The absolute best way to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pets is to ensure they are under as little stress as possible. You may not think that stress can affect pets in the same ways as it does humans, but that’s where you are wrong, especially with cats and dogs. Do you ever wonder why your pet is acting out, seems lethargic, or possibly getting sick? After ruling out any underlying diseases or disorders, one possible explanation could be simply that your pet is feeling stressed out. Is this your fault? Chances are it’s not entirely your fault, but there are things you can do as their loyal owner to help relieve any stress they may be feeling, which will lead to a much happier pet, and a much happier you!
Dr. Paul McCutcheon, a veterinarian with more than 45 years experience, says, “Better pet care will result when pet lovers and veterinarians understand that stress is the underlying cause of every form of health problem a dog or cat can have.” He goes on to say, “a lot of people think that stress is something that only affects humans, but it’s a very real threat to the health and happiness of their pets, too.”
“It is important to distinguish between acute stress, immediate and intense, versus chronic stress, a real drag on wellness that results from a long-standing cause of stress, said McCutcheon. “The best way to support your pet’s present and future wellness is through stress prevention. Tune into the kinds of stress that affect your pet and stress-proof the ways you look after their daily needs. For instance, boredom and loneliness are probably the most damaging stress factors in a pet’s life.”
Diet is a Factor
The majority of pet food found in local supermarkets and grocery stores is processed food, which can lead to an array of health problems in both cats and dogs. This is similar to humans constantly eating only processed foods instead of introducing healthier and fresher forms of food. Dr. Paul McCutcheon recommends switching over to a new trend in pet food, raw foods. They can be found in pet specialty shops and grocery stores in the refrigerated section and are also known as “fresh” foods for pets.
Take Stock of Your Own Stress Levels
When we humans are having a bad day and come home from work stressed out, that correlates directly to our pets. Just like our furry friends seem to sense when we are not feeling well and hang around us to make us feel better, they can sense our stress as well. “By addressing the stress in our own lives, we can help keep our pets stress-free and prevent many of the common illnesses that plague them, making them happy and healthy companions for a long time to come,” said McCutcheon.
Spend Quality Time With Your Pets
One of the best ways to help keep your pets living a stress free lifestyle is to be aware that they need to spend quality time with you, just like your children or your partner does. Taking at least an hour a day to play with your pet, take him or her for a walk, or just simply sit and relax with them can go a long way in their overall health.