Jan 08, 2020
Can we help battle pets’ post-holiday blues?
Jan 08, 2020
After a satisfying vacation, many of us can experience a bout of post-holiday sadness as we get back into the routine of work or school. This condition is marked by an overall decrease in well-being and working productivity and makes us feel distressed and disorientated.
Do you know that pets can suffer from the post-holiday blues too? During the holiday, dogs and cats often spend more time and playing with their owners. Once the holiday is over, they can find it difficult to adjust when family members return to their daily routines. Researchers estimated the incidence of separation-related behavior problems to be as high as 20% of the dog population. A survey shows that, in the UK alone, around 2.3 million dogs are left alone for five hours or more on a typical weekday.
In addition, the potential irregularity of the holiday diet, entertaining guests, traveling with owners and pet fostering are other factors that may contribute to a difficult readjustment period.
What are the signs of post-holiday blues in pets?
Loss of appetite, restless, yawning, hiding and gastrointestinal symptoms could be signs of post-holiday blues. These conditions can affect pets’ overall well-being.
A chronic issue
A pet’s modern lifestyle generates many other stressful situations for pets. An estimated 29% of pet dogs exhibit signs of anxiety. In fact, this figure likely underestimates the problem as up to 70% of dogs’ behavioral disorders can be attributed to some form of anxiety (Beata et al., 2007).
How can we restore the well-being of animals?
What is well-being? There are four main principles commonly used to assess animal well-being: good, feeding, good housing, good health, and appropriate behavior. Interestingly, some of these parameters can be linked to a central organ, which is often underestimated: the gut and its billions of inhabitants, otherwise known as the digestive microbiota. The microbiota is involved in gut health and comfort, but it is also associated with anxiety behaviors through a proven interaction with what is known as the brain-gut axis. Scientists have often described the gut as a ‘second brain,’ and we have all experienced the link between stress, for example, and our gut.
As we are hitting the post-holiday season, is there a way to improve pets’ well-being by shaping their gut microbiota? To find out, download the white paper: “How shaping the intestinal microbiota could help optimize pets’ well-being.”