Every single being, human or canine, encounters stress at some point in our lives. While the effect of stress is commonly thought of as negative, it can also be powerfully positive, giving us the opportunity to learn how to cope with new, unusual or uncomfortable things that we encounter.
However, some beings are more sensitive to the effects of stress than others. Body systems help cope with and mitigate stress by releasing hormones. The result may be increased blood pressure, sweating, shaking (releases of energy) or increased cortisol levels, commonly known as a "fight-or-flight” response. Typically, once the event is over, cortisol levels return to normal. However, if these events continue repetitively, without learning techniques to overcome them and normalize responses, the increased cortisol levels can weaken the immune system, when stimulated too often or for too long.
While an active immune system helps maintain health, stress impacts your body’s ability to cope with future illnesses. Excessive stress raises cortisol levels, the immune system is overstimulated, and the result is inflammation, which we all know is not good on the body. The adrenal glands that regulate the release of cortisol become fatigued, slowing their ability to respond and further suppressing the immune system, putting your dog, or you, at higher risk of illnesses.
If you have a dog that reacts nervously or anxiously, how are you helping your dog learn to cope with these perceived stressors? Ignoring your dog’s response, or just chalking it up to his being a nervous nelly may actually be reducing his ability to be healthy and cope with life. When your dog is reactive to other other dogs on walks, is unduly nervous during storms or when visitors come to your home, is constantly pacing around the house rather than calming down, these are all signs of nervousness and anxiety.
How can you help them? Identify what triggers a stress response in your dog and put a plan together to help them work through the stress, in a planned and managed way, to increase the physical and mental health of your dog. Further support your dog’s immune and endocrine systems, to support their overall health and wellness, through the use of high quality, natural remedies, such as Young Living Essential Oils and oil based supplements, in lieu of low quality supplements and foods that can become toxic to your dog’s system and cause even further damage.
If you need help developing a training plan to help your 4-legged friend, we can help you! Go to our Contact US page or follow us on Facebook.