How to Identify Stress in Your Pet
While the holiday season is a time of joy, it can also be a time of stress. Humans are not the only ones affected by post-holiday stress that often extends well into January. Our pets can feel stressed, too. That is why it is so important to be aware of signs that your pet may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Here are some tips on how to identify stress in your pet and what you can do about it.
Signs of Stress in Pets
There are physical and behavioral signs that can indicate when your pet is feeling stressed. Physically, watch out for excessive panting, trembling, lip licking, drooling, yawning and dilated pupils. These may be subtle signs that your pet is feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Behavioral signs include changes in eating habits, destructive behaviors like chewing on furniture or scratching walls, irritability toward other animals or people, increased vocalization (barking or meowing), aggression towards family members or other animals in the home, hiding/avoidance and changes in sleeping patterns. All these indicators should serve as warning bells that something might not be quite right with your pet’s well-being.
Health Impact of Stress on Animals
Just like humans, pets experience mental health issues caused by extended periods of stress. Animals who are left alone for long periods of time without proper stimulation can become depressed and withdrawn due to neglectful behavior from their owners. Severe cases of depression may even lead to self-harming behaviors such as excessive licking or chewing on their fur and skin which can cause infection and require medical attention. Pets who have been displaced during natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods may develop anxiety disorders due to the trauma they experienced while being separated from their owners during an emergency situation. It’s important to always keep an eye out for these potential health issues related to prolonged exposure to stress in your pets since they cannot express themselves like humans do verbally through language.
If you suspect that your pet is under a lot of stress regardless if it’s holiday-related or otherwise then don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact us today at Brier Veterinary Hospital to schedule an exam for your pet so we can help identify any underlying causes behind their anxiety levels and provide them with the appropriate treatment plan going forward based on their individual needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
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