Relieving stress in pets

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Health

Pets are also vulnerable to stress and its associated disorders just like humans are. Unfortunately, most pet owners mistake the signs of stress for boredom or laziness. Any pet, be it a dog or a cat or even a turtle, can experience stress. Caged birds often show intense stress symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of stress are varied in each animal. They are dependent on various factors like the environment, surrounding and the behavior of the pet owner. Since pets cannot speak you need to understand that they are showing signs of stress from their daily mannerisms and behavior.

Most of them display periods of boredom when they might do nothing else except laze around the house. Some pets might just curl up in a corner and remain like that for the entire day.  You can also find out if your pet is suffering from stress by observing its eating and drinking habits. Under stress most animals eat and drink a lot. In fact, to most pet owners it might look like that their pets do nothing but eat and sleep the entire day. They also tend to chew their food slowly. All these signs should not be ignored.

In the case of dogs, incessant barking might be just one of the symptoms of stress. Your usually well mannered dog might start barking at the neighbor or the newspaper man suddenly. It is likely he might just start barking without any reason at all.

In severe cases of stress there are chances that your pets might show signs of extreme restlessness, anxiety and trembling.  It has also been noticed that dogs under extreme strain tend to lick themselves continuously. This is a bad and unhealthy habit. It usually leads to the development of lick granulomas that are extremely painful and need to be treated through medication.

One might wonder what the causes of stress are. Animals by nature are very sensitive of their environment and surroundings.  Any small change can trigger a stress condition.  Even shifting your house can create stress.

Pets are also very choosy about their masters. They show fierce loyalty to the family members. In some cases the pets cannot be handled by anyone else other than their masters.  If you leave the pets especially dogs with a caretaker while you are on holiday, it can cause stress among them. The sudden death of a family member can also cause stress.

Another common reason is bringing another pet in the house when you had only one pet for a long time. Animals generally are extremely protective of their territory and do not like to share it.  Illness can be another reason for stress also.

The only way you can relieve stress in your pet is by paying attention to them.  Pets need to be loved and cared for always. Make it a point to spend as much time you can with your pets daily. It is a bad sign if you find your pets bored and listless. Take them out for walks. Cook special meals for them. Avoid using abusive language or physical violence. They have a detrimental effect on you pet.

Good health is extremely important. Get a checkup done at least once a month.