by Sloan McKinney

Obviously we pride ourselves on turning a pleasant, simple, everyday walk (perhaps in the park) into a much more rewarding event for our favorite four-legged friends - as well as our community. Turning this experience into a positive outcome for everyone involved is much more than our mission statement and purpose, it also embraces a healthier lifestyle for all of us.

Whether we’re cuddling on the couch, walking with our best friend, relaxing at home or other forms of interaction, including playtime and other daily rituals, these are all great relievers of both stress and boredom. But what else can we do to relieve possible problems with stressful situations than can cause these cuddly critters harm with their health?frisbee dog

According to the AIS (American Institute of Stress), signs and symptoms of unhealthy anxiety range from mild to severe. Everything from headaches to debilitating changes in our everyday healthy habits like drastic disturbances with our sleeping and eating patterns. Stress can bring on serious bouts with depression, anger and these disorders affect dogs as well as humans.

Some of these stressors with our canines can manifest themselves with destructive behaviors like excessive chewing (on themselves or our furniture), unwelcome urination and defecation even when they’ve already been “potty trained.” We may think they are being “naughty, but many animal behaviorists disagree and offer their assistance that often happens after the fact. Before asking professionals into the mix, we can stop this behavior and avoid this type of stress.

Before The Professionals

Recognizing some triggers before they become problematic can often avoid contacting some professional pet advisors, veterinarians and other sources that can come with a hefty price tag. For example, some dogs simply don’t get along with other animals, be they birds, cats or rats. The simple solution is to avoid this type of conflict and contact in the first place.

When it comes to wildlife, if you have a dog that spends a great deal of time outdoors, in a back yard or garden, make sure their access to the most common places that vermin like skunks spend their days days and nights, be sure to restrict the places that dogs can travel:

  • Underneath porches
  • Raised areas beneath sheds
  • Exposed places under decks
  • Unprotected areas around gardens and yards
  • Any other place these problematic pests are likely to set up house and call home

Seal off these spaces with chicken wire, fencing, rocks, bricks or whatever it takes to make sure these run-ins don’t take place. If it takes hiring a professional, then so be it, since these little varmints carry a number of diseases besides the ordinary protective measures provided by typical vaccines available from your veterinarian, like rabies. dog with flowers

Separation Anxiety

A common form of pet stress happens when you and your pet are apart, which is commonly known as separation anxiety. While some may think this is a temporary situation, some animals go ballistic almost every day when they’re without their owners. The best way to prevent this type of uncomfortable daily stressor is to ensure that:

  • You keep you and your pet on a regular schedule - taking into granted the time of your departure along with your return - giving them the same amount of love and affection regardless of how badly your day went when you return home.
  • When it’s time for your daily departure, you should give your pet some type of verbal and affection along with some reassurance that you’ll be back. Pick a phrase - no matter how stupid it may sound to you. It will ultimately reassure them you’ll “be right back,” which means the same as “I’m off to work” - in any language - “Trabajo” or “Travail” - it’s a soothing reminder you’ll be back soon.
  • Leave plenty of toys and treats to engage your pet after you exit your home in order to occupy their interest while you’re away. The earlier you begin this type of regimen, the better they’ll accept your departure. At the same time, they’ll be anticipating your return and welcome you home instead of agonizing the moment when you leave.

Sometimes stress is simply unavoidable, like at work, home or school, but other times it can be curbed and controlled given some special and unique circumstances. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, it rings especially true.

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