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How to Detect Signs of Stress in Your Pet

April is Stress Awareness Month. And like their parents, pets can also suffer a lot of stress. From everyday noises or occurrences like cars driving by to unique experiences, your pet could be trying to manage its stress levels.

Let’s take loud music, for example. Pets, especially cats, hate the crashing noises some music genres produce causing them to possibly hide for long periods to try and escape the cacophony.

And as for home renovations or general maintenance repairs, these are both something that cats and dogs don’t appreciate either. Putting the loud drills, hammers, and other tools in use aside, pets just generally don't like the idea of strangers invading their space.

How Can Pet Parents Help Alleviate Stress?

Luckily for you, many of these situations are simple fixes.

When it comes to loud music, just make sure it's turned down! When it comes to workmen, bring your pet to a room away from the area where they are working in. For days you anticipate your pet to struggle with managing their stress, take your dog for a long walk. And as for cats, make sure they have access to a litter box along with food, water, and toys.

However, many pets suffer from separation anxiety when they are left home alone. Again, a long walk before leaving in the mornings will help tire them out so they can snooze while you’re away. Toys that can be filled with either a portion of the daily meal or some healthy treat can also help keep pets both mentally and physically engaged during your absence.

A large part of how a pet reacts to these different situations is its personality. So, it’s really important to be in tune with your dog or cat so that you can pick up on when they’re distressed.

Here are some typical signs of canine stress: 

  • Destructive behavior such as chewing furniture and other items in the home.
  • Excessive barking both inside and outside the home
  • Peeing and pooping around the house
  • Sudden displays of growling, snarling and even biting family members that your dog is normally affectionate towards
  • Physical signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, skin allergies excessive licking and pulling out clumps of fur

When it comes to felines, it can be more difficult to pick up signs of stress because many felines’ response to stress is to go hide or sleep out of sight, with their level of stress building gradually. Be always vigilant of your feline to make sure they are okay. 

Here are some things that can cause felines to feel stressed:

  • A barking dog or new pets
  • New family members such as a baby and even visitors
  • New furniture
  • Loud music
  • Maintenance work
  • Dirty litter boxes
  • A change of food or litter type