While there is nothing wrong with showering your pet with constant love and affection, too much attention can result in some unplanned consequences. Unknowingly, we often foster behaviors within our pets that can result in mild to severe separation anxiety. This can occur when we smother our pets and create a dependency in them. Learn how some common behaviors can increase your pet’s emotional attachment levels and how you can control the situation to ease your pet’s anxiety whenever you are not present. These tips will make going on a summer vacation this season much easier for both you and your pet!
Leaving and Arriving
Leaving for work or vacation can take an emotional toll on your pet, so when you finally arrive back home from your destination, your pet – who has little to no sense of time, will likely react as if you’re returning from years at war. Making a big deal about your arrival or sugar coating your departure is only going to make your pet react more drastically while you are gone.
For example, by getting emotional when you are about to leave, you are teaching your pet that leaving them alone is a negative experience for you. Say goodbye to your pet in a calm manner, so they don’t begin to negatively associate you leaving with stress and sadness. By doing so, you will be desensitizing them to your absence over time.
Arriving should generally follow the same rules as leaving, meaning that when you come home, as painful as this may be, withhold from showering your pet with extravagant love for just a few minutes so they can calm down, then you can interact with them. By making a big scene out of coming home, you are conditioning your pet into thinking that it’s a big deal that you are finally back. By doing this, your pet is going to be anxious whenever you are gone as it will continuously anticipate your return.
The main takeaway here is to treat your departures and arrivals like any other activity. By maintaining a collective attitude, you aren’t signifying any importance to you leaving and coming home.
Setting the Scene
While you are gone, it will greatly help your pet’s mental state if they have a comfortable, relaxing environment at home. Conventional techniques that people practice when they are gone include leaving a TV or radio on for background noise, leaving plenty of food and water, and occasionally leaving a couple of dirty clothes on the ground in more severe cases. Leaving a dirty shirt or two near your pet leaves them with a familiar scent that can calm them down. Another popular technique to use is giving pets a chew puzzle that reveals a treat once completed, which allows the pet to associate these treats with your absence, distracts them from you leaving, and entertains them for a time. Another common practice is crating your pet. Most pet’s associate their crates with comfort, which can be a relatively easy solution for easing their anxiety while you’re gone. While you shouldn’t crate your pet for long periods of time, especially for the duration of a vacation, it can be a simple solution when you’re just going away for a few hours.
Beyond Your Control
Sometimes a pet’s separation anxiety will be so extreme that they destroy furniture, use the bathroom indoors, and bark excessively. Please note that punishing your pet for their behavior while you are gone will not solve anything and could make things worse. If the practices listed above don’t work, medication is always an option. Talk to your veterinarian to discuss the possibility of medication if you feel that your pet’s anxiety is reaching its limits.
If you simply cannot find a way to ease your pet’s anxiety, Dogwood Vet offers a service that many have found to help; Doggy Daycare. At Doggy Daycare, your furry friend will receive well needed attention along with play dates with other dogs, all while being supervised by our professionals.
Dogwood Vet is here to Help Your Anxious Pet
Whether you need advice on how to calm your pet’s anxiety, medication for your pet, or would like to inquire about our Doggy Daycare services, Dogwood Vet is here to answer any questions you may have about easing stress and anxiety in your pet. You can contact us at 919.942.6330 or reach us at 51 Vickers Rd. in Chapel Hill for any anxiety related or generic pet questions and services.