Most pet owners have had a cat or dog who is scared of something, and sometimes, many things!
As long as it does not impact their quality of life, it should not be a problem, but if your pet is struggling with fear issues that are causing significant stress and anxiety, it needs to be addressed. And while we may not be able to remove the source of their fear entirely, there are steps we can take to alleviate and reduce it.
Common Fears in Cats and Dogs:
- The veterinarian
- Changes in routine
- Car rides
- Vacuums and other loud appliances
- A new pet
- Moving to a new home
- A new family member
Helping Cats and Dogs With their Fears
When fearfulness arises due to changes in routine, taking the proper steps to help your pet adjust is essential.
If they are scared of loud noises, you can play music, radio, or TV to help block out the sounds.
With fireworks and thunderstorms, turning lights on, and closing curtains/blinds is also helpful. A dog, who at the age of 15 was completely deaf, still noticed the flashes of light through the windows and would become scared if the curtains were not closed.
If the source of stress is from a new pet or family member, make sure to provide a separate place your pet can retreat to. It’s very important that this space is theirs only. Creating a place that they know is just for them is a great way to provide comfort, greatly reduce stress, and allow them time to adjust to things at their own pace and on their own terms.
Introducing a new pet or a new person, including a new baby, when done properly will reduce your pet’s anxiety, and help them adjust as quickly as possible.
What to do if your Pet is Still Feeling Fearful
If you have taken all the appropriate steps to help your pet adjust to a change, or something they are fearful of, but they are still having difficulties:
- Try adding a natural supplement that can help reduce stress and promote calmness. Dog Calming Supplements. Cat Calming Supplements.
- Consider consulting an animal behaviorist who can show you the best ways to help reduce your pet’s anxiety through behavior modification.
- Talk to your vet about adding an anti-anxiety medication you can use as needed.
Why Reducing Stress is Important
All pets are different, with their own unique personalities and quirks! What may cause fear in some, may have no impact on others.
However, when an animal is experiencing high levels of anxiety, it can cause significant stress that can lead to negative effects on their health, and even cause behavior and personality changes. These changes may present in a variety of ways, including acting out, destructive behavior, hiding, refusing to eat, and even aggression. This is why addressing the source of their fear in order to help alleviate their anxiety as soon as possible is so important.
On a Lighter Note!
As all pet owners know, sometimes our pets can be scared of things that may seem totally irrational to us, and are often quite funny, like the many videos online of cats jumping a mile when they see a cucumber behind them!
So, we decided to ask some pet owners:
What the funniest thing your cat or dog is scared of?
Willie: “A fly will make him leave the room and hide under the bed. A FLY!!!”
Stella: “Her shadow!!! She notices her shadow and tries to get away from it!”
Clancy: “Curtain rods. One fell on him 12 years ago and he has never forgotten it. Now, when I even open the curtains, he acts like the sky is falling!”
Toby: “Walking by the basement door, even when it’s closed! I have no idea why, but I will admit, it is a bit unsettling!”
Rory: “Wind! Thunder and lightning are just fine, but when the wind causes the curtains to move, he’s totally freaked out.”
Clementine: “Balloons, especially that one balloon that seems to follow her around the house!”
Chloe: “She has zero fear of stairs when she goes up them, but is scared to death of going back down, and will sit at the top and bark until someone comes to carry her.”
Marilyn: “Having her picture taken. If you point a camera at her, she will immediately look away, and leave the room. Seems especially odd considering she is named after Marilyn Monroe!”
Elmo: “TV shows about hospitals. He hates all the beeping sounds from the medical equipment. Took me a long time to figure out why he would always leave the room when ER was on!”
Zeus: “He weighs 90 pounds, but was scared to death of my friend’s kitten!”
And if you want to have a good laugh, check out 156 dogs who are scared of the most ridiculous things! Our favorite is the dog who is afraid of a picture of Julia Roberts!!!
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