You know how stress can throw wrenches in your life, causing all sorts of troubles including anxiety, sleeplessness and more. As a pet owner, you might be interested to know that your animal friends can get stressed out, too.
Fortunately, just as you can implement techniques in your routine to help reduce and eliminate stress from your life, you can also help your pets reduce stress and relax in their lives! If your dog or cat is ill or their behavior becomes troublesome, you should first see your veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
For dogs, stress often comes from a change in environment or surroundings. When changes come up in your life, say moving to a new home or spending more time away from home (separation), your dog may experience stress over the new situation. Noise can be a source of stress, too. Some of these things cannot be controlled, and a bit of stress once in a while won't likely have far-reaching negative effects on your dog, but prolonged stress might bring a change in behavior and even illness.
What types of behavioral changes could you see in a stressed out dog? Your dog may experience:
Our pets can't talk to us, so it's good to know how to help them. Spending more time with your pet is a good start. Give your dog more exercise and playtime with you, which can help keep him or her happy. Not only is this good for your furry friend, it can be good for you, too!
Melissa Bain, DVM, a veterinary behavior specialist associated with Animal Behavior Resources Institute, suggests the following to help keep your dog stress-free and relaxed:
Bain also notes that these activities fall into three categories of enrichment:
Cats may seem like cooler-than-cool, laid-back animals, but they can get stressed out too. However, unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals and may prefer alone time.
When a cat is stressed, he or she might exhibit the following behaviors:
Cats can become stressed by many things, including a move to a new home, a new pet in the house and noises. If you can figure out what is bothering your cat, try to eliminate or alleviate that stressor.
A stressed pet can mean a stressed owner, too. Take time to find ways to help keep your pet happy, healthy and stress free. You'll both be happy in the end!
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