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What Can I Do If My Pet Has Anxiety

by Jody L. Teiche, Pet Health Expert & Pet Parent Coach

Crying, howling, destroying the house or hurting themselves…these are just a few of the symptoms pet parents live with when their dog or cat has chronic anxiety.

Pet mental health challenges are real and with close to 75% of dogs in the U.S. experiencing some form of anxiety and 20% of cats, it is a problem affecting many, many pet parents. So, what can you do if your pet has a form of anxiety that is heartbreaking to see and difficult to manage? Luckily, there are many safe, natural options to explore to help your animal. Let’s first look at what types of anxiety they can be experiencing and what can cause this.

What are the different types of pet anxiety?

Pet anxiety wears many faces. Separation anxiety, fears and phobias of things like loud noises, lights, textures, new places, strangers, children, other animals, even certain clothing, can plague pets. Often times, I’ll hear from clients, we’re afraid to go out to dinner because he’ll destroy the house, or we can’t go on vacation if someone doesn’t stay over because she will freak out and chew her skin or cry or howl all day. It’s soul-crushing for pet parents and, understandably, they are desperate to get the problem solved, both for their pet and for them.

Sometimes, that means resorting to putting their dog or cat on anxiety medication. There are times pharmaceutical drugs are, indeed, warranted as a bridge in certain cases to stabilize an animal. However, I advocate for trying the natural, do-no-harm methods available to us now, before going down that road. Anxiety meds change the chemistry of the brain and may also bring with them unwanted changes in your pet’s behavior.

The cases where it probably does make sense to use meds as a bridge would be in dogs who are extremely aggressive towards others or themselves or experience such a level of separation anxiety that they utterly destroy the house and injure themselves in the process.

What causes pet anxiety?

Pet anxiety can be the result of a variety of factors, such as fear of abandonment, which would tie into a fear of being home alone or separation from a pet parent. We see this a lot in rescue dogs and cats, who may have fears and phobias as a result of past trauma. PTSD is very real in dogs and cats. Maybe they were too close to a loud siren or fireworks that went off that so traumatized them, they become fearful whenever they hear loud noises. Certain textures can remind some animals of bad experiences they’ve had, as can certain garments or even smells. I remember my late Chihuahua, Albie, who was rescued after spending seven years living in a puppy mill, got terrified when I came home one day wearing nail polish. I rarely get my nails done and the smell of that polish set off an immediate and intense reaction of fear in my boy. That told me that someone in Albie’s past who wore nail polish probably abused him.

Pet anxiety can manifest itself in things like excessive barking, whining, trembling, cowering, howling, lip licking, loss of bowel control, obsessively licking themselves and aggressive or destructive behavior to the environment or themselves.

If you recognize any of this in your pet or someone’s you know, please read on.

So, what can you do?


We become what we think about all day. This is a proven concept and a law of the universe. Our animals read and internalize our energy very readily, so if we’re stressed, anxious, angry, sad, they take all of that in and since they can’t reason about why things are that way, it creates anxiety for them.

We can help our pets by controlling our own minds, and replacing negative thinking with positive thoughts and ideas, and visualize how we’d want things to be, as if they already were that way. I teach my clients this in depth, as it’s a concept that requires practice and education in how to do it. And, it is a very powerful tool, both for helping to calm your animals and to create a better life for yourself.


The first thing I ask my clients with anxious pets is what are they feeding? Diet has a major impact on anxiety. Why? Because a diet of highly processed food or food high in carbs/simple sugars, not only robs the body of essential nutrients, but it causes sugar level spikes which, in turn, causes an increase in their feelings of stress and anxiety.

Dry food or kibble is highly processed and consists mostly of carbs. Even the grain free or low carb dry food diets often include poor quality proteins like lentils and legumes, and starches like potatoes, beets, and peas.

Poor quality food creates inflammation in the body. Periodic inflammation is good when needed, to fight off infection or rally around an injury. But, chronic inflammation is the precursor of all dis-ease, and a catalyst for increased anxiety. Sometimes, when the diet is changed to a raw food one, consisting of muscle meat, organ meats and raw meaty bones, the anxiety calms and the animal is much happier. Whether it dissipates the anxiety completely or not, the dog will be more energetic, vibrant and healthier.

Our dogs and cats’ digestive systems haven’t changed much since they were wolves and big cats. We may have domesticated them, but that mostly means they now sleep in our beds, we take them places and treat them like our kids. They were designed to eat the whole prey they’d just killed – meat, organs, bones, fur…everything. And, this gave them all of the vitamins and minerals they needed to be healthy and strong.

Move that body

Regular, vigorous exercise is important to taking the edge off of an animal’s anxiety, no matter what the cause. If your dog is able to run, hike, chase a ball, so whatever it is that will get their blood pumping and tire them out. And…make them happy. The Happiness Protocol is all about that. Science has shown that when our pets are doing what they love and their happy hormones levels increase, so does their immune system strengthen. More happy hormones equals less anxiety; a stronger immune system also means less anxiety and an all-around healthier pet.


Homeopathy is another option for anxious pets. The concept with this centuries old art meets science medical practice is Like Cure Like or The Law of Similars. When you are able to match the symptoms that a homeopathic remedy would create in a healthy animal with the symptoms that sick animal is experiencing, those symptoms begin to disappear.

Homeopathy is energy medicine, whereby the energy of the original substance it was made from is actually stronger and better able, without the side effects of the raw substance, to cure an illness. And, it is specifically tailored to each individual being, since each dog or cat expresses anxiety in its own way, with its own unique set of symptoms. It’s best to work with someone who knows homeopathy, when trying to address anxiety in your animal, as it is a complex form of medicine that has many nuances. However, it can be very effective in the right hands.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are another avenue to explore and there have been many successes in calming anxious animals using a high-quality essential oil or oil blend. I really like doTerra. I was introduced to this brand by an expert essential oils vet and I’ve had success with their product. Oils like Balance, Peace, Console or Adaptiv are great oils to try. Roman Chamomile is one that some rescue dogs’ experiences has resonated with. You can diffuse them, as long as there’s an open door to another room where your pet can go if they want to get away from the aroma. I’ve learned its usually best to let your animal choose the oil they need. They seem to know. I’ve seen videos of dogs who’ll roll away from oil after oil and then, boom, one oil they’ll lick the bottle and hang out beside it. If you do this, be sure to let them sniff with the bottle cap still on. Essential oils are so strong and dogs and cats’ olfactory sense is so sophisticated that open capped is too much for them.

CBD Oils

There’s been a lot of talk around CBD oil and anxiety. Like essential oils, not all CBD oil is created equal. You have to really do your homework to find one that is high quality, third-party tested and uses the whole plant, including things like CBDA and THCA, which have added medicinal properties. I like ElliVet for these reasons. I’ve used it on my dogs and found it calming.

LovingTouch or Intentional Touch Healing Therapy:

This hands-on calming practice is based on Temple Grandin’s squeeze box, which comforted her autism-associated anxiety, and is practiced by holistic veterinarian, Dr. Edward Bassingthwaighte, who has used it for many years with great success. It is a practice where you learn to center yourself and send loving energy through your hands into your dog. There is a technique of touch that is very effective in calming anxious animals and when done regularly, actually forms and reinforces new neural pathways in their brains teaching them how to relax themselves.

Frequency Scanning:

Energy healing is the future of medicine. Discovered by geniuses like Tesla and Einstein back in the 1940’s, it has been greatly perfected technologically over the decades. As Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” We are all made up of energy and everything around us is, too. And, each cell, organ, muscle, tissue, vibrates on its own frequency. So, when you have access to a handheld technology that has over 150,000 optimal frequencies in its database, you have the power to scan your body or your pet’s body, the machine reads the frequencies, identifies those that are out of balance and then optimizes those back into balance. The result? Your pet feels better, emotionally and physically. And, when you learn how to read the reports the machine gives you after each scan, you can start to see trends over time that give you a great heads up to health issues that could be on the horizon, but haven’t arrived yet. This is a very powerful informational tool to have to be in much more control of your pet’s and your own health. I use the Solex AO Scanner, and it’s made a tangible difference in my pets’ and my health.

In summary, pet anxiety is such a common issue pets suffer with and pet parents grapple with that close to 75% of dogs and 20% of cats experience it chronically. It’s painful for both the pet and pet parent. There are many different types of pet anxiety and reasons for it. Nutrition isn’t often looked at as a possible cause of and help to reduce pet anxiety, yet it is the cornerstone of good or poor health. Feeding a fresh food, preferably a raw diet is step on in creating a healthier gut microbiome, shown to scientifically affect stress and anxiety. Natural options to address pet anxiety varies from pet to pet, and can include homeopathy, essential oils, CBD, frequency scanning and LoveTouch intentional touch therapy, among others.

About the Author

Jody TeicheJody L. Teiche is a Pet Health Expert and Coach. She’s been helping pet parents naturally solve health challenges in their dogs and cats, so they can avoid pharmaceutical drugs and have healthier, more energetic pets. One of her specialties is Pet Anxiety. Her site is, and her podcast, called The Hound Healer, is heard on, as well as all other major podcast platforms.

Click here to book a free 30-minute health consult with Jody