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Pet Anxiety: 4 Signs the Pandemic Lockdown Is Stressing Your Pet Out

Always at home? You may, unknowingly, be stressing your pet out. Here are the signs you should look out for.

Man snuggling with his cat

It's important to consult your pet's veterinarian with any medical concerns, and before making any changes or adding supplements to your pet's health plan.

Without a doubt, 2020 has probably been one of the most stress-inducing, anxiety-filled years anyone has ever dealt with. With countries going on lockdown, economies crashing, and hospitals overflowing, the uncertainty of the times have not only negatively impacted people but can, and has, been passed on to pets as well.

While it may seem like your pet is coping with your suddenly being at home all the time - there are hidden signs that the lockdown may be stressing them out. These signs are what veterinary scientists refer to as "displacement behaviors." These are tics that your pet has recently developed in their attempt to cope with their stress. Here are a few examples:

1. Your Pet Is More Aggressive Than Usual

Dog playing tug of war

While you may think that with more people being home and showering your dog with affection more than ever may be a good thing - it isn't. With more time at home, especially in smaller quarters like condominiums or apartments, tensions can arise between humans and their pets, and between pets and other animals.

If you have more than one pet, you may see them fighting more than usual as they compete for your attention. You may also notice your dog suddenly growling or your cat hissing at you - these are signs that your pet feels overwhelmed with everyone being at home all the time, as opposed to being gone for, more or less, eight hours.

What You Can Do: You can also let them take calming chews that will give them stress relief and help with their uneasiness. Popular dog brand Charlie and Max have canine calming chews that are all organic, made with real duck, and promote wellness and relaxation.

Related: Top CBD Oil for Dogs With Anxiety, Arthritis, Seizures, and More

2. Your Pet Is Sleeping Much Longer

Cat resting on bed

Pets are used to being alone for long periods as you go to work or school and then be active when you're around. But now that you're around more, they may quickly tire out and suffer from having their routine and sleeping habits thrown off.

If you notice that your pet has suddenly become lethargic because of this, don't worry, let them rest. Let your pet have their space, downtime, and then let them come to you when feeling better. Pets, like humans, need space. Once they get it and want your attention, they'll tell you.

What You Can Do: Experts suggest that you provide your pet with a safe and quiet space that they can retreat to. This can either be a room or a little nook that they can have for a while. Once relaxed, you can let them gradually interact with the rest of the household.

3. Your Pet Is Running Around the House More

Happy golden retriever

Especially true for active pets, if your pet is continually running amuck at home, it may be due to changes in their physical activities. If your dog, for example, is used to daily walks or going to the dog park but suddenly has had his "fun time" taken away - your dog may be finding other ways to channel their energy.

As for cats, especially playful and energetic kittens, you may notice them darting from room to room or bouncing off the walls. While this initially seems reasonable, over time, it may lead to injuries. Make sure that you put away breakables and keep your windows closed.

What You Can Do: Make time to play games with your pet. With your dog, you can hide treats around the house and let your dog sniff them out - this keeps them stimulated and active. For cats, you can buy a mouse rattler they can paw at or a vibrating mouse that they can chase.

Related: This Community-Based Alternative to Pet Insurance Is Revolutionizing the Health Care Industry

4. Your Pet Is Chewing on a Variety of Items

Bulldog resting on bed

There may be several reasons why your pet is chewing on everything, as this may be an example of displacement behavior caused by stress due to the lockdown.

Chewing isn't necessarily that bad, but it may be directed toward objects that aren't good for their health. For plants, make sure that your pet veers away from lilies and daffodils. You should also look out for them chewing on socks, plastic, carpets, clothes and more.

What You Can Do: Buy an anti-chew spray from Charlie and Max, which has no alcohol, no propylene glycol, and is so fast-acting that you will immediately see its effect! Once your pet smells the item it's been sprayed on, you will see them walk away and lose interest.

Pets don't understand the news as we do, so the pandemic may be confusing for them. Shower your pet with all the affection that they need and buy whatever needed to keep them calm.