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Pet Anxiety

All About Pet Anxiety

Pet anxiety is a common problem. Just like humans, your dog or cat may feel unsettled and anxious in response to certain situations. Fortunately, the experience is usually temporary. But our Reisterstown veterinarian at TLC for Pets Veterinary Hospital understands how worrisome it can be when pet anxiety becomes a more serious, long-term problem. 


While your pet can’t tell you in words when something is making him feel anxious or stressed, his behaviors and physical effects often can. The following behaviors may be signs that your pet is in emotional distress. 

Undesirable Behavior

When your pet is missing you, frightened, or simply anxious, he may exhibit unwanted behavior. 

  • Being Destructive: Do you come home to a house that shows signs of your dog’s or cat’s unhappiness that you’ve been away? Scratching, chewing, and property destruction is a common outlet for animals with separation anxiety.
  • Noisy Vocalizations: Unexplained mewling, barking, howling, whining, and even sneezing may indicate unsettled feelings for your pet. If there’s no external cause, like the approach of a stranger, and you are unable to soothe him, this extra vocalization may be a sign of anxiety.
  • Breaking house training: Defecating and urinating indoors or outside the litter box are also ways your animal is telling you how he feels. Naturally, you should rule out other problems, like insufficient outdoor time or health problems. But going from being house-broken to messing inside or where he is not supposed to for no physical reason can indicate anxiety. 
  • Aggression: Aggressive body language, snarling, growling, snapping, scratching, lunging, and biting can have many causes. But a change in behavior or aggression paired with some of these other signs may be your animal’s way of telling you he is feeling anxious.

Physical Effects

Sometimes, your pet expresses anxiety in more subtle ways than big behavioral changes. He may become more restless and unable to settle. You might notice repetitive or compulsive behaviors, as well. Here are a few signs to look out for. 

  • Drooling
  • Panting or chuffing
  • Shivering
  • Pacing
  • Tail thumping
  • Digging
  • Excessive licking
  • Poor appetite or not eating

It’s important to have your animal checked out thoroughly by a veterinarian to determine the cause of new behaviors. Never just assume that the issue is pet anxiety. There may be a serious underlying physical health problem leading to these unwelcome changes. 

Contact Us If You Believe That Your Pet Has Anxiety

So, if your animal is showing signs of pet anxiety, it’s time to seek veterinary help from a qualified animal hospital. Our compassionate team is experienced in pet anxiety diagnosis and treatment, as well as treatment for a full range of animal health conditions and concerns. Call TLC for Pets Veterinary Hospital in Reisterstown at 410-833-1717 to schedule an appointment.