CHARLOTTE – Just like humans, pets can experience fear, anxiety, and even phobias. There is much to learn on this topic— both through research and experience— and it’s one that is near and dear to me, as I have a dog who suffers from anxiety and phonophobia (fear of loud noises). Let’s start by defining fear, anxiety, and phobia.
Fear is an aversive emotional state with physiological, behavioral, and emotional reactions to something that your pet views as threatening or dangerous. While some fears can be normal and adaptive, others can compromise a pet’s physical and emotional welfare.
Anxiety is defined as generalized feelings of apprehension, unease, and/or nervousness regarding an imminent event, uncertain outcome, or an anticipated threat or danger. Pets appear to anticipate or predict unpleasant situations, events, or outcomes based on previously learned experiences. While anxiety can be unpleasant, it is normal and healthy for pets to have this emotion. However, disproportionate levels of anxiety should be checked and monitored by a veterinarian.
Phobia is a sudden, profound, or excessive fear response, meaning it is out of proportion to whatever causes it. A common example that we see pets experience is “storm phobia”, which means they respond disproportionately to the perceived threat of a storm.
At Passionate Paws Animal Hospital, we pride ourselves on being Fear-Free certified, and we want to help pet parents understand and recognize these emotions in their fur babies. Stay tuned for more information on this topic in the coming weeks!
Passionate Paws Animal Hospital is a proud member of the Union County Chamber of Commerce and the Waxhaw Business Association.