Wed 7th Dec 2022

Vets in Devizes highlight the signs of a stressed small pet

We often think of our small furry friends as being carefree and happy. It’s hard sometimes to understand that our small furry pets such as rabbits, guinea pig, hamsters, mice, gerbils, rats etc. may suffer from stress too. The vets at our Devizes veterinary practice have some helpful advice on the topic.

According to Vet Scott Carpenter, as small prey creatures they are quite a sensitive group of animals and it’s important that we learn what may cause stress and what signs there may be that they are not happy.

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As prey species small mammalian pets have an instinct for stress-related behaviours and this can be due to many factors such as changes in environment, social constraints whether it be interaction with others of the same species or too much interaction where they may be handled too much.

It’s important to know that they are continuously assessing their surroundings and looking for those potential threats giving them a very heightened level of anticipation leading to stress.

Potential triggers

Scott Carpenter says that simple things in their day-to-day life that we inflict such as dietary change, moving into a new home or changes to their habitat can all induce stress. Cleaning too regularly especially with strong levels of disinfectant can also be triggers to certain species.

Signs of stress

If you are concerned your pet may be feeling stressed some of the signs include:

  • Hiding
  • Fidgety when handled
  • Freeing when you approach
  • Decreased activity
  • Changes in appetite
  • Behaviour changes
  • Excessive grooming
  • Fighting with cage mates

Your pet may only have one or multiple signs that they are feeling stressed, and it is very important that we address those issues before it starts to impact their health.

Stress behaviours such as overgrooming or fighting can lead to injuries which can be very difficult to treat so helping to limit those behaviours by reducing any stress factors is very important.

If you are concerned your pet is stressed, then book a consultation with Estcourt Vets’ nursing team and they can help discuss what may be causing the potential stress and how to limit its effects on them.

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