It’s their most common (and often subtle) health challenge. But when they have so many adorable quirks, it’s often hard to pick what’s anxiety and what’s just their unique personality…
So I’ve come up with this easy pet anxiety quiz to see exactly how the furry family are doing.
In two minutes, you should be able to find out whether your mate has anxiety…and how much it touches their lives. So take a seat, put on some mood music and let’s dive into the finer points of the furry family’s mindset. And it should work for both dogs and cats...
Ok let’s start. For each trait you see EVERY day, score points. Then combine for your end score…
Trait 1: Shaking when they’re not cold = 3 points
Trait 2: Barking/meowing at noises, other pets while inside your house = 2 points
Trait 3: Pacing around the house when you’re home = 2 points
Trait 4: Whimpering or whining while you’re at home = 2 points
Trait 5: Panting when they’re not hot OR tired after exercise = 3 points
Trait 6: Petrified of thunderstorms or fireworks = 3 points
Trait 7: Prolonged howling or barking while you’re away = 3 points
Trait 8: Destruction of ‘your’ stuff while you’re out = 3 points
And the other stuff!
Lots of stretching = 1 point
Lip licking = 1 point
Tail chasing = 1 point
Humping = 1 point
So how did you do?
Here’s how to interpret your score…
0-2 points: This is just personality. A few quirks to keep life interesting! They actually manage the madness of everyday life pretty well!
3-6 points: They most likely have base level anxiety. They find being left alone a challenge and certain sounds and situations a little confronting. Recognising the struggle is a big positive step!
7-15 points: They’re at a stage where anxiety and stress is noticeably impacting their life. And these are the signs that are most obvious. More may be happening while you’re out…
15+ points: Their anxiety is a big challenge and causing a serious strain to their physical and mental health. The furry family have a lot of feelings and you’re living that…
So what can you do?
STEP ONE: Exercise is key!
This not only gets the blood and endorphins flowing but crucially, a walk (or a run/swim) burns that extra energy that would otherwise be pent up. Exercise lowers both the blood pressure and anxiety levels.
STEP TWO: Help them chew
Gone are the days where they just need to ‘suck it up’ and ‘settle down’. Their actions are telling you they need just a little bit of help getting through those tough times when they’re all alone or the sounds and sights of the big wide world become too overwhelming and scary.
They will try to chew their way to some self-soothing so making sure you provide some toys with different textures they can slowly work through should help to occupy that mind. It’s their instinctive way to calm themselves and it can help…
STEP THREE: Bring calm to the chaos
Some really significant progress has been made in supplements that are proven to help them cope with that alone time or stressful sounds around them.
My go-to is the amino acid, L-theanine, which is proven to promote calmness while reducing irritability and those worrying anxiety related signs. You’ll find L-theanine (and chamomile) in my Drool Calm + Collected treats. Just a few snacks an hour before you need that calming effect will make a huge difference…