Humans aren’t the only ones to get stressed out. Our beloved four-legged friends can experience stress for a variety of reasons. As pet owners it’s our job to help them find some relief.
Cats and dogs may experience stress for numerous reasons. Our pets may experience stress if they feel that their territory is being threatened or if they have conflicts with other animals within the home. Loud noises, a new home, loneliness, boredom, and separation anxiety can cause stress among cats and dogs. Stress in animals can lead to health problems, just like humans. Stress raises the cortisol hormones in animals and overtime this stress can lead to infections, illnesses, and diseases.
If your pet is experiencing stress there are signs you may notice in their behavior.
Some signs of feline stress include:
- Lost of appetite
- Excessive grooming
- Marking their territory with scratching and urinating.
- Less interaction
Some signs of canine stress include:
- Stress yawns
- Refusal of food or diarrhea
- Biting or destructive chewing
- Growling or excessive barking
- Excessive shedding
- Accidents in the home.
If you believe that your pet is suffering from stress you can help reduce their suffering by closely observing them for a few days. Be on the look out for specific stress triggers that may be harming your pet. Also beware of how your pet responds to objects, noises, situations, people, and other animals within your home. And remember to contact your vet in order to get a medical opinion on how to lower their stress.
In order to create a relaxing, stress-free home environment for your pet, consider these pet stress-busting tips:
- Rituals and Routines: Our pets can benefit from organization and routines in their lives just like us. With routines your pets won’t have to worry about when they’ll be fed, taken on a walk, or if you’ll return home. This will make them feel more secure and they’ll be less likely to feel stress.
- Physical Stimulation: Daily physical exercise can help reduce stress for both humans and animals. Try to spend time playing with your pets in the morning and in the evening. Use their favorite toys, consider playing fetch, or going on more frequent walks.
- Mental Stimulation: Help your pets engage in mentally stimulating activities in order to reduce their stress. You can use special toys (like a feather wand) to simulate hunting games for cats. For dogs consider playing hide-and-seek with treats or with their favorite toys.
- Personal Space: Our pets need their personal space too, especially if there’s new addition to the family. Consider giving each pet his or her own personal hideaway, whether it is a crate or a designated corner. Both you and your pets will appreciate the space.
- Cleanliness: Our animals need a clean environment in order to reduce stress. This means making sure that their designated areas in your home is clean as well as their litter boxes and food dishes. Making sure your pets are properly groomed can also help with their stress.
- Time for Socialization: Socializing can help reduce stress for humans and animals. So consider schedule some cuddle time with your cat or help your dog socialize by taking your dog to the dog park, attending an obedience class together, or scheduling doggie play-dates. You and your pet will both benefit from the extra love.