It is October and the holiday season has just begun. With it come higher stress levels for us as well as for our pets.
Causes Of Stress In Pets
- Over stressed family members. When we are stressed our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol hormones. A pet’s sense of smell is greater than ours and they are able to perceive these hormones on us. As they look to us as their pack leader, if we are worried, there must be something to worry about.
- Change in diet. The holiday season can disrupt their normal diet and feeding schedule. Holiday food is richer, higher in fat, and more available.
- Change in routine. You spend more time away from home shopping and visiting.
- Extra visitors in your home. Your pet’s senses are in overload. There may be children running around trying to touch them as well as adults using different or too much perfumes or colognes. Your house may be louder than normal with many tasty temptations everywhere. Visitors may also be other pets traveling with your guests. Like us, not all “relatives” are looked forward to.
- Travel. Visiting out of area friends and relatives is disruptive regardless of whether they are boarded or coming with us.
Effects Of Stress On Pets
Studies have shown a similarity between the effects of stress on our bodies and that of pets. When adrenaline and cortisol is released into your pet’s body, the heart and respiratory rate, as well as the aging process speeds up. In addition, it inhibits the immune system, reduces blood flow to the brain, and shuts down the reproductive system. A secondary effect of a suppressed reproductive system is cardiovascular disease.
Indications Of Stress In Pets
-Your pet may suffer from depression, restlessness, exhaustion, and lack of appetite.
-Your pet may exhibit aggressive, destructive, or obsessive compulsive behavior.
-Your pet may vocalize more.
-Your pet may experience physical ailments related to the immune, digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems.
Ways To Relieve Stress In Your Pets
- Provide a quiet place for your pet to escape. It can be as simple as allowing them in a bedroom and closing the door. Or cover their crates with a sheet for privacy.
- Infuse your dog’s area with lavender essential oil in a diffuser. Do not use essential oils with cats or other pets with respiratory issues or around birds at all. Do not use candles with essential oils, as it may be a fire hazard.
- Add soothing music to their environment. My favorites are Chakra Suite by Steven Halpern, Beloved Companion by Amy Camie, and Calming Music For Pets.
- Give size appropriate toys for mental stimulation.
- Keep to their normal diet and feeding schedule.
- If traveling, plan well. Let’s Go Fido is an eBook filled with many tips for safe and stress-free traveling, as well as for when your pets are boarded.
- Extra exercise. Movements dissipate both adrenaline and cortisol resulting in calmer pets.
- Energy space clearing. Our homes become filled with stressful energies. Everyone will benefit from a space clearing. This is a great article on Space Clearing detailing the many simple ways you can clear your own home.
- Use protective and grounding stones around your home. Keep them out of reach of chewers. This will benefit the entire household. Any brown, black, red, yellow, or pink stones are a good choice.
Over the holiday season, paying attention to your pet’s stress level while actively countering their effects on their mind and body will result in an all around positive change in your life as well.