Managing separation anxiety in dogs
Leaving our pets behind is never easy. A furry piece of our heart stays at home when we leave town or work long hours. Separation is equally hard on humans and dogs. Some dogs, in fact, suffer from severe anxiety when their humans leave. The SPCA says that symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive barking and panting, drooling, and destructive behavior. It can also be caused by a sudden change in routine. There are a few things you can do to minimize separation anxiety in your dog:
1. Call Us!
Hiring a professional pet-sitter or midday walker will help keep your dog calm. If you work long hours, a midday dog walker will help provide familiarity and routine. If you are traveling, a professional pet sitter allows your dog to stay home in their familiar environment. Being in a strange new place, such as a boarding facility, can make separation anxiety worse. They can become overstimulated and afraid with the loud sounds and new smells.
Our pet sitters come to your home, meaning your pup can stay where they are most comfortable. Your dog is the center of attention when we visit, and we will work to meet their needs. It is more like a trusted friend coming to say hello!
2. Leave Quietly
Dogs are acutely aware of what goes on around them. They pick up on our body language and changes in the tone of our voice. Leaving frantically will cause them to become frantic as well. When traveling, put your packed bags by the door the night before. This way, you can quickly walk out the door. Your instinct may be to reassure your dog that you will be back. While understandable, this will make their anxiety worse. Give your dog a quick pet and walk out the door confidently.
3. Make Them Comfortable
A comfortable dog is a less anxious dog. If you have a dog bed, make sure he or she can easily access it. You may also choose to give your dog a new toy or a tasty treat. Distract them from you leaving. Background noise is also helpful so consider leaving the television or radio on. We will be happy to turn it off when we stop in to say hello. Consider leaving them something with your scent, such as a t-shirt or pillow case. The smell of you will soothe them.
Exercise reduces stress in dogs, just as it does in humans. Take your dog on an active walk the morning you leave. Be sure to give him or her a cool down period before you leave. Exercise releases adrenaline that will need to normalize before any additional stress.
5. Gradual Progress
Immediately leaving your dog alone for a lengthy period may be too stressful. If your dog exhibits signs of anxiety, reduce the amount of time you are gone for. Repeat being gone for this amount of time for two days, then try being gone longer. If your dog exhibits excessive stress after you leave, take a break and spend some time with them. This process may be time-consuming, but it will be worth it.
Separation anxiety is a manageable issue. The Right Fluff Pet Sitting will be glad to help ease the stress for you and your dog. Give us a call for your dog walking and pet sitting needs. If symptoms of anxiety persist, contact a pet behaviorist. Happy travels!