As much as you relate to your pet as another member of your household or even your family, you may be surprised to know that even pets become stressed. Just as people panic or stress, so do pets. Your animal's nervous system is just as susceptible to environmental and relational stressors as yours is. While animals are designed to cope with stress, repeated exposure to uncontrolled stimuli can lead to health defects in your pet. You can help your pet cope, though, by working to prevent stress and using natural remedies such as herbs and behavior management.
Is Your Pet Stressed?
You may still be pondering the question, “Do pets even get stressed?” The answer is a resounding, yes. And, the fact is that animals have fewer alternative coping methods for stress than even you do. Nonetheless, probably the most important question to be asking yourself right now is, “Is your pet stressed?”
Your pet exhibits indicative behaviors when it is stress; however, you might read these as bad behavior or even just excitement. Common behaviors associated with stress or anxiety include quivering or shaking, panting, licking its lips, “glazed” eyes, tucking tail, and pacing. Your pet may also exhibit a change in elimination or even eating behaviors if stress is a factor.
How Does Stress Affect Your Pet's Health?
Your pet is susceptible to many of the same health problems that you are. Stress depresses the immune system and makes your pet less able to ward off other diseases. It is also likely to develop issues with high blood pressure or coronary heart disease caused by stress. Other health conditions that may be exacerbated by stress include autoimmune diseases, diabetes, ulcers, digestive issues, memory loss, infertility, skin and coat issues, muscle tension, and fatigue.
What Causes Stress and Anxiety In Your Pet?
Pets often develop anxiety as a result of many of the same factors that cause people stress. Some of the most common causes of anxiety in your pet include a new person in the home, fireworks, storms, a new home, being enclosed, a vet visit, or getting lost. Some breeds are more susceptible to stress than others.
How Can You Relieve Stress and Anxiety In Your Pet?
Because your pet cannot vocalize its stress, it is important that you monitor its behavior and provide coping support when the animal becomes stressed. In some cases, you can eliminate stressors by shutting your curtains during a storm or keeping your animal inside during fireworks. Some animals require more aggressive treatment, though. You can help your pet cope with stress by helping your pet avoid triggers, practicing desensitization techniques, and providing herbal support. Behavior modification is another effective management technique for anxiety.
1. Avoid Triggers
Helping your animal avoid triggers is one of the simplest yet most difficult treatment options. To avoid triggers you first have to identify the issue, such as thunderstorms, and then find ways to avoid or deter the triggers, such as providing a safe room for your pet.
Desensitizing your pet is another option. You can achieve this by exposing your pet to the trigger at comfortable levels until the fear is extinguished. Using the storm as an example, you could play sounds of a storm in an otherwise controlled environment. The more the animal is exposed to the trigger, the less its fear becomes.
Skullcap or Scutellaria laterifolia is one of the most effective herbs for treating anxiety. The herb contains active compounds that soothe the nervous system and ease anxiety. A common dose is 1 gram by mouth per day.
Keep reading for more home remedies for pet anxiety and stress from our readers, or add your own suggestion below!
Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs – http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/ behavioral/c_dg_fears_phobia_anxiety?page=2
Proven Ways to Calm Your Dog… – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/ healthypets/archive/2014/02/14/dog-maladaptive-stress-response.aspx