Calming Anxiety in Pets – with their sense of smell!
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful and anxious time for everyone in our households, even our pets, who must adjust to our new day-to-day routines. We need to do our best to check in on how they are doing physically, mentally and emotionally during this challenging time.
Did you know an animal’s sense of smell is one of its most powerful senses? We can use this to our advantage when trying to calm their anxiety levels and make them feel more comfortable during this unsettling time.
Here are some ways to calm your pet’s anxiety using their sense of smell.
Reduce or remove toxic smells
You may find yourself cleaning your house a lot more than usual right now, so be sure to choose cleaning products with little or no scent. Avoiding perfumes or scented personal products is also a good idea. Strong odours that are in cleaning products can be irritating for your pets.
Introduce pleasant and favourable scents
Favourable scents that your pets and others in your house will enjoy can include:
Lavender and Chamomile:
Dogs who are exposed to these scents spend less time moving around and tend to behave in a relaxed manner. This results in lower levels of barking and is most beneficial when used in your home. It has also been shown to reduce stress levels.
Rosemary and Peppermint:
Dogs who are exposed to these scents may be more alert (standing, moving). It also encourages a greater amount of vocalization. At our animal centres it is most beneficial in outdoor kennel areas where more activity is encouraged. So this could be a scent to enrich your playtime outside if you have a backyard space for play.
What are pheromones? Basically, they are chemicals that animals produce, which can affect the behaviour of other members of the same species. They are believed to be universal across species and important in organizing social behaviour in animals. They have an impact on the behaviour of dogs and cats and can help manage behaviour problems and reduce stress in animals.
The most common products are:
Feliway™(CEVA): For Cats
Available as a diffuser, wipe or spray, this product contains synthetic cat pheromones that are calming and reduce stress. The diffuser has the advantage of reaching multiple cats in the environment and will last up to 30 days.
Adaptil™ (CEVA): For Dogs
Available as a collar, spray or diffuser. This product contains a synthetic copy of a dog appeasing pheromone that nursing mothers naturally produce to calm their puppies. This helps dogs deal with stressful situations, such as new environments, separation from owner, anxiety or, in this case, a new routine.
For any product used in your pets’ environment, always read and follow label directions carefully.
To learn more about these pheromone products, and other tips to calm your pet’s anxiety, visit www.ShelterHealthPro.com
Hats off to you
To all kind-hearted and hard-working people at SPCA: hats off to you. I love animals and admire the work you do.