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Us pet parents are often aware of the signs of happiness, contentment and excitement in our pets, but what about anxiety in cats and dogs? Unless we know what to look for, it’s easy for us to miss the signs or attribute them to something else.

So, how can we tell when our pets are feeling anxious, and what should we do?


We’ve compiled expert advice on spotting the signs and helping your dog or cat make the most of each day. With the right support and tools to tackle anxiety, we can help our pets towards becoming calm, confident companions who take life in their stride.



From a change in routine to an unexpected loud noise or more people around the place than they’re used to, many things can unsettle our pets. Common triggers, such as separation anxiety, are very understandable – many of the best things in our pets’ lives revolve around us being there: food, strokes and cuddles, company, playtime, and walks for dogs. Helping pets learn to spend time alone from a young age will get them on track to a happier lifestyle, and knowing what to do when fireworks are expected will help them deal with the scary noises.

Close up of a hissing cats face
Small dog looking up, growling about to bark
Black and white cat gazing out of a window

Signs of anxiety in dogs

As pet parents, we know how our dogs usually behave, so we’re the first to see when something’s up. Signs of anxiety in dogs can include going to the loo in the house, chewing and being destructive, lots of barking, pacing and general restlessness, whining and cowering. Left untreated, anxiety in our dogs can escalate into more serious behavioural issues such as aggression, so it’s important we read their body language and nip anxiety in the bud. Take a look at Marc the Vet’s view on anxiety in dogs, including the possible causes and tips to deal with it.

Signs of anxiety in cats

If our cats start behaving differently, it suggests there’s something troubling them. Common signs of anxiety include excessive grooming (this can lead to bald patches or sores), avoiding eye contact, holding their ears back, hair standing on end, hissing, running away, and going to the loo in random places rather than their litter tray. Cats can also get aggressive when they’re frightened, so spotting the early signs can help stop things going too far.

Dog on hind legs looking anxiously out of a window
Dog on hind legs looking anxiously out of a window

Treating anxiety in dogs and cats

Identifying the cause means it’s easier to solve the problem. For example, puzzle feeders can entertain a dog while you’re out of the house. For other fears, pet parents can gradually desensitise animals – slowly exposing them to the thing they fear and rewarding them every time so they learn positive associations. Exercising and playing with our dogs and cats occupies them and tires them out, as well as improving their mood by releasing endorphins. There is also a range of products out there to calm our companions. But if you feel out of your depth at any time, talk to your vet. In extreme cases, they may be able to prescribe medication.


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How to calm your dog during fireworks

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