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Keeping your pet calm and relaxed over the holidays

By December 13, 2016 Uncategorized

The festive season is upon us once again and many people are busy with family and friends visiting for Christmas and celebrating New Year.

Some of our pets will find this change of their environment with new people, new pets and noises such as fireworks very stressful. Cats especially can suffer from many stress related diseases such as over grooming and cystitis.

There are some steps you can take and some products (that are not sedatives or tranquillisers), that can relieve anxiety in our pets. Many of these products can be bought over the counter, without requiring you to bring your pet in to us. 


Cats like to have places to hide, preferably up high.  If they choose to do this, leave them to settle. Try not to move their food and water bowls and litter tray unless you have to, but ensure they are all in private areas away from the noise.  Ideally there should be a litter tray for every cat in the household, and a spare one.  For advice about keeping your cat calm and providing them with an optimal environment, the best person to chat to at Greenbay Vets is Claire, our Cat Advocate, who will be happy to help. 

Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone that cats leave behind when they rub their faces on the furniture, doorways, people’s legs and other objects when they are happy.  This marks their home as safe and secure.  It is available as a plug in diffuser which lasts a month or a spray that could be applied to areas your cat has access to or likes to hide.  There is also a new product, Feliway Friends, which is a copy of the pheromone the mum cat produces for her kittens; this is particularly helpful to reduce conflict in multi-cat households.

Calmex has tryptophan and B vitamins in it which help to relieve anxiety and is available as a liquid to go on their food.

Both these products are different and can be used separately or in combination.


Dogs are sometimes wary if other animals come into their territory.  Try meeting on neutral ground first and keeping them in separate areas whilst they get used to their new guests. Toys and feeding can trigger arguments so keep these separate. They can also find it stressful if new people are in their space so give them time to settle without fussing them and let them hide away if they feel they need to. 

Many dogs suffer from noise phobias e.g. with fireworks. Dogs will often feel safe if they can hide away somewhere; a den can be created a few days before and the dog encouraged to go in there/ fed in the den, so they have a familiar environment if they need to hide. Keeping the curtains closed and the TV or radio on can help to distract them. Try not to be stressed yourself, they will pick up on your anxiety. Noise desensitisation can be useful but require training time, so is best used months in advance of the fireworks season.

Adaptil contains a copy of the pheromone the mother dog produces to bond with her puppies.  It is available in a monthly plug in diffuser, a collar, and a spray.  There are also Adaptil tablets, which are a unique combination of ingredients that provide fast and temporary relief of anxiety.

Calmex contains a mix of amino acids and B vitamins which can help to relieve anxiety and is available in capsules given by mouth.

Both these products are different and can be used separately or in combination.

All the products mentioned above are not prescription products and we do not need to examine your pet in order for you to try these products.  We do need an up to date weight for some products.  We usually keep stock in of these products at both our Torquay and Paignton surgeries, but may need to order the product in for the next working day – give us a call if you want something specific.  We also now have Feliway and Adaptil loyalty cards, which help to keep the costs down! If your pet is very stressed, or showing signs of illness e.g. cystitis then we would advise an appointment with the vet. 

Please give us a ring on 01803 606059 to discuss any of these products or any concerns you might have. 

Samantha Pryor MRCVS, Vet at Greenbay Vets