We’re all familiar with the fight-or-flight reflex, in which acute stress causes the release of the hormone adrenaline, which triggers that response. However, our pets are more likely to experience chronic stress, which has many effects, especially on the immune system.
Both psychological and physical stress are scientifically proven to have a negative impact on the immune system. Now, looking at our pets sleeping contentedly on the sofa, we might think that they don’t have such stressful lives. But even the most pampered couch potato may be subjected to many physical stressors every day:
- indoor and outdoor air pollution
- electromagnetic fields, household chemicals
- hundreds of other large and small assaults, particularly on their keen senses of hearing and smell
- synthetic additives in food or treats
Psychological stresses also abound:
- canine and feline hierarchies and social rules
- behavioral modifications necessary for living with humans—such as not climbing the drapes, tipping the trashcan, or marking all corners of the territory.
Not all of these apply to every pet, but the bottom line is that if a pet thinks it’s stressed, it is stressed, whether or not we can even perceive the cause. Reducing stress, keeping the immune system healthy, and preventing cellular and DNA damage from free radicals and other toxic compounds, are the keys to disease prevention and overall well-being.
To minimize the effects of physical and environmental stress, opt for non-toxic, pet-friendly household and personal care products. Don’t forget that lotions, perfumes, after-shaves, and even topical medications you use on yourself can rub off on your pets, and be ingested when they groom themselves–or lick you!
Many commercial pet foods, especially dry foods and treats, are often made with poor quality ingredients with multiple synethetic additives and preservatives—which is why Only Natural Pet doesn’t sell most of them! Instead, feed one of our natural pet foods, organic pet foods, or raw diets. To support the immune system, as well as to prevent chronic inflammation and the degenerative diseases it causes, supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
We can alleviate psychological stress by using flower essences, massage, music, and other stress-relieving methods such as play therapy, exercise, indoor entertainment, and interactive games.
Interactive Throw Toys
We should also remember that our pets often pick up on and reflect our own stresses. Here’s a unique method to help relieve stress in ourselves and our pets: Pet Healing and Meditation CDs.