Stress Awareness Month in April: Taking Care of Your Pet’s Mental Health

April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month, and many of us may take some time to assess our mental health and well-being – but what about the mental health of our precious pets?

Nina Downing, PDSA Veterinary Nurse, said: “We all know how important it is to monitor our own well-being, but unfortunately our pets can also be affected by stress and anxiety. Although our furry friends can’t tell us how they feel, there are many other ways to spot the signs of stress and many things we can do to help our pets live happy, healthy lives.

Spotting signs of stress in pets

“The most common signs of stress are changes in behavior, lack of energy or lack of appetite. If your dog is stressed, you may see him hiding, panting, or licking his lips even if he’s not warm, exercising, or eating. Their body may feel tense or yawn when they are not tired. In some cases, they may begin to display unwanted and destructive behavior or go to the bathroom in strange places. Cats may also behave differently, hiding, appearing tense, and grooming themselves somewhere other than their litter box. Cats can even become physically ill from stress, with some developing stress-induced cystitis and other conditions. Rabbits and other small pets aren’t immune to stress and anxiety either, so whatever your pet is, be sure to meet their 5 wellness needs to help reduce the risk of stress.

quality time

“Companionship is one of the 5 wellness needs of a pet and an essential part of the overall wellbeing of our pets, so we need to take a little time each day to give them our love. and our attention in a way our pet appreciates.It can be hard to prioritize quality time between busy schedules, but walks and playtime are so important – it helps your pet burn off energy accumulated and keeps him mentally stimulated, making him relaxed and happy.

Creation of a safe space

“Just as we may have a favorite place to relax, our pets need their own space where they feel safe, especially when we are away from home. This can be a den, a crate (if crate trained), box or bed – just make sure it is in a quiet place with access to food and water and enough room to roam around in. Cats often prefer a safe place somewhere up high.

“Leaving background noise such as a radio can also help some animals feel more relaxed if you have to leave them alone for long periods of time, but remember that dogs should not be left alone for more than 4 hours at a time. that time.

Consistency is key

“Stick to a consistent routine is a great way to reduce stress for our pets, so try to stick to their regular feeding and exercise routines whenever possible. It’s best to implement any major changes, such as a new work schedule, gradually to allow your pet to adjust to the change in their daily life.

PDSA is the UK’s largest veterinary charity providing a vital service to pets across the UK whose owners struggle to pay the cost of treating their sick and injured animals. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help their owners when they have nowhere to turn. People’s Postcode Lottery player support helps us reach even more pet owners with vital tips and information.

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