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5 Steps to Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

5 Steps to Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month. As humans we have a multitude of choices regarding ways to reduce our overall stress level, including taking yoga classes, drinking green tea, meditating, keeping a gratitude journal, etc. But, how about our pets? We love them and bring them into our human environment, with all of its crazy sounds and sights, and we say “adjust.” Some do, many don’t.

Sound researcher Joshua Leeds and veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner co-authored Through a Dog’s Ear, the first book to examine the powerful effect of the human soundscape on canines. They suggest taking a “sonic inventory” of your environment. Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. This sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment:

  • Sit quietly for 30 minutes, pen and pad in hand.
  • Tune into the sounds you hear inside your home and outside on the street – the hum of the fridge, the cycle prompt of the dishwasher, the beat of a dryer, the alarm clock, hair dryer, vacuum, television, computer sounds, text alerts, traffic, car alarms, children playing, music, etc.
  • Notice your pet’s behavior. Does he actively respond to the sounds? Note that his reactions may be very subtle, such has just a raising of an eyebrow or ear twitch. When sounds from the stereo or tv are present, does he move closer or farther away from the sound source?
  • Rate the sounds from one to ten, ten being the most disturbing and one the least noticeable. Use two columns – one for your pet and one for yourself. The goal is to have the lowest numbers you can.
  • Ask yourself how you can make your home a calmer, more peaceful place, for yourself and for your pets. Often, just by listening, we become more sonically aware, an important first step. Small changes made in your sound environment can often make a big difference in your pet’s behavior.

Personally, I consider it my responsibility to be considerate of Sanchez and Gina‘s sound environment. I play music for them daily that is designed to calm the canine nervous system. When I occasionally want to blast my Zumba playlist, I make sure they are outside. I put them in a quiet room with a treat when I vacuum, and I don’t take them to public places with loud music playing.

Those of us who love our pets often assume that our environment is the best for our pets. However, sometimes it requires a different way of thinking, to assess whether what works for us, works for our beloved pets as well.

Are you committed to becoming a sound aware pet lover? Thanks for posting a comment below telling Care2 readers some ways that you can improve your household sound environment for your pets, and ultimately the 2-leggeds in your household will also benefit.

Delivering Calm, Four Paws at a Time!

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, , , , , , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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4:07PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

The type of music to share with your pet varies as it does in people.

4:57PM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

The type of music to share with your pet varies as it does in people.

8:12PM PDT on May 19, 2014

Good information. Thanks.

9:46AM PDT on May 17, 2014

Thank you

12:34AM PDT on May 15, 2014

Thank you

2:01PM PDT on May 11, 2014

thank you!

1:48PM PDT on May 11, 2014

The best thing I can do to reduce THEIR stress is to reduce my own. All pets pick up on whatever emotions you're feeling, and immediately believe they are due to something they've done. I've learned calmness and a more patient attitude, just to help my newest, super fearful, dog cope. You can't control the outside environment, and dog's weren't raised to listen to music 24-7, but you can be the leader they need.

5:41AM PDT on May 7, 2014

Thank you :)

12:57AM PDT on May 7, 2014

Thanks, our beloved pets deserve a calm environment.

1:39PM PDT on May 4, 2014

It's always good to reduce your pet's stress.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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