Stress in Dogs and Cats

We’ve all had those moments where circumstances or life events get the best of us and we become stressed out. Did you know that our animal companions can also experience feelings of stress and anxiety? And, just like us, stress in dogs and cats can lead to a number of negative physical and physiological effects throughout the body. Below, an Athens vet discusses stress in pets, its causes and some ways to help your animal companion feel more relaxed and balanced.

Stress in Dogs

Some of the signs and symptoms that your pooch may be feeling a little stressed out include:

  • Destructive behavior
  • Excessive barking
  • Aggression
  • Loss of sleep or appetite
  • Accidents
  • Physical symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting

Stress in Cats

Cats exhibit some of the same symptoms of stress as their canine counterparts, as well as a few unique ones, including:

  • Eliminating outside the litterbox
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Excessive grooming
  • Hiding
  • Urine marking
  • Loss of appetite

How to Help a Stressed Out Pet

If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these things, the first thing you should do is contact your Athens vet. You want to rule out any possible underlying medical problems. Once you’ve got a clean bill of health and you suspect it’s stress that’s causing the issues your pet is experiencing, here are a few things you can do to help them overcome these stressful feelings once and for all.

  • Provide adequate exercise. Physical activity is just as important to your pet’s mind and psyche as it is to their body.
  • Make solitary time more tolerable. Provide plenty of toys and activities to occupy your pet while you’re not home. You may also want to leave a radio or TV on at a low volume so your pet won’t feel so alone.
  • Interact with your pet. Spend time playing with, petting and just generally being around your pet. This can make them feel more at ease and helps strengthen the bond between you both.
  • Consider getting another pet. Sometimes stress in an animal can be alleviated by interaction with other animals. Speak with your Athens vet to see if this might be a good idea for your particular situation.

Our pets cannot speak to tell us they’re feeling stressed, so it’s our job as responsible pet owners to recognize the signs and take action. By knowing what to look for, and working hard, both with your pet and your Athens vet, you can help your animal companion overcome these negative feelings and bring them back to a state of calm relaxation and balance.