Monday, November 5, 2012

Pets Reduce Our Stress, How We Can Reduce Their Stress

Studies have shown that owning a pet can reduce stress in people.  Indeed even doing simple things such as stroking your cat, or watching fish in an aquarium, can have a positive effect on us, reducing our blood pressure and making us feel better.

Sadly a poorly cared for pet will live in a world of stress.  While most cats and dogs shed fur, did you know that when stressed they tend to shed more?  This is often noted in animal shelters where pets shed a lot due to the stress of being confined or living with so many other animals.

Studies have shown that dogs kept on chains are often aggressive and tend to be more prone to biting than dogs who are loose in their fenced yard.  In fact some animal shelters will not even adopt a dog to an owner who intends to keep it on a chain for this very reason.  If you do not have a fully fenced yard you might want to consider a good dog run.

Dogs who are not properly exercised, or mentally stimulated, often become destructive.  Destructive behavior is a sign of stress.  If an owner is wise they will select the dog breed that best suits their lifestyle rather than just getting the first cute puppy they see, or getting a particular breed because it looks cool.

©artwork by B Nelson

Some dog breeds, such as the Shih Tzu, tend to be happy-go-lucky, and do well in most homes, however they would not be a good mix in a very active home as they are a more laid back type of dog.

Smarter dog breeds benefit by having things to do, even such as having challenging toys to play with when their owner is not home.

Even cats can have stress.  Cats are pretty laid back, they sleep a lot, but in a chaotic home a cat may be stressed.  Cat owners are also wise to remember that cats do naturally use their claws, and should have a scratching post for this purpose.  Cats who are stressed tend to shed more, and some cats may start urinating around the house, Feliway is a great product to help reduce stress in cats.

Consider our small caged pets too.  They suffer from stress!  One of the biggest causers of stress in small pets is the fact that sometimes they are left in their cage for days, handled rarely, and their needs are not really met in this way.  It is important that our caged pets receive mental stimulation, which can be provided by taking them out regularly, and by making sure they have toys in their cage too.  Small pets often like things to chew on, and love tubes, so why not get them a tube they can chew on?

Birds are prone to stress, they are actually quite intelligent and do not like to be left alone.  Birds should be kept where they can see activity, and they do require daily interaction, especially parrots!

Keep an eye out for new toys and products to help keep our pets healthy and happy, it is up to us to make sure they are not stressed because stress shortens their lives.

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