We are all too familiar with stress; how it affects us, how to can turn the strongest person not someone they don’t recognize and how it can cause a deterioration of the mind and body. While we have the ability to talk to someone about our stress levels – our pets don’t have the same advantage. Yes, that’s right: pets can feel stress as well, they just manifest it in different ways. If you’ve noticed that your pet has been acting strangely or not being as active as they once were, they could be stressed.
It’s funny to think of animals feeling stress but that is exactly the case. Animals are attuned to human emotions and can experience the same ones that we do – anger, sadness, happiness, grief. When there is a change in routine or a change of some impact (a family member passing or moving away); this can stress out our pets as the status quo has been interrupted. If nothing like this happened and your pet is still acting strangely? Then they are probably stressed and anxious for another reason. Let’s dive into it.
What Can Cause Stress in Pets?
Stress in pets can be due to a number of reasons. They could be adjusting to a change in routines such as children going back to school, a member of the family leaving the household or someone new coming into the home. A new animal into the home can also cause stress.
They could be stressed because they are physically ill but there are no external signs and they cannot convey their pain to you in the proper way.
Signs of Stress in Pets
Pets are unable to verbalize their stress and anxiety as well as being unable to reduce their stress levels through the same means that we would use. We would indulge in a physically intense exercise session, go for a long walk to clear our heads, use meditation and relaxing activities like a massage and so forth. Pets do not have the same advantages that we humans do when it comes to symbolizing our feelings into words so instead its physical clues.
Some of the signs of stress in pets include but are not limited to:
- Constant shaking of the body. It’s one thing for your pet to shake after being groomed or scratched all over but when they are constantly shaking their body – it can be a sign of a deeper issue.
- Pets will walk around their domain to check out the lay of the land and keep their eyes peeled for any possible threat but if they are pacing constantly or pacing in a tight circle within the room; they could be trying to release their anxiety and stress.
- Whining or whimpering. Most pets will make some vocal noises during the day but if they are constantly whining or whimpering while following you room to room; they could be stressed and trying to get your attention for help. It can also be a self-soothing mechanism.
- Change in appetite. When your pet is stressed or anxious, they will act like a human and either eat more than before or cease eating altogether. Their emotions and feelings are in turmoil and that will drive them to eat more or less.
- Changes in their skin or coat. If your pet is losing fur and losing the shininess of their coat; this could be a sign of illness or stress.
Ways to Reduce Stress in Pets
Want to know how to reduce stress in your pet? Then you will have to basically pay them more attention. If they are suffering because of separation issues, try leaving the television or radio on during the day when you are going to be gone and place an old t-shirt that carries your scent on their bed. This will comfort and soothe them.
If you suspect that your pet is stressed due to physical illness; bring them to their regular vet immediately for a physical. This checkup could find underlying issues that you didn’t realize they had.
Try to use an essential oil diffuser in the room (placed out of reach for the pets) and use a soothing, relaxing scent such as lavender. Want to find out more about the best essential oils? Then follow the link to read more.
Now that we’ve discovered why your pet is stressed, how it can manifest and present itself, and how to reduce stress in your pets – there is no reason for them to feel this way. Take your time in readjusting your pet’s daily routine while managing their stress levels and set aside some time each day or week or devote fully to them. If you own a dog – take them to the dog park. Own a cat? Then why not spend the day pampering them and indulging them in playtime.
If you are seriously worried about your pet and they are losing weight or exhibiting more severe signs of stress; always contact your vet as soon as possible because the prescription medication may be required.