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How to reduce pet stress

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Reduce pet stress with a few quick and simple fixes

Pets seem to have an innate ability to understand our feelings. They can sense whether we are angry, depressed, tired, or unhappy. We, on the other hand, seem to have a certain amount of trouble when it comes to deciphering the feelings of our pets. They have us down pat, while we are still lost when it comes to the ways in which they cope with pet stress, and other issues.

Below, we'll look into what causes stress in animals and what can be done to alleviate the symptoms for both the animal and the owner.

Reducing Dog Anxiety

Dogs -- just like us -- will have stresses in their everyday lives. Whether it's as mundane as sprinting up and down the hallway in chase of the garbage truck, or something more ingrained, dogs will react to occurrences to differing degrees. They may show a variety of far-ranging symptoms when it comes to pet stress, such as:
  • Body stiff
  • Body droopy
  • Skin twitching
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Shifty eyes
  • Blinking
  • Panting
  • Licking lips
  • Drooling

First, let's realize many of these traits are normally found in dogs and you'll have to understand the situation before you call in the animal anxiety police. Second, though, there are ways in which to combat these feelings of stress within the canine.

Try physical exercise, as it will be good for both of you. Take a walk, throw the ball, or go for a run. Try to tire your dog out through exercise. Make sure that your dog has access to the yard or suitable area for exercising and relieving itself. A dog door that leads to an enclosed and safe yard is ideal.

Use toys or have your dog perform work opportunities with you. Depending upon the breed of the dog, they may like to know that they are working with you, with duties such as laundry, taking the trash out, doing yard work, going to the store, and things like that. It can be a helpful diversion for the animal.

Understand your own mood and see if it's contributing to the dog's feelings of tension. There are calming products to be purchased and training to be done that can help to alleviate feelings of stress within your animal. As is the case, look to your dog's veterinarian for answers to the complex questions of anxiety and how to deal with it in your pets. For certain animals with higher anxiety levels, ask about prescriptions that may work better for the dog.

Reducing Cat Anxiety

Cats can manifest stress reactions from things like a new baby in the home, a puppy, and other such "threats." Cats may show this stress reaction by becoming more clingy to the owner, rubbing furniture, spraying, and more. The cat owner should ask themselves questions like:
  • When did your cat begin behaving differently?
  • Was there an occurrence or change in the home?
  • Were you gone from the cat for a longer period of time than normal?
  • Was there a stranger in the house taking care of the cat?

It becomes a sort of detective story in which you try and pinpoint any sort of change or episode that could have caused the stress reaction. In doing so, you may be able to figure out the cause and extricate it from the home, thus solving the cat's anxiety issues.

With all animals, they'll need love, care, and affection. A good home environment won't hurt either. Exercise, play, and time spent together can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and separation anxiety within the animal. Work on understanding your animal a little better and use techniques such as increased exercise or products meant to cut down on stress levels. In doing so, you'll both be a lot happier.


Feline Advisory Bureau: Cats and Stress.

Pet Blog: Got a Stressed Dog? Try These Tips!

Above photo attributed to jpctalbot

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