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How to recognize the symptoms of stress in pets?

Their life is not always a long calm river, curled up in a ball in front of a good fire or rushing through the meadows with their ears in the wind. Subjects, like us very often, to stress, they manifest it with many variations.

Behavioral disorders, allergies, digestive disorders, skin problems, impurity, we think of organic health problems: but as for humans, once the biological causes have been evacuated, we must consider the psychological track: deprived of speech, it is their way of telling us that they do not feel good. A quick tour of the causes of their stress.

A sad dog with his master

A sad dog with his master – Source: spm

Dogs under pressure

They are part of the family, living in osmosis with us and reacting to all the events that occupy us. Hyper-ritualized, by observing us they know at all times what is going to happen and register our mood swings even before we are aware of them. Destabilized by all these changes, which they do not understand, they are victims of stress shots, which they will express according to their personality in many different ways. The life of a lizard is not always linear, and changes in its routine such as a move, the departure of a member of its human herd or the arrival of a new human or animal are for some of them a real test. So if his behavior changes, if he becomes less obedient, less attentive, evasive, fearful, even aggressive or depressed, don’t accuse him of becoming temperamental, but rather bypass what may have been changing.

A communicative fear

During a walk, you meet a relative who seems like a danger to you: your dog is completely calm and sociable, but he senses your fear and becomes aggressive, it is your stress, not his.

He shows his discomfort

Occasionally you noticed certain signs that something was wrong. His pupils dilate, his hair stands up, he gives the impression of being ready to fight or flee, his barking is usually deliberate, exaggerated, goes from “alert someone is coming” mode to “distress” for no apparent reason . He pants faster, trembles, yawns when asked, spits profusely and can sometimes get messy. An extraordinary situation that caused temporary stress. The right behavior to adopt: no reprimand, discover the cause of the discomfort, remove it, keep it calm. Moreover, the real mushroom dog, sensitive to our morals, is easily destabilized by our moods. Scientists had explained how a human could transfer his stress or other emotions to his dog in short, very intense moments. In young dogs that do not yet control their sphincter muscles, owners often mistake the pee of joy associated with the feeling of reunion with a regression in toilet training. This usually clears up naturally within a few months, but can reappear in highly sensitive adults under special circumstances. Thus, violent noises, storms, vacuum cleaners, misunderstood anger of the master, installation in a new family on the occasion of an adoption can cause the animal to go back.

A cat is hiding under the sofa

A cat hidden under the sofa – Source: spm

The stressed cat’s discretion

An ally of man for his ability to rid him of rodents long before the dog, the cat knew how to keep his distance from our moods. Bully a dog without him understanding the reason, he will come back to you with his tail down to be forgiven for annoying you! Don’t trust the cat to forget your loss of control: it will take time to regain its trust. However, our twins are not immune to stress. But the reasons are different. Dilated pupils, protruding ears, bristling hair, wagging tail, your cat is in a state of intense stress. Basically territorial, the cat is attached to its habitat and finds it difficult to support a human or four-legged stranger who settles there. Very sensitive to new smells, he can mark an unfamiliar object or article of clothing in his territory with a jet, this is a sign of his discomfort. Also very ritualized, he appreciates stability, routine and regularity: any change of his residence is a risk of him disappearing to find the one he knew. Similarly, canned goods transport, visits to the vet or any unusual event are triggering factors. Stressed, in a state of permanent vigilance, he can develop ocds, such as sudden and repeated hyperactive behavior, conversely, he can remain motionless, hidden for hours under furniture, refuse to eat or, on the contrary, complain without stopping or blocking his intestines and bladder.

“The calmer and calmer you are, the more your animal will be. »

A talking body

Several biological symptoms are common to dogs and cats. On the dermatological level, in a state of stress, the two species may indulge in hair pulling, self-mutilation or compulsive licking to soothe themselves to the point of causing sores, most commonly located on the legs. We also see the hair becoming flaky when the stress is intense, such as during a visit to the vet. On the hormonal level, stress increases the secretion of cortisol, hormones that disrupt the proper functioning of white blood cells, cells that protect the body. The immune system is thus more vulnerable and exposed to the development of infectious diseases. A cat that seemed perfectly healthy can, under stress, develop a disease of which it was previously a healthy carrier, such as coryza, calici virus. The digestive system, like in humans, is often the first to react in case of stress. The bladder is a conductive organ in case of stress, hence the frequent behavior of impurity. Chronic stress-causing stones can thus promote the development of urinary tract disorders or diarrhea that is resistant to treatment. To anticipate a stressful situation, your vet can prescribe probiotics, these beneficial live bacteria that promote good gut health in them like us, in addition to having a calming effect on dogs and cats.

also read If you notice these unusual symptoms in your dog, take him to the vet immediately.

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