Your pet’s emotional well-being isn’t just about feelings, but it also impacts physical health. We at Los Feliz Small Animal Hospital would like to share a few things to be aware of so you can help mitigate your furry friend’s anxiety.

Signs of stress in pets

Our pets can’t tell us when they’re feeling stress, so we need to watch their body language. A few signs include:

  • Wide eyes
  • Flattened ears
  • Crouched stance
  • Tucked tail
  • Vocalization

Visiting the vet

Taking your pet from his comfortable, familiar home and driving him to the vet, where he might be poked and prodded by unfamiliar faces, can be scary and stressful. The key to alleviating the stress related to vet visits is to help your pet form positive associations with the experience. We encourage you to stop by with your pet at times when you don’t have an appointment. During these “fun” visits, you can bring your pet into the clinic, give him a few treats and praise, let our team show him some love, and then leave. Additionally, we use various methods in our clinic that help to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress during the veterinary visit.

Traveling in the car

While a ride in the car may sound like a fun outing, it can be downright scary for your pet. Changes in speed, sudden stops, and even car sickness can make your dog or cat dread taking a ride. Animals should never be allowed to roam freely in the vehicle. In addition to keeping him safe, a carrier or seat belt harness will provide stability and security, alleviating much of your pup’s anxiety. If traveling long distances, be sure to stop every two hours to allow your pet to relieve himself and drink some water. If your pet experiences vomiting during car rides, ask us about anti-nausea medications.


For the few occasions we may experience thunderstorms in Los Angeles, they’re still something to be aware of. Loud noises associated with thunderstorms can be particularly frightening for some pets. Distraction methods, such as playing with your pup, offering peanut butter in a hollow rubber toy, or turning the television up can help take your pet’s mind off of the noises outside. A snug-fitting garment, such as a ThunderShirt®, can work wonders to relieve storm-related stress in some pets. Some animals, however, experience storm phobia at such an intensity that they require a prescription medication to help them relax.

Questions or concerns about your pet’s emotional well-being? We’re here to help—contact us