Earthquakes of seismic intensity of 3 or higher typically cause dogs to show signs of stress. In our home, the dogs exhibit stress signs in the following situations:
・ Loud sounds (ground, house, furniture shaking; earthquake alerts/sirens)
・ Other shaking or loud sounds out of the ordinary
・ When people exhibit signs of anxiety
Dogs typically try to find a safe space to escape to when shaking and rattling begins. Occasionally their bladder may spontaneously empty.
Opening a door may cause dogs to attempt to flee which can lead to danger from objects falling from above, entering spaces on fire or that have gas leaks, etc.
Living in a country such as Japan where earthquakes are fairly frequent means that we must carefully consider how to care for animals when they occur.
For some, including dogs, even relatively small or lower intensity earthquakes can bring out the flight response or even cause a feeling of sickness (dizziness).
In my experience while working at a veterinary clinic, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, many customers came for advice and consultations. This included the following:
- Inflammation of the bladder, spontaneous emptying
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of appetite accompanied by gastrointestinal disorders
- Epileptic seizures
- Deterioration of lumbar disc, hernia, etc.
While people generally recover quickly from natural disaster related stress, dogs may take much longer. It is extremely important to begin stress care as quickly as possible.
In our home we immediately apply acupuncture roller and massage therapy to our dogs at any time they begin to suffer from stress. This helps to ease tense muscles which also helps calm them.
In Oriental medicine, improving blood circulation is considered an imperative in beginning the process of physical and mental health restoration and also helps warm the body. Energy flows more efficiently and evenly throughout the body.
Stress Care Pressure Point
When an acupuncture roller is not available and touching painful areas causes increased pain, gentle massaging and stimulation of the pressure points located at the red circles in the image will help relieve pain.
The location is the area of the spine between the shoulder blades near the third thoracic vertebra (referred to as the “GV12 shenzhu” pressure point) and the fifth thoracic vertebra (referred to as the “Shinto” pressure point).
The Shenzhu pressure point is well known for being effective in treating colic among infants. Applying gentle massaging to both the Shenzhu and Shendao pressure points are excellent in helping to relax the autonomic nervous system.
When stress creates nervousness or tightness at times, at the point where the shoulder blades are nearly touching each other near the spine, attempt to insert your finger in between the shoulder blades and gently rub the area of the spine about 10 times.
This pressure point is for puppies, seniors, sound-sensitive dogs, and dogs who have had epileptic seizures.
Dogs and Humans Mirror Each Other
When we feel anxious, dogs feel our anxiety. When dogs in our families are anxious, we can also feel their anxiety. Dog lovers know this feeling well.
Acupuncture point massage helps control anxiety and will help dogs calm down but it also has a calming effect on the human autonomic nervous and immune systems as well.
It is important to remember the benefit of massage to both dogs and humans when we and our canine family members experience extreme stress.