In November 2015 I had the privilege of attending the Purina Better With Pets Summit in NYC. It was a phenomenal learning experience, and I sure hope I can attend again in the future! The theme of this year’s summit was emotional wellness and during the discussion panels, the talk about stress in our pets peaked my interest the most. The more I delve into the life of animals, the more I realize that they are so extremely emotional and sensitive, just as humans are. So how do we manage our pet’s stress? Is there good and bad stress? What can I do to make my dog or cat less stressed out?
These are questions that many pet parents ask themselves, and really, there are some simple solutions. The Millenials (ages 17-30) are having less children and more pets. It has been scientifically proven that people who don’t have kids focus more attention and bond closer to pets. With this comes the need to make sure our pets are always happy and healthy. Did you know that one in three households has a cat?! That’s a lot! Millenials are taking advantage of these statistics by changing how we work and interact with our dogs and cats. Our pets often spend more time in our homes than we do, so let’s take that into consideration when making a better environment for our pets.
How to help your stressed or bored dog:
- Food puzzles – these are one the best enrichment tools. For a dog that needs a lot of mental stimulation, food puzzles will definitely help. They give dogs an outlet to work their minds, instead of becoming bored. Boredom leads to stress.
- Dog runs are a bad idea – they encourage repetitive behavior. Would you want to walk around in the same rectangle of space everyday? I think you would get bored too. This repetitiveness leads to boredom and stress.
- Calm music – proven to reduce cat’s and dog’s stress levels.
- Pastel colors – I didn’t know this, but pastel colors can be calming for our pets! How cool is that?! So let’s try to use pastel blankets, toys and pet beds!
- Lighting – Can you believe that lighting can be a factor in our pets’ stress?! It’s true! Avoid fluorescent lights in your home. They are not good for animals because of the non-spectrum peaks. Humans don’t really like them either, so replace those ugly fluorescent lights!
- If you have dogs AND cats in your household, that cats should always be able to get away from the dogs if they want. Make sure they have a safe place, like a tall kitty condo!
- Cats like routine – Honestly, I think most humans do too! Change can be a huge stress factor for cats. They like things unchanged.
- Interact with your pets – playtime and daily walks are vital for a healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t exercising your dog’s body and mind, they will get bored and stressed very easily! Exercise is probably the most important thing to avoid stress and boredom!
- Give them chews – Bully sticks, Kong toys, Flavorit chew bones…give them something fun and healthy to chew on so your dog doesn’t chew up your couch.
Today, dogs are more of a family member than a pack member. Twenty years ago, about 18 million dogs and cats were being euthanized in shelters each year. Now it’s down to four million. While that is a MASSIVE improvement, we can do better and we are headed that way! With all of this continuous education about our pets, people are truly seeing how amazing animals are and that they can be an important member of the family. By learning about the stress in our pets and how to manage it, we’re constantly teaching more to people who may need the education. It just gets better with time!
So why should we believe what the researchers and scientists tell us? Well, Purina is investing in the future of people and pets. There are many reasons to believe in this wonderful company:
- Purina has over eight decades of experience in pet nutrition, and they do more proprietary research than any other company.
- They have a team of over 400 scientists, including nutritionists, behaviorists and veterinarians. Their research is ethical and non-invasive for pets.
- The safety, efficacy and quality of their products are their top priority.
- All Purina foods either meet or exceed AAFCO’s guidelines.
- 99% of Purina pet food products sold in the US are made in their own plants.
- Across the company, Purina invested over 30 million dollars in pet welfare and pet communities in 2011 alone!
- Purina continues to become more sustainable. For example, they developed a pet food bad that is made from at least 92% renewable materials.
- A large number of top show dogs are Purina-fed dogs, including the last seven Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show Champions.
- Many Purina employees feed their pets Purina products and even bring their pets to work!
- Purina proudly stands behind their products and will gladly refund any purchase that fails to meet consumer expectations.
You can learn more about how Purina is bringing people and pets together, and read more details about how to create a better environment for your dog or cat. A happier pet means a happier and healthier family!