PayDay Sale ALERT: 25% Off on Pet Food

Paws and pawsibilities: can’t stress this enough!

Do our pets communicate with us through so many ways hungry? They’ll nudge you to fill their empty bowl or sit near the kitchen area. Need to relieve bladder? They’ll ask you to take them for a walk by bringing their collar belt. Pets have their own secret language and mannerisms through which they let us know what they desire or require at that particular moment. Positive communication involves our pets freely expressing their emotions through barking, nudging their bowls, and so on. However, there are certain emotions they may not be able to freely express such as hurt, sadness or anxiety and stress. Imagine a tree of life, the branches are various emotions and the leaves are the outward signs and symptoms that we may observe. No two trees are the same, similarly, emotions are expressed in different ways by different dogs/cats. Some dogs and cats are very expressive and may howl/bark/try to talk through vocalizing. However, some dogs and cats are very silent, and are maybe not to comfortable with expressing what they are going through. In such scenarios, their body language, and the signs and symptoms that they display are quite helpful and may guide the pet parent effectively. In today’s blog, we shall take a look at stress as an emotion, the repercussions and outcomes of stress, how it affects our pet’s daily life, and what you as a pet parent can do to help your pets who are stressed out due to certain inwardly-directed or outwardly-directed series of events.

What’s In A Language: Learning Body Language

Body language is a method of communication where words are not needed. It is non-verbal in nature, for dogs and cats the counterpart of non-verbal communication is non-vocalising communication wherein no barking/howling/purring is involved. Here, posture, tail, expressions, sniffing etc are involved. This helps to express emotions and intentions and can be of immense help when your pet is not-so- open to expressing their emotions via vocalising/and other such methods.

In a sense, you may find out what your pet is going through emotionally just by observing their behavioural pattern and their body language. For instance, a dog with a tail wagging is a sign that they are not sensing any danger from you and consider you to be their friend. On the other hand, a dog with a straight tail, and a suspicious look on the face indicate that the dog is not-so-okay with you, considering you to be a potential threat, etc.

One major difference between humans and non-human animals is that, humans can freely express their feelings, emotions and intentions through words. Whereas, our dogs and cats have a rather different ways of expressing their emotions and feelings. To add to this matter, dogs and cats when sick, express their discomfort via this very mechanism of body-language. They may isolate themselves, refuse feed/water and so on when they are physically or mentally upset. Thus, body language plays a very important role in expressing emotions, feelings of discomfort/comfort, likes/dislikes, etc.

Stress: A Little Pressure

Stress is an emotion of feeling tense, worried, nervous and scared. Stress as an emotion is expressed by animals as well, although in ways we may not be so familiar with it. Stress is the body’s reaction to certain unwanted outward stimuli. It may be due to traveling, change of location, change of atmosphere and so on. However, stress may also be due to certain ailments and disease processes, certain emotional/physical trauma, or it may be due to certain normal physiological conditions such as pregnancy/lactation, etc. Let’s understand this better:

Stress caused can broadly be classified into two categories:A) Stress due to external factors
External factors involve things and situations that are not contained within the body. In a sense, the stressors or agents that cause stress lie outside the body. A few of the stress causing external factors are as follows.

-Environment changes:

Environment plays an important role in determining the health and overall immunity of the pet. Let’s break this down in simpler terms :

The environment in which your pet grows, is the environment to which he adapts. Now, for instance- the house. Your pets are at their best within the houses where they are raised and where they usually stay. A sudden or drastic change in the environment takes a mental toll on your pet, hence rendering them somewhat fragile and vulnerable to stress.

-Transportation:

Any sort of transportation such as the airways, the roadways, etc impacts the mental health of your pet. This is due to the fact that they are unsure of the journey undertaken, for what purpose, etc. They do not understand the reasons behind traveling and a slight fear of the unknown creeps in. Hence, transportation makes your pet prone to stress and this is usually inevitable as it is a natural bodily response to the uncertainty which transportation brings.

-Introducing new pets:

Thinking of bringing new pets? Stop and think twice. Some pets are usually okay with new pets being introduced almost immediately. At the same time, some pets are not so okay with the entire scenario. Some take time to gel and open up. You know your pet quite well, hence, before adopting another furry paw, ensure that the pet is okay. Behavioural changes, and hostility / friendly behaviour are two sides of the same coin, the point is, which one lands first. Here’s what you can do to minimise stress while introducing new pets-

  1. Do not force your pet to bond with a new pet.
  2. Let the process be gradual.
  3. Do not keep food bowls together on the very first day of introducing them to each other, as it may trigger fights in some cases
  4. Hire a Canine behavioural expert in case your dog/cat is acting strange or is extremely agitated.
  5. Give both the old and new pet some space to figure out and adjust to the new environment.
  6. Give assurance to your pet.

-Introducing new people:

Introducing new pets and new people can be a challenge for some, while it can be a much easier task for some. It again depends upon the innate nature of your pet. Some pets can easily gel with other human beings, while some are quite anxious and hence tend to go into hiding, indicating that they are stressed. Some pets on the other hand can be extremely agitated, in a sense to protect their owners from the potential danger that the new stranger brings.

-Unfamiliar areas:

Dogs are natural explorers. They like heading out and learning more about their new environment. However, this is a gradual process and it is better if the pet themselves decide the pace of this process. For instance, if you want to learn how to swim, you will gradually take a step forward and would prefer this method over being pushed suddenly into the ocean. This very same concept applies to our pets as well. Sudden introduction to unfamiliar areas and territories may trigger anxiety and stress, and would end up doing more damage than good.

What’s the way out? Well, ‘gradual’ is the keyword here. Let this process be organic and as natural as possible. Let your pet choose its own pace. Some pets are okay with exploring almost immediately, whereas some pets are not-so-okay with the entire series of events.

B) Stress due to internal factors

This includes stressors that are internally driven. The cause of stress lies inside the body. Here are a few examples

-Diseases:

Infections and disease causing viruses put an immense load on the immune system. Now what happens here is that, our body sends the WBCs or the immunity B- cells and T-cells to fight off the pathogenic organism. This puts pressure on the immune system, owing that the viral/bacterial load is quite large in amount than what the body can handle. This in turn sends the body and immune system under pressure which contributes to elevated stress levels.

-Recent vaccination:

Although this type of stress is almost minimal, it is still not negligible. Vaccination involves injecting non-pathogenic/avirulent antigens into the body to trigger the immune response. This helps the body to remember the pathogen and give an adequate response for the same. This puts the body under stress for some time.

– Physiological status like pregnancy/lactation:

Pregnancy and lactation also put the body under certain amounts of stress which are inevitable in nature. Please note that before administration of any drugs/medicines during pregnancy and lactation should be done under strict veterinary consultation only.

Keen Eye: Noticing The Signs And Symptoms

Pets under stress exhibit certain signs and symptoms for example-

– Your pet may refuse feed and water.

– They tend to hide away.

– Socialising with fellow pets and humans is a big no-no for them.

– They bark or get agitated quickly.

– They exhibit signs of diseases (if suffering from any) for instance Diarrhoea/Vomiting/etc.

– Tail is tucked away beneath their body.

– Other odd behavioural modifications.

Key To The Lock: How To Minimise Or Eliminate Stress.

Stress can occur of course due to many reasons, a few are listed above. What you as a pet parent can do is recognise, remember and help them out. Pets cannot communicate with us through words that we use. However, this doesn’t mean that they do not communicate at all! They do. Pets talk, all they need is someone who listens. Their body language, their methods of barking/howling/hiding away, etc all speak volumes! Here are few things you can do to help them out.

– Recognise the problem:

Notice the subtle behavioural changes that may be exhibited by your pets. Early diagnosis helps in better management of the problem.

– Eliminate the problem:

If you know what the problem is, try to eliminate it. For instance, if a new environment bothers your pet, try to help them acclimatize to the environment slowly. Do not force them into things at random.

– Remember the patterns.

Remember how your pet usually reacts to certain stressors. If other community pets stress your dog out, remember their response patterns and try to figure out how they can adjust to the social dynamics. You may even consider hiring a behavioural or canine behavioural expert to help you out in this matter.

– Recognise the problem:

Notice the subtle behavioural changes that may be exhibited by your pets. Early diagnosis helps in better management of the problem.

– Eliminate the problem:

If you know what the problem is, try to eliminate it. For instance, if a new environment bothers your pet, try to help them acclimatize to the environment slowly. Do not force them into things at random.

– Remember the patterns.

Remember how your pet usually reacts to certain stressors. If other community pets stress your dog out, remember their response patterns and try to figure out how they can adjust to the social dynamics. You may even consider hiring a behavioural or canine behavioural expert to help you out in this matter.

Submit a Comment

4 thoughts on “Paws and pawsibilities: can’t stress this enough!

  1. It’s true everything available on your website for any pets . Every products are amazing all needed for animals then we are easily purchase everything and consulting with Dr. Goels Diafene.

  2. How to give Stressza.. I have been informed that Homeopathy medicine needs to be given without mixing it with anything else. My dog doesn’t take any medicine if not mixed with food. What to do?

    1. Please give the medicine directly on the tongue of pet or in drinking water

  3. […] it relates to the food’s propulsion and ejection via the mouth with force. Like humans, dogs use vomiting as a defence mechanism to assist them get rid of irritants or possibly dangerous […]

Leave a Reply

Related Post

Related Product

Related Post