chew on, and cat trees or other safe places to hang out can add fun and relaxation to your pet’s day.

• Consider improving your pet’s diet. Choose a fresh, high-quality, and species-appropriate whole food diet that is balanced for your pet’s age and lifestyle. This is an integral part of their health and well-being.

• Healing Touch for Animals and Animal Reiki sessions can bring relaxation and calmness. Both are helpful for easing stress, releasing past trauma, and supporting the physical body.

• Calming music can create a harmonious and enriching environment for animals while helping to improve their health and behavior. Clinical studies have documented that specific music vibration, sound, and tempo can create calming effects on pets. Consider playing classical or spa-type music at a low volume.

• Color therapy can calm an anxious pet. Consider incorporating calming colors like pink, blue, green, and violet into your pet’s environment (collar, harness, leads, bedding).

• Thundershirts have a calming effect for most anxious, fearful, or overly-excited dogs. The design applies a gentle, constant pressure (like swaddling a baby) that has a calming effect for most dogs.

• Feliway (for cats) and DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) sprays emit a synthetic copy of natural pheromones to create a state of familiarity and security in the environment.
• Gem, tree, or flower essences gently ease stress and promote harmony and well-being for our pets (and ourselves). I use Gem Essences and “Calm My Pet” products for my own pets and those of my clients.

Finally, if you really want to reduce your pet’s stress, work on reducing your own. Animals are very observant of our emotional state and stress level which they can pick up on through voice, body language and other subtle clues. Positive interactions with your pet can calm both of you, so get outside and play with your dog or cuddle with your cat. Consider meditation and breathing techniques that are shown to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, in addition to reducing anxiety and depression. Take a few minutes throughout the day to recharge. Get some fresh air, read inspirational quotes, journal, or talk with a close friend. Engaging in meaningful activities and nurturing human relationships are also important to your emotional well-being. The more you display a relaxed, happy demeanor, the more likely your pet is to do the same. Self-care is essential to better care for those we love, including our animal friends.