Even dogs suffer from stress

Mon, 31 Oct 2005

Modern living is proving too stressful for dogs as a new report shows that record numbers of dogs are suffering from stress.

The survey conducted by Direct Line reveals that a quarter of dog owners think their dogs may be suffering from stress but the blame is put on not being able to spend enough time with them.

Pet owners realise their lives are hectic and stressful and fear that their anxieties are passed on to the animals.

Chris Price of Direct Line Pet Insurance said, "Dogs are very sensitive to their owners' moods and pick up on when they are unhappy, unwell or under pressure."

"Sadly, it seems that this empathy can lead to them suffering from stress themselves and requiring treatment for conditions such as diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of fur."

Out of the 1,100 people surveyed, 25 per cent said they were too busy to take their dog for a daily walk. This goes against the advice given by vets, who recommend two outings a day for dogs.

Roger Mugford, heads the Animal Behaviour Centre in Chertsey, Surrey said, "More women are going out to work, more people are living alone and the demands of work seem to have increased on everyone. The result is that dogs are being left locked at home for long periods and they can find it very traumatic.

"I estimate that nine out of 10 dogs I treat do not have enough contact with people."

Mr Mungford feels that the stress is caused by separation issues. His research shows that a dog’s heart rate can double when the owner leaves the house in the morning. As time moves on it will slow quite dramatically showing that the dog is becoming miserable.

Solutions for this vary greatly from taking the dog to work or leaving the dog at a drop off day centre.

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