BY LINDSEY GETZ
Being able to address potential behavioral issues—including anx- iety—and successfully train pets can help strengthen the bond between pet and owner, and it might result in fewer dogs and
cats being relinquished to shelters.
Janet Monaco, owner of Pet Pros in Rockledge, Fla., said that one
of the reasons she believes there has been such a marked increase in
behavior-related products is that more pet owners are adopting and
rescuing pets these days. When a pet is adopted through a shelter or
rescue group, it is not always clear what it has been through. Monaco said that because of this, anxiety is a big issue with pets.
Pets can have situational anxiety because they do not understand
the events that are taking place around them, said Alina Smith, CEO
and co-founder of Pet Releaf in Englewood, Colo.
“We all have daily triggers that bring us anxiety, but we can un-
derstand the events happening around us,” Smith said. “Pets are
exposed to many situations that are new, uncomfortable and scary
for them. Traveling, new friends, loud noises, fireworks and even
other animals can make pets feel anxious. Our Pet Releaf products
can provide pets who suffer from situational anxiety a sense of calm
and comfort when these situations arise.”
Behavioral issues can be why many pets end up in a shelter in the
first place—or could even lead to them being returned, said Sarah
Beck, president of Doggie Don’t Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. And if
a pet didn’t have anxiety before being given up, it’s not uncommon
for it to develop it solely from that experience.
“Most shelter dogs have had no training, and many are given
up because of unwanted behavior,” Beck said. “It is our hope that
our Doggie Don’t Device, an audible tool used in conjunction with
commands, will help decrease those numbers in a pain-free, hu-
In the home, some of dogs’ biggest behavior issues are barking,
jumping, chasing, stealing and poor manners, while with cats, inap-
propriate scratching can cause problems, said Larry Cobb, CEO of
The Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport, Fla.
At Pet Pros, Monaco said that calming agents are a big seller for
her customers’ anxiety concerns.
“The two biggest anxiety issues we see are separation anxiety
and storm-related anxiety,” Monaco said. “We get a lot of intense
thunderstorms here in Florida, particularly in the summer. Once
those summertime storms begin, we often end up selling out of anx-
Patti Vincent, owner of Puppy Love Dog Store in Beaumont,
Texas, said that anxiety is a very hot topic in her area as well. A
swaddling effect can play a role in helping relieve some of that anx-
iety, she said, adding that the ThunderShirt is a popular seller in
Janet Marlow, CEO of Pet Acoustics Inc. in Washington Depot,
Conn., said her company is focused on cats this year, as she believes
cats have just as complex needs as dogs but that because their behaviors are often so subtle, these needs can be overlooked.
“While we don’t fully understand their anxiety and stress, it has
been proven that stress is a trigger for illness in cats,” Marlow said.
“Anything we can do to provide them with a calm environment is
going to improve their quality of life.”
Whether it’s for anxiety or another concern, pet owners are looking
for behavior and training products that solve problems.
One of the most frustrating
behavior issues for cat owners
is when their pets scratch in