Is your pet feeling the stress of the holidays?

Published: Nov. 18, 2019 at 9:37 AM EST
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The holiday season has begun and you might be starting to feel the stress from the busy time of year, but you’re not the only one in your household.

"Change is the key word and could be producing anxiety in pets," Dr. David Visser, Center for Animal Health. "We just passed Halloween, we’ve got the holidays coming up, very stressful and disturbing to pets as well. People in costumes, lots of family members during other holidays celebrated during this time of year."

When dogs and cats routines change, it can often create anxiety. Dr. Visser says there several signs pet owners need to keep an eye out for.

"Pacing in the house, whining, destroying objects, even accidents in the house," Dr. Visser said.

So what do you do if you notice your pet is starting to display these symptoms? 16 News Now Reporter Lindsay Stone spoke with Dr. Marianne Bailey who runs the Queenstown Veterinary Hospital in Maryland and has studied this topic. "Depending on what we're seeing will determine how we treat it," Dr. Bailey said. "Trying new things at home, new training techniques, medication can make a big difference too."

While many pet owners reach for Benedryl, both veterinarians say stick with something that's specifically aimed for dogs and cats. "One getting a lot of notoriety these days is Clomicalm," Dr. Visser said. "Reconcile is another one similar to Prozec. It can be used on pets but don't reach for your medicine and give it to your pets. That would be the wrong way of doing that in dosage differences."

There's also plenty of online resources to offer advice and tips to help put your pet more at ease.

Dr. Bailey says stick to credible websites from veterinarians to learn more about what could be causing your pet's anxiety. Many viewers who reached out about this topic also suggested a "thunder shirt" or something to put on the pet to make them feel secure. We also received suggestions such as wearing a collar sprayed with lavender or a soothing scent, but be sure to watch out for the chemical affecting your pet's coat or causing irritation.

In the meantime, pay attention to your pet's triggers, make subtle changes to see what helps and have some extra patience with your furry friend.