Pet Mental Health with Joii

Dog with heart

Pets are an integral part of our lives and bring immense joy and companionship to us. However, just like us humans, pets also experience emotions and can be affected by mental health issues. The mental well-being of pets has become an increasingly important topic of discussion, with many pet owners and professionals recognizing the importance of addressing this aspect of their care. Understanding the signs of mental health in pets can go a long way in ensuring their overall well-being. Our vet care provider Joii explore the various aspects of pet’s mental health, including common mental health issues, signs of distress and strategies to promote their mental health.

Do pets suffer from mental health problems?

Absolutely, dogs and cats can suffer from stress, anxiety, and other concerns. The 2022 PDSA animal wellbeing survey shows that 44% of owners report their cats are showing signs of stress. It also shows that 11% of dogs display distress when left alone, and 41% of dogs are afraid of fireworks.

What are the causes of poor mental health?

There are many different causes, often linked to a change in their environment or routine. These can include moving house, introduction of new pets into the house, someone moving out, and not having access to appropriate resources such as water and a clean litter box. Not having enough mental and physical stimulation can also be a major cause.

Are some pets at greater risk?

Dogs and cats of any age, breed, or sex can develop mental health problems. Rescue pets that have been treated poorly can be more susceptible. Lack of socialisation when younger and underlying illnesses can also increase the chances of these problems developing.

Signs of mental illness

Include both physical and behavioral symptoms, such as eating and drinking less, becoming more vocal, aggression, lethargy, and weight loss.

What to do?

If you are concerned that your pet may be showing signs of poor mental health, speak to a veterinarian. It is important to rule out underlying medical illnesses first. If there is no underlying medical illness, then the next step usually involves building a thorough treatment plan with a suitably qualified behaviorist.

Tips to avoid mental health problems in pets

  • Stick to a routine.
  • Make sure they get enough physical and mental stimulation.
  • Access to key resources such as water, food, and a cozy bed.
  • Avoid sudden changes in their environment.
  • Positive reinforcement, never shout at or mishandle your pets.
  • Get your pets checked regularly with a veterinarian to assess for any illnesses.
  • Make sure to socialise your pet when 4 to 12 weeks old.

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