Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Stress and Anxiety

Stress has an important role to play in the survival of any species, but it becomes a problem when it is severe or on going and an animal is unable to cope. Stress can impair the body’s ability to heal and impact on an animal’s quality of life. Stress and anxiety can predispose to a number of health issues including infections, allergies and skin problems.

Symptoms of stress can include behavioural changes, obsessive licking or chewing, aggression, depressed behaviour or hiding, barking and even diarrhoea to name but a few. A number of factors can cause stress and anxiety including extreme weather , fireworks, storms, moving house, changes in routine, feeling unwell, not getting enough exercise, overcrowding, the loss of another pet or owner, or even not knowing their place in the family ‘pack’ or being constantly badgered by another animal.

A vet check will help to identify underlying issues. A balanced approach is important ensuring that your pet has enough exercise, rest and relaxation, playtime and optimal nutrition. Sub-optimal nutrition is a huge factor undermining animal’s sense of well-being and their ability to cope with stress. Good nutrition with a well-balanced wholesome diet that is free of chemicals and preservatives and has optimal amounts of important micro-nutrients is an important first step in helping to take the edge off ( and sometimes alleviate ) behavioural disorders, stress and anxiety.

Nutrients such as B vitamins are well known for helping animals and humans deal with stress and reduce nervousness. Other nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids are helpful to moderate extreme behaviours and anti-oxidants can be incredibly useful to help an animal to ‘feel well in itself’ and thereby cope better with stress. The latter are also helpful to help boost the immune system and prevent infection.

Tryptophan, an amino acid, helps to bring about the feeling of calmness and well-being.

A ‘magic bullet’ that many animal owners make use of for themselves and their animals is Flower Essences, the most well known being Rescue Remedy. Individualized Bach Flower Essences can be wonderful at helping animals. Homeopathic remedies may also be useful. Calming herbs such as Skullcap, Valerian and Lavender have a calming effect are useful. Other herbs such as Ginseng and Astragalus are adaptogenic and help animals to cope better with stress.

There are many options to alleviate stress. Often a combination provides a highly effective approach and animals are transformed to enjoy improved health and vitality.


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