Stress-reducing pet foods and supplements

17th Dec, 2019

Any sudden change to your furry friend’s routine, social structure or environment may cause stress and anxiety. Travel or relocation to a new home environment, in particular, can be a very trying time for your pets.

Thankfully, mitigating the negative effects of such a disruption and ensuring your pet’s physical and mental health has never been easier. Hazel Imrie, Founder and owner of PETport, shares that owners today enjoy ever-increasing availability, both online and over-the-counter, of food and dietary supplements designed to combat stress and anxiety in their pets.

How do you know your animal requires stress-reducing supplements?

It can be difficult to pinpoint when exactly your pet needs calming. Identifying your fur-kid’s symptoms should always be the first step when trying to find a solution. The great news? As their owner, you are best placed to observe your pet and are likely to notice any “strange” behaviour first.

But what behaviours hint at stress? A few common signs of anxiety to look out for include:

- loss of appetite and weight loss

- pacing

- diarrhoea

- pining

- aggression

- changes in sleeping habits

Marked signs of any of these, especially two or more signs displayed at the same time, mean that your pet is likely stressed and would benefit from a stress-reducer.

Types of stress-reducing supplements

From bacon-flavoured doggy chews containing hemp extracts to soluble food additives, there’s a whole world of stress relief out there for your pet. While some may benefit from the “quick fix” of a chewy treat, other animals may be profoundly more uneasy due to a longer-term anxiety inducer, for example, moving to a new home. In these cases, as well as in animals commonly given to anxiety, an entire diet plan containing increased levels of vitamin B12 may be the best way forward.

Here is a general list of some of the most common supplements forms in SA:

  • powdered herbs and essential minerals or oils, to be spooned out and sprinkled over regular food
  • tablets, to be taken orally and usually slipped into their food
  • capsules taken in a similar way
  • tasty, gummy chew treats laced with natural stress relievers
  • attractive-smelling, finely-ground herbs placed in your pet’s blanket or on paws – this works especially well for cats; almost like catnip would!
  • a gel, mousse, cream or other topical skin-coating formulas to be applied to the coat and left to soak in

Which one is right for me?

Choosing the right product for your pet may seem like a daunting task at first, but bearing in mind certain factors such as your animal’s age, weight, pregnancy, pre-existing medical conditions and, of course, dietary preferences can help narrow the search.

In most cases, a topical or oral treatment smelling and tasting like your furry friend’s favourite flavours is often very effective. They can help with both the transit and settling-in phases of relocation, and selecting the right one can make your pet’s life much easier during this difficult period. Always make sure to consult your vet before implementing any changes to your pet’s diet or supplement regimen.

Supplements and good nutrition are only part of the picture, however. What if you could make the actual process of relocation easier on your darling doggie or other pets? Choosing a company such as PETport with trained animal handlers and a long track record of successfully relocating animals both locally and abroad can go a long way to reducing stress levels in both pet and owner.