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Signs of Stress In Animals

Signs Of Stress In Animals

October 27, 2020

Kennel and boarding facilities can be stressful for pets and humans. It is vital that staff is properly trained in understanding the signs pets exhibit when stressed and take appropriate actions. "Failure to recognize stress signals can affect the long-term physical and mental well being of both the animals and humans in this environment" (Dr. Pam Schreiner, University of Minnesota). Below are some of the signs of stress Dr. Schreiner observed in her research of companion animals:

Signs Of Stress In Dogs

  • Panting and salivating

  • Pacing

  • Shedding

  • Diarrhea/ bowel movements

  • Inappropriate urination

  • Licking the lips

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Dilated pupils

  • Trembling

  • Shaking (as if the animal were shaking off water)

  • Yawning

  • Whining, excessive vocalizing

  • Nipping

  • Growling when approached to be handled

  • Sweaty paws(leaving sweaty paw prints on the floor)

  • Increased or decreased activity

  • Excessive scratching or licking repeatedly

  • ‘Spacing out’ by turning away or avoiding eye contact

  • Loss of appetite

  • Hiding behind the handler

Signs Of Stress In Cats

  • Restlessness, distraction, agitation

  • Listlessness, unusual passivity

  • Defensive vocalizations

  • Excessive shedding

  • Dilated pupils

  • Biting

  • Inappropriate urination/defecation

  • Clinging

  • Hiding and refusing to interact with humans or other animals

Causes Of Stress In Animals

  • Unusual noises

  • Unknown places

  • Confusing or inconsistent training or handling

  • People exhibiting strange or unusual behavior

  • Unpredictable or rough handling

  • Unusual odors

  • Being crowded by people or other animals

  • A resident or staff member being nervous or acting in a strange way from the animals perspective

  • Extreme indoor and outdoor temperatures

  • Housing or resting area in an inappropriate place, not able to get adequate rest as a result

  • Requiring the animal to be up and active 24 hours a day to match the staff shifts of the facility

  • Too many animals (whether the same or a different species) within the same general area causing crowded territory issues (How many is too many? The animals will tell you!)

  • Inadequate exercise or mental stimulation

  • Inadequate diet for species

  • Inappropriate or excessive feeding of animals

  • Visiting animals from outside the facility coming into their territory

Reference: Schreiner, Dr. Pam. "Signs of Stress in Companion Animals. Center to Study Human-Animal Relationships and Environments. The University of Minnesota. 5/16/16.

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