Pet Care

Scared Pet? A Short Guide on Signs Your Pet is Scared

By Morgan | September 10, 2019

At Vets on Call, we often hear owners describe their pet’s behaviour when going into a vet clinic. Most of the time, they describe what they would deem to be a fear-based reaction from the moment their pet steps into the clinic. But sometimes, owners can describe the same type of behaviour and think it is showing a happy pet. In many of these instances, the behaviour and body language that their pet is demonstrating is actually a fear-based reaction as well.

A lot of the time, we as humans project our own feelings, coping mechanisms or situational reactions onto our pets. We think of the way we would demonstrate fear, anxiety or stress and are looking for similar cues in our pets. Unfortunately, our pets don’t respond the same way we might to different stimuli and if we’re looking for a similar response in our pet, then we can very easily miss what they’re trying to tell us.

Dogs and cats primarily use their body language to display their emotions. When it comes to fear, some of the signs are easier to identify than others, such as:

  • Flattened or pulled back ears
  • Tail tucked between the legs
  • Cowering
  • Whining
  • Displays of clinginess
  • Trembling
  • Urination

Most owners have no issue identifying these, but others are harder to recognise, including:

  • Lip Licking
  • Yawning
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Frequent scratching (Only if they weren’t itchy before)
  • Pacing
  • Barking
  • Panting
  • Dilation of pupils(Where you can see the white of their eyes)

There have even been studies that show a wagging tail, depending on the side of the body your dog is wagging it, can actually be a sign of a negative emotion and not necessarily excitement like many of us may believe.

A lot of your pet’s displays of emotion are more subtle than we think and if we’re not careful then we can miss them and keep pushing them into a situation they’re not comfortable with. No one deserves the fear and stress many pets feel walking into a vet clinic. That’s why we started Vets on Call.We’ll bring the vet to you, save them the stress, save you the time and get better healthcare outcomes for your pet.

 

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