when she's feeling threatened or anxious. Every kitty is different — some may like a spot under a bed while others want to be elevated. Vertical cat condos with high up hiding spots are ideal for some cats; others prefer a covered space. Removing electri- cal pollution around your cat can also help (wireless Wi-Fi routers), as can a grounding pad.
4.Excessive shedding (dogs) — If your dog suddenly begins shedding exces- sively, it could be stress related. It typi- cally starts with flaky skin that leads to flying fur. A dog that experiences an acute bout of stress should only shed for around three to four days. If it lasts longer there could be something else going on, includ- ing a progression to chronic stress, so it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
5.“Missing” the litterbox (cats) — A sudden change in your cat’s bathroom habits should be investigated by your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical problem. Once that’s accomplished and assum-
ing kitty gets a clean bill of health, it’s safe to assume something about the litterbox
or its location, the litter you’re using, or stressful interactions between cats in a multi-cat household have thrown your cat off his potty game. Find out how to rem- edy the situation here and here.
6.Yawning (dogs) — Interestingly, while yawning in humans is most often a sign of fatigue or boredom, in dogs it is more likely a sign of stress. In fact, it’s in the number two spot of the 10 most common signs of stress in dogs, right after nose/lip licking, and before panting. You can find lots of suggestions for preventing and managing your dog’s stress at that link.
ck/loss of appetite (cats) — The first thing to consider with a cat who isn't eat- ing is whether there's been a change in his environment or routine. For cats, change equals stress, and a stressed kitty will often lose his appetite. Stressful events for a cat can include
a new member of the household (either two or four-legged), parties or lots of visi- tors, the sudden absence of a family mem- ber, neighborhood cats who are visible to your cat or that he can hear or smell, moving to a new home, getting older, or a change in your daily schedule that has
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you home at different times or less often than your cat is used to. Sometimes something as simple as
changing the location of your cat's food bowl or litterbox can create stress. If you suspect a change is behind your
cat's loss of appetite, if possible, return things to the "old normal" and see if the situation improves. Alternatively, keep kitty's "new normal" as consistent as pos- sible and give him a few days to adjust. Cats need to eat at least a meal a day, so if he doesn’t eat anything or goes more than two days eating substantially less food, call your veterinarian.
8.Flat ears, tucked tail (dogs) — Hu- mans’ ears don’t change positions, and we don’t have tails, so it doesn’t occur to us to look to these appendages on our dogs for signs of stress. However, ears that are pulled or pinned back and a lowered or tucked tail are — like yawning — two more classic indicators of canine stress.
9.Feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) (cats) — FIC (inflammation of the bladder) is a complex condition that is stress related. Said another way, cats with FIC are stressed, and stressed out cats can behave like sick cats and can actually become sick as well.
Antibiotics are often prescribed un-
necessarily to treat FIC; however, stress reduction and environmental enrichment should always be part of the healing pro- tocol. I think we grossly underestimate the number of pathologically bored indoor cats there are around the world. Steps in helping a cat with FIC include
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creating a refuge at home (at least one non-toxic, safe, quiet and peaceful zone), engaging in lots of stress relieving play throughout the day and arranging for fear- free veterinary visits. Learn more about this common, complicated condition and recommendations for treating it here.
10.Piloerection (hair on the back stands up) (dogs) — This oddly named thing happens when your dog’s fight-or- flight stress response is triggered and re- leases epinephrine, causing muscles to contract that raise the hairs.
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