Stressed dogs suffer from a myriad of symptoms and diseases. Most often, the environment or the food gets the blame. Some believe genetic factors are paramount, while others consider vaccinations the culprit. And yes, these are undoubtedly important in the development as well as the life span of your dog. But possibly, this isn’t the end-all of the story. What about the emotional stress of the dog? What, if any, does the mindset of your pet have to do with its overall health?
The first thing to consider is the daily activity – or lack of – your dog experiences. Do they have the opportunity to run for exercise or not? Does this seem to stress the dog? Is there over-excitement when allowed to go outside for a potty break? Are there behavioral issues with other dogs in the yard? These symptoms may be an issue for your pet. Lack of freedom increases stress hormones, which leads to disease.
Like humans, stress-related situations for your pet cause long-range problems – immune disorders and chronic disease, for example. Indeed, fear is a significant factor in the life of a dog. Fear of attack, much the same response as fear of discipline, has harmful effects on your dog. And constant pressure from their environment plays an important role in long-term health issues. Science has recently uncovered another physiological result of animal stress – it causes a shortening of telomeres (the end of the chromosome), which is a precursor of chronic disease and lack of longevity.
What to do?
Get your pet out of the house as often as possible. Exercise and a balanced diet with plenty of meat-source protein are necessary for your dog. Offer some raw protein several times each week. Most importantly, treat your dog well. Respect the ability of your pet to make some of their own decisions. Relax, and pick your battles! Want to learn more about keeping your dog healthy and happy?