Veterinary Blog

Identifying Stress in Your Pet


It is important for pet owners to be aware of their pet’s behavior and recognize when their animal is exhibiting signs of stress. As veterinarians, we cannot emphasize enough the health risks that stress can pose to your pet. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the signs of stress and take steps to reduce its effects on your furry friend. 

What is Stress? 

Stress is defined as an internal response to a physical or psychological demand. Stress can have both positive and negative effects on an animal’s physical and mental well-being. In short-term situations, it can cause animals to become alert and focused, preparing them for fight or flight in dangerous scenarios. However, when left unchecked, long-term stress can lead to serious health issues such as chronic anxiety and depression.  

How Can You Identify Stress in Your Pet? 

The first step in managing your pet’s stress levels is identifying the signs of stress in animals. While every animal has unique personality traits that influence how they respond to certain stimuli, there are some general signs that all pets exhibit when they are feeling stressed or anxious. For example, if you notice a change in sleeping habits (sleeping more than usual or having difficulty sleeping), increased aggression toward humans or other animals, excessive panting or heavy breathing, repetitive behaviors such as licking themselves excessively, loss of appetite, or excessive shedding - these could all be indications that your pet is feeling overwhelmed by something in their environment. 

Managing Stress in Your Pet 

Once you have identified the source of your pet’s distress, it’s time to take actionable steps toward managing it. Of course, this will vary depending on the circumstances – for instance if a loud thunderstorm has caused your pet anxiety then there isn't much you can do but provide comfort and reassurance during these times. However, if it’s something within their environment that's causing the distress then there may be changes you can make to help ease their mind (for example making sure they have plenty of room to explore). Additionally providing toys and treats as rewards for calm behavior can also help minimize any negative reactions your pet might have towards certain stimuli.  

Finally, talking with your veterinarian about any potential medical conditions or behavioral issues could also help alleviate some of the anxiety your pet may be experiencing while also helping prevent any further health issues from developing due to extended periods of stress. 


Identifying and managing stress in our pets is essential for keeping them healthy both physically and mentally! If you believe your pet may be exhibiting signs of stress then please don't hesitate to contact us at Vedder Mountain Veterinary Clinic so we can schedule an exam for them today! We look forward to hearing from you soon!



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