Do Cats and Dogs Experience Stress?


This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at Healthy Pet Network


Published by Michael

Before we answer this, let’s take a look at what stress is. According to, “Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response, a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems”.

So we know that Stress is both an emotional and mental response as well as a physical response to stimuli. Both cats and dogs certainly have physical responses to stressful situations. An example of this would be a dog or cat that is overheated. Their body will produce physical reactions that will stress their body’s systems. It’s likely that they will also feel emotional and mental stress which is related to the physical distress that they are feeling in this situation.

Problem is, that many of our pets feel much more than physical stress. In some cases, many common behavior problems may be related to stress. Our pets can react badly to stressful events in the home. Changes in your pets routine can cause stress. Some examples of this include: A new baby in the house; being in the middle of a big move; you start dating a new person; or you and your spouse are fighting a lot, etc. Things that threaten a pet’s sense of order or their place in the household can make them feel stressed which can easily lead to bad behavior such as separation anxiety, destructive chewing, or even soiling in the house. This is very much like a child acting out for attention.

Some other clinical signs to be aware of that your pet may be feeling stressed include: a change in their sleeping habits, loss of appetite, demands for affection or even the opposite – seeming to be aloof to you. Your pet may seem restless and unhappy. They may lose interest in toys and other things that typically make them happy. They may be unwilling to play.

If you notice any of the indications, above, or if you feel it’s possible that your pet is experiencing stress then it’s important to stop and think about what might be causing your pet to feel that way. Things to consider: Have there been any noticeable changes in your household recently? Are there new people in your home? Has someone important left the home? Has the routine changed? Is your pet receiving less attention than they usually receive?

Did you know that bringing in a new puppy/dog or kitten/cat into your home can be a cause of intense stress for your pet. Some people believe that they are bringing in a “friend” for their pet when they get a new pet but from your beloved pet’s point of view, it may seem that you are bringing a rival into the home. Until this all gets sorted out, this can be a very stressful situation for your pet. Many times the two animals will become good friends but not always.

Once the cause of the stress has been identified you should do what you can to improve the situation. Many times this is tough and there isn’t much you can do to change things. You won’t stop dating someone to please your pet. You not going to give your baby away to make your pet happy. But some things you can do is to be sure to include your pet in events so they won’t feel left out. Be sure that your pet is getting plenty of attention. Make sure to spend extra time with them which will help them adjust to the changes.

It’s important to understand that our pets don’t like a lot of change in their routine, especially in the household. Make sure that you introduce any changes slowly and to consider their affect on your pet. If you ease your pet into the changes and help them get used to them, things will go a lot more smoothly and everyone should be happy.

Yours in Health,

Michael Goldman

This article was originally posted and shared by Michael Goldman, an entrepreneur, teacher, writer/author, and animal care provider, who along with his wife Terry are best known as the founders of the Healthy Pet Network. As respected authorities and consultants regarding Animal Health and Longevity, they help people with their pet’s health and well being. Their “passion” is the continued development of the Healthy Pet Network Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. The Rescue and Sanctuary provides a home, food, medical attention and love for homeless or injured animals. For more information, or to reach Michael, please visit the main site at or through their informational blog at
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