As pet parents, we’re all vaguely aware that we should minimize the stress
our pet kids experience. As a veterinarian, I think it’s important that we also
comprehend the health risks of prolonged anxiety, too. The fact is, living in a
fearful or anxious state for long periods of time can take a dramatic toll on
the health of a companion animal.
Any time your pet feels endangered, whether the threat is real or imagined,
the body prepares to defend itself by unleashing a torrent of stress hormones,
including cortisol and adrenaline, that have far-reaching effects on the whole
body. These hormones release energy, increasing respiration while inhibiting
digestion, the immune system, growth, reproduction and even pain perception.
These hormones also decrease blood flow to areas of the body that are necessary
for movement. This is appropriate for survival in a real crisis, but when fear,
anxiety or stress continues More...