Contrary to what you may think, just like humans, pets too go through stressful phases in their lives. Typically, most pets will exhibit certain behavioural changes which can easily indicate that they are going through some level of stress. When dogs experience stress you will notice increased panting, pacing, whining and yawning. By simply observing the position of their tails, ears, and head, pet owners can sometimes easily indicate if their pets are experiencing stress in a particular given situation. Here are some major impacts of stress on your pet.
If your pooch is experiencing stress or anxiety, their nervous system kicks up due to an increase in the stress hormone. Although they may not experience any mental symptoms, their gastrointestinal system has a large number of nerves which get affected due to stress. Due to increased activity in the nerves, intestinal spasms are caused which can result in diarrhea and/or vomiting. Although most times the effects are almost immediate, sometimes they can be a delayed response.
Just like in the case of humans, stress can negatively affect your pet’s immune system too. Prolonged stress can cause your pet to get sick quite frequently and remain unwell for a long period of time. Stress can adversely affect the production of certain white blood cells in your pet’s body preventing them from creating a certain special type of antibodies that help them to fight off bacteria and viruses. This has been identified by one key reason why dogs in boarding facilities tend to pass diseases around – since they are much likely to be under stress due to the separation anxiety from their owners.
Appetite is one of the first and simplest manifestations of stress for your pet. Most pet parents can easily identify with changes in their pet’s interest towards food. Most short-term stress sources can easily change your pet’s interest in food. This is because chemicals like adrenaline and noradrenaline are released in your pet’s body which can cause an increased heart rate, breathing rate and surged blood pressure, which is a commonly identified stress response. When all of this occurs, the functions in the body are greatly affected by the parasympathetic nervous system causing loss of appetite. However, for long term stress, this can be the opposite and you may find your pet stress eating. In cats, even milder stress can cause them to have an increased appetite.
If you have recently noticed changes in your pet’s behaviour and are worried about their health, get your emergency vet’s attention at once. Ignoring your pet’s stress can lead to several long-term health implications for your pet. In fact, dogs, who are believed to be more sensitive to stress, can even give up eating due to prolonged stress and anxiety. If you feel that your pet needs attention for stress, Mississauga’s Aquitaine Animal Hospital has a team of qualified and experienced veterinarians who can guide you on how to care for your pet if they seem to be stressed and manage their stress correctly. For more information, appointment or guidance, contact Aquitaine Animal Hospital today.