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What are the main things we look at during a consultation for canine well-being?
20 Jul 2023
During our consultations for canine well-being, we focus on a number of things before tailoring a plan to optimize your dog's overall well-being. First off, we review the dogs history as a whole up to now. Where the dog came from, what food they've eaten up to date and how digestion and overall health is going. We will discuss any behaviours that seem to be troublesome to you or for your dog. We also take time to look at stressors that might be going on that could be triggering either health issues or any behavioural set-back's.
One main point that is recurrent in most of our consultations is stress. In the day and age we live in, there are many factors in day to day life that aren't natural for our dogs and could contribute to stress. Every dog is different and will manifest their stress differently.
There are 3 different types of stress, and then multiple sub categories that could contribute to the dog's overall well-being.
Chemical stress, physical stress, and mental stress are distinct types of stress that can affect the body in different ways:
1. Chemical Stress: Chemical stress refers to stress caused by chemical substances or imbalances in the body. It can result from exposure to toxins, pollutants, medications, or certain foods. Chemical stress can also occur due to hormonal imbalances or disruptions in the body's biochemistry. Examples include the effects of an unbalanced or unhealthy diet, exposure to environmental pollutants, or imbalances in neurotransmitters.
2. Physical Stress: Physical stress involves strain or pressure exerted on the body's physical structures. It can result from events such as surgery, poor posture, or repetitive motions. Physical stress can also arise from injuries, accidents, or medical conditions that place excessive demands on the body, such as chronic pain or physical disabilities.
3. Mental Stress: Mental stress, also known as psychological or emotional stress, arises from psychological pressures or challenges. It is related to the mind's response to various life events, circumstances, or thoughts. Mental stress can result from factors such as lack of socialization, under or over stimulation, unadaptable environment, genetic predispositions or lack of mental stimulation. It often involves cognitive and emotional responses, such as anxiety, worry, or distress.
While these three types of stress can have distinct triggers and manifestations, it's important to recognize that they can also interact with and influence one another. For example, chronic mental stress can impact the body's biochemistry, leading to hormonal imbalances or weakened immune function. Conversely, chemical stressors, such as certain medications, can affect mental well-being and contribute to psychological stress. Therefore, addressing overall stress management and adopting holistic approaches to well-being can be beneficial in managing these different types of stress.
Stress can be categorized into various types based on its source or impact. Here are some common types of stress:
1. Acute Stress: This is short-term stress caused by immediate pressures or demands. It is often linked to specific events or situations and typically subsides once the stressor is removed. (example: vet visit or grooming that is not force free)
2. Chronic Stress: This is long-term stress that persists over an extended period. It may result from ongoing challenges, such as lack of activity/exercise, under or over stimulation, anxiety and more. Chronic stress can have a cumulative effect on physical and mental well-being.
3. Physical Stress: This type of stress relates to the body's response to physical demands or exertion, such as intense exercise, illness, or injury.
4. Emotional Stress: Emotional stress refers to psychological strain caused by intense emotions, such as anxiety, grief, anger, or fear.
5. Environmental Stress: This type of stress originates from the surrounding environment and includes factors like noise, pollution, overcrowding, or uncomfortable situations.
6. Social Stress: Social stress arises from interpersonal interactions and social situations. It may stem from lack of socialisation, conflicts, or feelings of social isolation or rejection.
Once again, it's important to note that these categories are not mutually exclusive, and different stressors can often overlap or contribute to multiple types of stress. Additionally, dogs may experience and cope with stress very differently.
Once we are able to establish which factors might be stressing your dog, contributing to their behaviours, or how we might be able to optimize their health, we concoct a tailored report which will be a reference/guide to our consultation.
This report will include all the points discussed during the session, and how each point can be worked on. Additionally, we offer follow ups to these consultations to offer you support should you have any difficulty implementing the steps. These follow up sessions are also there should we need to alter our plan based of certain changes, how to move on to a new or next step in our plan, or if you have any questions or concerns that may arise.
Furthermore, if you have questions about different types of stress and how this may be affecting your dog, or if you'd like to know more about well-being and our consultations, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we can discuss with you further.
-The Muso & Spaw Team