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What are the signs of stress in dogs and cats

Even our pets can show stress: dog and cat are animals of habitand changes in their routines can trigger negative perceptions in them.

The cat, in particular, is sensitive to changes in the environment. Used to your own space at home, a move can create discomfort for the felineas well as moving furniture, litter or bowls for food and water.

The interactions are equally important: the arrival of a new animal or a new person in the family unit, as well as sudden separations, can cause anxiety and stress in our pet.

How to tell if your cat is stressed

To understand if your cat is stressed, you can evaluate some symptoms. Among them, the most common are:

  • urination and defecation in inappropriate places
  • scratches on furniture or people
  • aggression
  • vocalizations
  • extreme licking or carelessness of the coat

These are activities that signal a situation of discomfort, implemented due to the impossibility of manifesting stress in any other way and, clearly, they are more common in animals that live mainly indoorshaving less stimuli available.

It is important that these symptoms are evaluated with a complete visit of the animal, because they can also be linked to pathological situations not caused by stress. States of anxiety and chronic stress can lead to constant high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), causing real physical changes, such as heart rate.

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Stress in the dog

It’s the dog? The symptoms of stress are similar to those of the cat, with some peculiarities. Dogs indeed can be nervous, hyperactive, having extreme reactions to normal stimuli. In addition, they can more often manifest the so-called “calming signals”, or behaviors implemented to reduce aggression between dogs: for example yawning, nose licking, slow movements.

Probiotics: a valid help against stress

The stressful condition, as known to many of us, it inexorably affects their intestines causing disturbances in the enteric bacterial flora and consequent change in the frequency and consistency of stool. Integrate, in an appropriate manner, with a good probiotic, can only facilitate a quick recovery. Strengthening the microbiota, integrating “good” and healthy bacteria, allows a better processing of fecal material, a strengthening of the immune defenses and a return to normal intestinal physiological conditions (assuming, of course, that there are no other concomitant causes).

How common is stress in our pets

According to some research, more than 60% of dogs show signs of discomfort which are regularly perceived by their owners, attributing these behaviors, in most of the times, to states of anxiety. According to 40% of dog owners, these attitudes can have a major impact on your routine and on the relationship with your pet.

How to help dogs and cats in case of stress

First of all it should contact your veterinarianin order to verify that there are no other pathological conditions as well as to receive advice and therapies from a person who knows well the physiology of our pet.

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As far as home management is concerned, it is important create a safe, private and familiar environment: this is especially important for the cat. The litter box should be placed in a place other than where the water and food bowls are kept.

I moments of release are equally important: play for cats, walks and social interactions for dogs. A good relationship with the owner is another important condition.

Finally, on the advice of the veterinarian, targeted probiotics and supplements can be usedto promote the well-being of our animal.

from Giuseppe Faranda, Veterinarian

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