Volume 6 Issue 6

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Page 18 | Abby's Magazine - Not only do animals have their own list of issues that result in stress and anxiety, but they also entrain (take on) the stress and anxiety of the family they live with! Stress and anxiety release the stress hormone cor sol. Cor sol damages the gut lining leading to inflamma on. Inflamma on is the underlying cause of ALL disease! Though it is easy to blame "stress", a catch all term we throw around as an excuse for illness and dis-ease, do not overlook the possibility that your fur babies stress, anxiety or depression could be related to a physical issue. Whatever the underlying cause, these stressors can lead to serious health challenges. Anxiety may be the result of fears and phobias Dogs may exhibit constant barking, excessive licking or grooming, destroying household objects, elimina ng indoors even when housebroken and bi ng or aggressive behavior toward people or other animals. Other signs include shaking or trembling, too clingy, hiding, not ea ng, pacing and pan ng. Cats may respond to sudden noises (fireworks and lightening storms are a huge issue in Florida) and changes in the household (new people or pets). They are sensi ve to odors and too many other cats in the house. Step one is to iden fy the underlying cause of the anxiety. Is it separa on anxiety, being confined, noises, changes in the household rou nes or is it triggered by certain objects, people or situa ons. Things to never do to a cat or dog 1. Never hit or use capital punishment to teach or correct your pet. They won't understand and you damage the trust they had in you. 2. Never assume they know how to speak your language. Animals communicate using body language. Dogs are not the only ones that can learn tricks, try teaching your cat what you want them to do, just make your expecta ons clear to them and use posi ve reinforcement (reward them for doing it right). 3. Never create a nega ve experience. Create pleasant, well tolerated grooming experiences with lots of posi ve reinforcement. Warning, many cats get irritated by an extended period of repe ve stroking. 4. Never hold pets too ghtly, they an cipate danger and may feel trapped. 5. Never leave the cat's li er box(s) dirty for more than 1 day. Would you want to po y in a dirty, s nky porta po y? Scoop daily or more as needed. 6. Never put a cat's li er box(s) in a high traffic or hard to get to place. Offer at least 1 more box than the number of cats in the household and place them in quiet safe loca ons. Uncovered li er boxes are best. 7. Never play hide and seek with a cat (wiggle your hand or foot under the covers to get them to pounce or they will do this when you are sleeping) or tug of war with your dog (this promotes aggression between your pet and you). 8. Never use chemicals, strong smelling cleaners or petroleum- based products around pets, especially cats, who have an incredibly sensi ve sense of smell. 9. Never bring new animals into the home without an introduc on period. 10. Never stare in a pet's eyes for a prolonged period of me. Direct prolonged eye contact with dogs especially, is very confronta onal. In canine body language, it suggests you would like to interact—and not necessarily in a good way. Stress Relievers 1. Exercise daily, it s mulates the produc on of serotonin, that feel-good chemical, and it gets rid of pent-up energy and tension that can exacerbate anxiety. For dogs, try a game of fetch, go on a hike, and let your dog run alongside you while you bike or do other favorite ac vi es. For the feline kids, en ce the stalking and pouncing behavior with fishing pole games or laser tag. This is especially beneficial before meals to heighten their appe te. Stress, Anxiety and Depression The 20th Century Epidemic

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