Anxiety for your pet can be extremely stressful for the whole family. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Your pet may not understand that the giant whooshing noise is just the wind, or the loud pounding is the rain on the roof. These noises and more, such as thunder, can prove unsettling and cause major discomfort for your pet. A lot of animals, especially cats, can also experience anxiety when going to the vet, meeting new people or even from small changes around the house. Another common form of anxiety is separation, where they stress excessively when alone even if for short amounts of time. On a scientific level stress is the body’s automatic response in the nervous system, deriving from the bodies instinct for adaption and survival. This is also known as the ‘freeze, flight or fight’. During this process the body produces excess cortisone and adrenaline.
These are hormones that the body releases to help an animal survive in dangerous or life threating situations, Cortisone helps blood flow to the muscles and adrenaline increases heart rate and blood pressure. However excess amounts of these hormones can have negative health benefits, (such as high amounts of cortisone can decrease the bodies immune system response and increased adrenaline not only puts pressure on the heart but also decreases blood flow to the stomach and intestines causing diarrhea, which leads to dehydration). Since the animal is perceiving the focus of its stress as a dangerous threat, these natural instincts kick in and the hormones are released.
Therefore, it is so important to manage your pets stress.
Stress can be broken down into both normal and abnormal. What makes the stress abnormal or normal is the focus of the fear. For example, cats may stress when they are moved to a new environment, they then exhibit signs of stress which you can prepare for, whereas is may be abnormal for a cat to suddenly stress about a room in the house it has lived in all its life. Both types of stress should be treated, whether abnormal or normal, as they can cause discomfort in your pets’ life. Finding out the cause of the anxiety is important to help treat it, but first you need to identify the signs of stress in your pet. In dogs you may notice signs such as excessive barking, pacing, destructive behaviour or even having ‘accidents’ indoors. These examples are all cases of anxiety that have been pushed quite far as the early symptoms may go unnoticed, such as yawning frequently, excessive panting and curling or ducking of the body. In cats you may notice signs of excessive grooming, spraying outside of the litter box, increased aggression and or changes in their eating and drinking patterns, often refusing meals.
Luckily there are many ways to help reduce the stress levels your animal may be experiencing while you combat the focus of the stress. One option is the use of medicine as a preventative. These capsules contain a milk protein derived molecule that can help contribute to your pet’s wellbeing.
Another is the use of pheromone sprays and diffusers for cats. If you believe your pet could benefit from either of these options, contact the clinic on 9581 7766 for more information on these products and advice on how to manage your pets stress.