Our furry friends bring us joy, companionship, and unconditional love (and if you have a Golden, lots of fur). However, just like humans, pets can also experience stress and anxiety that can be profound in some dogs and cats. Understanding the signs, causes, and ways to manage stress in our beloved companions is not only crucial for their well-being, but also for ours. EVERYTHING IS RELATED
In this blog post you will learn the signs of stress and anxiety in pets, the signs of stress, how to manage stress and anxiety at home, and when to call the vet.
Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Pets
Pets, whether dogs, cats, or other animals, can exhibit various signs of stress and anxiety. One common indicator is a change in their behavior. For example, a typically friendly and outgoing pet may become withdrawn, hiding away or avoiding interactions with family members. or overly grumpy. On the other hand, some pets may become excessively clingy, seeking constant attention and reassurance. Changes in appetite, such as decreased or increased eating, as well as vomiting and diarrhea, can also be signs of stress. Additionally, pets may exhibit destructive behaviors, such as excessive chewing, digging, or scratching, which can be a result of anxiety. Some pets can even pull out their hair, urinate and defecate inappropriately where and when they shouldn't, or lick themselves enough to cause sores. Needless to say unaddressed stress and anxiety in pets shortens lifespans, decreases quality of life (both theirs and yours!), and (between veterinary bills and buying a new carpet because your cat urinated all over it multiple times, is expensive!
This blog post is intended to help you learn more about stress and anxiety in pets, including the causes, symptoms, how to manage it at home, and when to get the vet involved.
Owning a pet brings immense joy, love, companionship, and fur into our lives. However, alongside the pleasures of being a pet parent, there often comes an unwelcome guest - guilt. Pet parent guilt is a common emotional experience that arises from the fear of not meeting our furry companions' needs to the fullest extent. Even veterinarians are not immune - I experienced it myself when I had to euthanize my dog, Alma, in 2021 after a valiant battle with cancer. It was gut-wrenching.
In this blog post, we will explore the various aspects of pet parent guilt and provide strategies to cope with this challenging inner experience.
Understanding Pet Parent Guilt
Pet ownership guilt can manifest from many different situations, such as feeling inadequate in providing proper care, feeling like you are neglecting pets' well-being, or not spending enough quality time with them. Separation anxiety guilt may arise when leaving our pets alone for extended periods, leading to worry and doubt about their emotional state. Guilt related to a pet's health may emerge when we feel responsible for their ailments, believe we could have done more to prevent them, couldn't do more because of financial limitations, or feel like you chose euthanasia either too early or too late. Additionally, guilt may weigh heavily when we perceive our pets' behavior as problematic because they are bored and lacking exercise opportunities and mental stimulation.
Dr. Sarah Wooten is a well known international influencer in the veterinary and animal health care spaces. She has 16 years experience in private practice and over 10 years experience in veterinary media work, and is a certified veterinary journalist.