How to keep your pet stress-free (and their skin clear)

Did you know that it’s Stress Awareness Week? Usually, the focus is mainly on people this week, as stress affects us all in a variety of ways and through a variety of means. It’s not just people, however, that experience stress. You might not realise it but pets are just as susceptible as we are, and often for the same reasons. Often, when there are unexplained skin conditions in pets, stress can be the culprit, inducing flare-ups and causing major irritation to your cat or dog. Excessive scratching/rubbing, pulling out tufts of fur and over-grooming are all possible symptoms. Ironically enough, just as in human beings, there’s a vicious circular effect, as irritated skin can also cause your pet stress and discomfort. With that in mind, here’s a few simple tips to keep stress to a minimum in your pets life, thereby reducing the risk of skin issues and keeping them relaxed and cool.

Our top five tips for keeping your pet stress-free and stress-related skin issues to a minimum.

1. Make Them a Safe Place

Ensure that your pet, be they dog, cat or hamster, has a safe place that is theirs alone. That can be their bed or a crate where only they can go, and you keep out of – where they can retreat to if the stress and anxiety of the day become too much for them to bear. This gives them a place to regroup and cool off before making the decision to come out once again. Make sure not to send your pet to their bed as punishment, they safe space should only have positive connotations to them.

2. Exercise

Just as in the case of people, exercise is a vital tool that your pet has at their disposal to help reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins – a powerful chemical that makes animals feel relaxed and happy. If you have a dog, the obvious option is to take them for a lovely stroll, preferably in a natural area. If you have an indoor cat, you might entice them to get active with exciting toys - play is yet another great stress-buster!

3. Minimise Bathing

This one is primarily for the dogs out there and, even then, doesn’t apply to all. Though some will love a relaxing soak, for many dogs bath time can be a source of real stress and anxiety. Don't bathe your dog unless you have to (their skin and coat is usually quite good at keeping itself clean), and try to make bathing as fun and relaxing an experience if possible. Even if that means lots and lots of treats!

4. Skin Irritation

Skin irritation can be a big cause of stress and, as previously mentioned, that stress can actually make skin irritation even worse! It’s a vicious cycle. We, of course, recommend that you use Anicura to remedy this. The most important thing when applying any of our skincare products is that you make it a loving experience for your pet. Use the Spray on your hands and gently massage it into their skin and coat, whilst talking to them in a soft and happy voice. For sensitive areas, you could use our Gel to give them a gentle massage - they may actually discover that applying the product gives them some instant relief. Make it a loving and personal experience for the two of you that grows your bond instead of freaking your cagey canine out further.

5. Plug-in Pheromone Diffusers

Studies have shown that pheromone diffusers can have major benefits for pets at home, and especially for cats. When a cat is stressed, that can manifest in the form of toilet training issues, spraying, excessive noise, hiding away and withdrawal (although cats do like their alone time anyway, of course) and destructive or aggressive behaviour. Pheromone diffusers use natural ingredients and are highly unlikely to contain any harmful substances, making pheromone diffusers a good choice for anxious kitties.

With any luck, your pet doesn’t suffer from stress all too often but, just in case they do, or develop anxious tendencies later in life, it’s always worth remembering these handy tips. Have a relaxed and stress-free week if you can, everyone!