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Does Your Pet Self-Soothe?

Have you noticed increased anxiety or withdrawing behaviors from your pets…especially since the noisy fireworks celebrations, etc.?

When our animal companions experience what I call “mini-traumas” or even big traumas they oftentimes will attempt to self-soothe in the ways that make sense to them. Here are some of the more common ways they may try to cope with their emotions in various situations.

Grooming - In addition to cleaning themselves, both dogs and cats lick their fur to help relax themselves

Purring – You may have experienced increased relaxation when a purring cat is touching you. The vibration of purring can have a calming effect for them too, so it makes sense they may utilize it to soothe themselves.

Kneading – Just seeing a cat or kitten knead with their paws makes me smile and relax. For them it is thought to remind them of when they were nursing, helping them feel more safe and secure.

Chewing and Gnawing– When dogs chew and gnaw on toys or bones, the act of chewing helps release endorphins, promoting relaxation, so it is a good way for them to self-soothe.

Safe Space – Pets may head for a quiet and comfortable space to reduce stress, perhaps hiding under furniture, going into their crate or closet…somewhere tucked away from the sounds and activity.

Sucking on Objects – Sometimes our animal companions, especially the young ones, start sucking on soft blankets, towels or toys as a way to soothe themselves.

Zoomies – I marvel (and sometimes take cover) when an animal suddenly has the zoomies, running at high speed in circles. There are multiple reasons it can occur, one of which is an attempt to deal with stress and anxiety and/or to release pent up energy.

These are just a few of the ways our pets soothe and take care of themselves when they experience uncomfortable events or stressful situations. If you’ve noticed your furry loved one doesn’t bounce back after a “mini-trauma” or other experiences, check in with your veterinarian and also check out how the Fur Baby Speaks session or Happy Pet, Happy Home 60-day deep dive experience can help your furry family member return to their fun-loving self!


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