Yes. According to research, even dogs, cats, rats, and other animals experience stress. This stress may sicken some cats and rats with diabetes.
Yes, animals feel the bad effects of stress just like people. This can be witnessed in cats and dogs that fear thunder or car trips. Classical music is said to calm them, but my cat still gets car sick every time. Pets will be seen to scratch or chew patches of hair and skin and birds will pluck out feathers when under duress. Also, animals under stress will not be able to reproduce, produce milk, or will have lowered immunity and will become sick more often. This is often studied in relation to livestock as a link is being made between the stressful conditions under which animals such as cows or chickens live and the lowered quality of the meat or milk they produce. In Japan, Kobe beef cows receive daily massages and this beef is prized for its high quality, demonstrating a possible connection between stress and well-being in animals.
In farm animals, stress can affect meat quality, milk production, and general health. Some key signs of stress include an increase in illness and unanticipated weight loss. Researchers are discovering that nitrated proteins serve as early warning that animals yield unsafe products or require therapy of intervention to promote recovery from an illness. They have also found that distributing Vitamin E to animals helps lower their stress levels.
Stress can cause both physical and psychological impacts in both humans and animals. Stress can come from a variety of source for animals including; pollution, noise, development, off road vehicle use, explosives, habitat destruction, and direct and indirect harassment. Stress can cause; lower reproductive output, exhaustion of the adrenal cortex, increase adrenal sensitivity, increased susceptibility to disease, elevated heart rate, increase in sickness, and increased morality rates.
In dogs, it is also believed that stressful environments can cause mange. Also, I have seen firsthand a stressed out dog and they seem to react surprisingly similar to humans, in their own way, acting nervous, frightened or concerned.
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