All vertebrates experience stress. Studies on animals have found the presence of stress hormones in animals like fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians and certainly mammals. Stress seems to be a part of being alive and surviving.
Still, you don’t want to see any animal suffer — especially an animal you consider part of your family. Your pets get stressed, and you should do what you can to help them relax, feel calm and regain their confidence and pep. Whether your furry companion suffers from an anxiety disorder or merely deserves a day of pampering, here are a few ideas for giving your pet the gift of true relaxation:
Plenty of Positive Reinforcement
The best way to help your furry friend feel more comfortable and confident — in fact, the best way to reduce anxiety in people, too — is to offer unending love and support. Often, pets develop stress disorders because of poor treatment in the past; perhaps they were neglected at a shelter for too long, or perhaps a previous owner was too rough and scary. Consistent positive reinforcement from you will help build your pet’s trust, and when they trust you, they are more likely to experience the world in a positive way.
Positive reinforcement is key for nervous, stressed pets. Though your instinct might be to punish them when they do something wrong, you might refrain entirely from punishment and focus on praising them when they do something right. Praise can take the form of physical attention, like pets, as well as treats. Your reinforcement should be consistent, so your pet knows what behavior to expect from you. When they are better able to predict the world around them, they will experience less stress.
CBD Oils and Treats
Though the research on CBD’s effects on pets is in its early stages, there is some good anecdotal evidence that CBD relieves pain, relaxes muscles and provides calm in furry friends just as it does in people. Plus, unlike THC products, CBD doesn’t get pets high, which can be a disorienting and frightening experience in animals that don’t expect or understand the experience.
While you can find pet CBD products almost anywhere — online, in pet stores, in grocery stores, in pharmacies — you might want to skip these options and go right for the good stuff at San Jose cannabis dispensaries. Because the CBD market is unregulated, many CBD products made for pets aren’t exactly trustworthy; they might not have the advertised dose of CBD, or they might have toxins like butane and formaldehyde or heavy metals. It is much smarter to invest in quality CBD oils and tinctures from a trusted dispensary and create your own pet treats in your kitchen.
A Comfortable Bed
Just as you don’t quite feel yourself when you don’t get enough sleep, your pets are more likely to relax and live well when they are able to catch enough Zs. If you aren’t partial to inviting your furry friends onto your furniture, you absolutely need to put money into a better sleeping surface just for them. The most basic pet bed should have a couple inches of memory foam padding at the base, but you might want to add a few more bells and whistles to provide for your pets’ preferred sleeping position.
For example, you might consider a pet bed with:
- Sides. Some pets like supportive sides to their bed, so they can support their head and neck during rest.
- Covers. Caves and covered crates can be helpful to pets who like to feel defended while they sleep.
- Heating. Heating elements built into the bed can be essential for soothing tired muscles or sore joints — or for providing comfort during the cold season.
- Hypoallergenic materials. Some pets suffer allergic reactions to certain materials, and they need a hypoallergenic option to breathe and sleep comfortably.
Babies tend to calm down when you put them in a tight swaddle, and anxious pets similarly can feel less anxious and more secure when they are wrapped up tight. However, instead of trying to turn your furry friend into a blanket burrito, you should invest in compression clothing, which offers comforting weight without restricting movement. If your pet truly enjoys its compression outfit, you can find a few different styles of vests, coats and wraps for every season and occasion.
Your pet needs you, especially when it is feeling stressed. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help your pet relax and feel comfortable, both on a daily basis and as an occasional treat.