If you or someone you know deals with anxiety regularly, then it is likely that your pet has also picked up on some of the negative energy. Pets are very intuitive animals and can sense when something isn’t quite right.
It may seem silly at first, but can you take better care of your pet if you are anxious or depressed? The answer is yes. You might be surprised to learn that pets can help people with anxiety and depression live healthier lives. Here are some tips on how to take better care of your pet when you have an anxiety disorder:
- Practice relaxation techniques with your pet:
Since anxiety and depression often cause stress, it’s essential to learn how to relax your body and mind. One easy way to relax is to practice a relaxation technique with your pet. For example, you could train your dog to lie down and relax. Doing this with your pet may help you learn how to relax through observation. Whether it’s practising deep breathing, muscle relaxation exercises, yoga, or another technique that helps you relax, do what works best for you. For some people, this can be very difficult to do because of their anxiety. If this is the case for you, your doctor can help you find the right stress management program for you and your needs.
- Spend time with them every day to help calm your nerves:
When you are registering an emotional support animal, you are also accepting the responsibility to look after and take care of your pet ESA. Give them plenty of opportunities to play and exercise with you. Give them lots of attention, love, and affection – this will make you and them feel better! Keep the house at a comfortable temperature. Keep the house as calm as possible – don’t move furniture around too much, minimize loud noises outside. Try playing music or watching TV at low volume near where you’ll be sitting.
- Exercise is suitable for both of you:
Exercise is healthy for people with anxiety or depression because it releases chemicals in the body that make people feel better. For people with anxiety, exercise is an excellent way to focus the mind and relieve nervous energy. Give them plenty of opportunities to play and exercise. For your pets, games are their exercise, so you must play to get them to exercise and get them an adequate amount of exercise. Being active can help reduce stress and tension. Exercising with your pet is a great way to do this together. If you don’t have time to take your dog for a walk, try playing with them in front of the house or the backyard instead.
- Take them on many walks/hikes: Exercise is essential for both humans and their pets! If you do not have time to exercise yourself, take your pet on a hike or long walk. If you have a cat, try getting them a bird, mouse, or lizard to play with! It will help keep your pet active and entertained. Keeping anxious animals active can help keep their minds off of what is stressing them out.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly:
Taking pets to the vet for regular checkups is necessary. This way, you can catch any health problems while they are relatively simple to treat. Also, this allows them to get the medical attention they need if they have a more serious problem or illness.
- Please keep your pets indoors when you can’t supervise them:
Pets, like kids and people, need supervision in certain situations. If there is something in the environment that could harm them or if they might hurt themselves, keep your pet inside. When people have anxiety, they leave their pets alone for too long, and the pet causes damage. For example, a cat might decide to claw at furniture, or a dog might decide it wants to shred your sofa. Many websites offer resources for people with mental illnesses and their pets. These volunteers act as mentors for someone new to animal-assisted therapy, or they go to different places with their pets and help people practice taking care of their pets.
- Set limits for yourself and your pet:
Create a pet-safe room for your pets to retreat when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Create a safe space for your pet to retreat when they’re, or you are feeling anxious. Anxiety can cause you to want to spend all of your time with your pet or in isolation. However, if you don’t set limits on how much time you spend with your pet, you may end up neglecting other important activities, like work or spending time with your family. Maintaining other relationships outside of the one you have with your pet can help reduce your anxiety and improve your mood by getting support from other people. It’s also helpful to set limits on how much responsibility you take for your pet. If you are having a hard time taking care of your pet, consider consulting a professional who can help you and your pet. Sometimes anxiety can make it challenging to do things that pets need or want. It’s better to ask for help than to stress yourself out and force yourself to continue with something too much for yourself.
- Keep their diet healthy:
Healthy eating is essential for humans, so it should be just as crucial for our pets! If you are having trouble finding the correct type of food due to your anxiety, talk to your doctor about it. They may be able to help you find a good food brand that is right for you and your pet’s needs. Provide plenty of fresh water and healthy food options. Make sure their food is always fresh, or add healthy treats to their regular diet: fruits, vegetables, and even meat cooked in water. Do not ever use human food as your pet’s source of nutrition/treats.
- Clean the litter box/cage regularly:
Keeping your pet’s living area clean will help them feel more comfortable and less anxious. It is also a good idea to give pets more than one place to use the bathroom! Cats and dogs do not like using their bathrooms in the same spot, and having multiple places and toys to relieve themselves on will make it easier for you to keep up with cleaning.
Make sure you lookout for the ones that care about you. Even if you have anxiety, you must take on the responsibility of the pet that makes you feel better in mind and your heart. Your pet will look after you when you are down and not in the best state of your mind, but you also have to accept the responsibility of taking care of your pets. So spend time with them every day and give them lots of love and affection.