How to tell if your pet is stressed

It might be hard to imagine, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, our pets can experience stress. Just as our routines and normalcy, were affected, our pets have been at home. Many pets may enjoy the extra company at home…even if you take their favorite sunny spot on the couch! But not all pets are coping. Some pets may be experiencing stress from the shift in routine. The noise overload from online conference calls or children’s toys could also be taking a toll on them. How can you tell if your pet is one of them?

The signs of anxiety in our pets often may go unnoticed because some of those stress-related behaviors mimic normal behavior.

Here are 5 signs to look out for:

  1. Change in body posture. If you see your dog becoming rigid or tucking its tail more, even cowering, these may be signs your pet is under stress. Dogs may even shake.
  2. Excessive grooming. You may see your cat licking way more than normal to the point of creating a bald spot. In a dog you may see more itching and scratching or abnormal shedding.
  3. A decrease in appetite. If you notice your pet is avoiding the food dish, it is important to reach out to your veterinarian. While it might be stress, it could also be an underlying health issue that would need to be addressed.
  4. Aggression toward people or other animals may be a sign a cat is stressed whereas a dog may show his gums or growl more. If you notice these signs, you may want to schedule an appointment, not only for the safety of your own pet but other family members.
  5. A change in bathroom behaviors. Whether your pet is doing their business in the wrong spot or you’ve noticed a change in the types of bowel movements, this could be a sign something is not right. 

While we, as humans, can make adjustments to stressful situations, it is our responsibility to help our pets when in these situations. Small adjustments to alleviate stress may be solutions, however,  if you believe your pet is being negatively affected by the stress and are unsure what to do, do not hesitate to call our centers and determine if coming in for an appointment is needed.

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About Us

Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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