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The Highcroft Blog

Recognising stress in your pet

Monday, July 04, 2016

It is often quite difficult to work out if animals are stressed. There are usually quite subtle behaviour changes, which can sometimes be overlooked by owners or mistaken as something else. We’ve compiled a list of signs that may help you to recognise stress in your pet.

Signs that your cat may be stressed:

  • Urinating outside of litter tray
  • Digestive upsets
  • Excessive grooming
  • Hiding away
  • Excessive vocalisation
  • Not eating
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Aggression towards other pets and people

Signs that your dog may be stressed:


  • Lip and nose licking
  • Excessive yawning
  • Panting
  • Pinned back ears and low tail
  • Shaking off – like after a bath
  • Avoidance and looking away
  • Excessive shedding
  • Destructive behaviour

Signs that your rabbit may be stressed:


  • Hiding
  • Chewing the cage bars
  • Excessive grooming
  • Changes in eating and toileting habits
  • Excessive drinking
  • Reluctance to move or hunched posture
  • Circling


Stress can often be brought on by changes in a pet’s environment or routine, or possibly because they are feeling unwell. Be sure to speak to a vet or nurse if your pet is displaying any of the above symptoms by calling your nearest surgery.


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