Surprising ways pets are affected by relationship troubles
Moving into a new home and a new neighborhood is for most people a very stressful event. My recent move was prompted by a few changes in my family dynamic. No matter how much my wife and I tried, we were not able to make it work. After many discussions and tears, we both agreed it would be best to part ways. Our children are grown up now and are pretty independent, we quickly came to an agreement about splitting our assets, and it seemed that everything was going to be easy and amicable until a monkey wrench was thrown into the negotiations: What do we do with our pets?
We have two dogs and three cats that we both love equally, and now the custody battle was not over our human children but over our pet children. After many days of going back and forth, we were able to make the decision based on the preferences of the pets. Duke and Midnight seemed to follow my wife everywhere she went while Daisy was clearly “my dog.” I could almost see Daisy smiling at me when I would enter the room. So as strange as it sounds, we let the pets pretty much decide who lives with whom.
Thinking that the toughest part was over, I was certainly not expecting the difficulties that lay ahead. The first few nights at the new home, Daisy stayed up all night barking and making sad whimpering sounds while Livie (my black cat) was running around the house eyeing everything with suspicion. Another problem that surfaced was that Livie began refusing to use her litter box. I did not expect the two most relaxed pets to become so stressed out from moving. Although this move for me was supposed to be a good thing, I was not able to transmit that thought to my pets, who were still not getting comfortable in their new home going on several weeks now.
This stressful reaction to the move was becoming a terrible problem for the pets and for me. The only thing to do was to try different products in an attempt to help them relax and get used to this new place. The first product that I tried for Daisy was the Adaptil plug-in diffuser which helps reduce signs of stress, and comforts puppies and dogs during challenging situations. This easy-to-use plug-in releases a synthetic replica of the natural pheromone released by mother dogs to soothe and reassure their puppies. The Adaptil Diffuser is clinically proven to help reduce fearful and/or destructive behaviors within 4 weeks. I wasn’t expecting much of an improvement from Daisy since I was under the impression this diffuser worked best with puppies but to my surprise, I noticed a huge improvement over the next ten days. By the end of the month all of Daisy’s symptoms seemed to have subsided and she was as happy as can be. Was it the diffuser or the fact that Daisy simply got used to her new home? I can’t be certain but other people have had similar results and I’ve heard story after story from dog owners who swear by the effectiveness of this product.
As far as my cat Livie was concerned it was a little more difficult to get her to become comfortable in her new surroundings. At first I tried the Feliway diffuser which did help reduce some of Livie’s stress symptoms, but her unwillingness to use the litter box did not improve. After another several weeks I decided to make an appointment with the veterinarian for an exam and get some suggestions. The veterinarian wrote Livie a prescription for a very small dose of fluoxetine and suggested that I keep using the Feliway diffuser. Fluoxetine is a prescription medication that affects chemicals in the brain that cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsession-compulsion. After following the advice of the veterinarian, it took another week or so until Livie began using her litter box and was becoming more comfortable in her new home.
Two months ago I was left with a broken heart and two very stressed pets. Although I still feel sadness about the events that occurred and my heart is still not healed, at least Daisy has stopped barking and whimpering all night and Livie is using her litter box like the good girl she is. Life did throw us a curveball that I certainly did not expect and there isn’t much I can do to bring things back to the way they were before; all I can do is to practice daily acceptance until it becomes a way of life and wait for the bigger picture/plan to reveal itself.
As always, it’s important to remember that if your pet becomes ill or is acting differently, the best thing you can do to keep them healthy and happy is to take them for a checkup with the veterinarian. Your veterinarian is an important part of your pet’s team, and can diagnose the condition that is making your pet ill and prescribe the correct medication for that condition.
Also remember that another good source of medication information is your 1800Petmeds Pharmacist who is available to answer your medication related questions.
Have you ever found yourself in a difficult personal situation? How did you help your pets cope?