Have you ever had the misfortune of coming back to your house just to find claw gauges on furniture, chewed table corners, overturned furniture, and answering machine filled with endless messages of neighbors complaining about your dog barking and howling for hours. In that case, your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety happens when the pet gets super attached to the owner. It is not a bit of mischief when you are not at home or a little whining when you are leaving. It is much more than that. Separation anxiety is a serious condition that often leaves owners annoyed and that is why sometimes they decide to give up. If you are going through the same, don’t worry! There are some simple things you can do to manage your pet.
The Goodbyes and Hellos
You must control your emotions before making your pet control its. Don’t get overexcited or emotional when leaving your dog at home or coming back home. By giving too much attention to your arrival or departure instills a fear of absence in your pet. Try and avoid this. Instead, when you come back home, let it calm down before getting too affectionate with your pet.
Change your ‘goodbye’ signals. Try and keep your wallet, keys, or coat in a different location and use different doors. Or you can put your shoes and coat on but don’t leave for 15 minutes. This is because you don’t want your pet to associate certain actions with your departure. If that happens, you may risk triggering its separation anxiety. Giving it a calming treat or toy before you leave may help distract your pet and show that your absence isn’t as scary as it seems. This could be a short term remedy for separation anxiety but an effective way to manage the condition.
Training Your Pet to be Alone
Training your pet is a great way to prepare it for any circumstance and make sure that it can handle itself and be at its best behavior. Tell your pet to be in one room while you stay in the other. If it has severe separation anxiety start by short time intervals like 10-15 seconds and work up to 20-30 minutes within a few weeks. This could prove to be quite effective.
Exercising Just Before Departure
No, I am not talking about you but your pet. A tired pet is a calm pet. So, if you make it exercise for at least half an hour before leaving, your pet will be more relaxed and shift its attention towards food and sleep. There are a number of activities you can do with your dog to get it all tired up.
Music can be a great way to keep your pet calm and relaxed when you leave the house. Soothing songs and tunes can help them sleep. In addition, you can leave comfort items that have your scent to help your pet relax and something to remember you by till you come back home. Also, remove any stress factors like collars, chokers, leash, or crates if it doesn’t like them. You can also install pet cameras which also double as treat dispensers. This way you can monitor them and ensure that they are safe and calm in your absence.
We all love to have our own personal space. That tends to be a place where you feel most comfortable in. Your pet might benefit from having one too. So, stop pampering your pet by sleeping with it, and instead get it a personal bed where you can give treats and pet it. Their independent space will help reduce their anxiety when you are not around. Try this out, it may help you manage your pet’s separation anxiety quite effectively.
Not too Long
Try and not leave them at home for too long. Your pet can learn to be alone for a part of the day but if you need to be away for longer then you might want to take it to work with you if possible. Also, you can structure your errands in brief intervals so that you get to spend some time with your pet without leaving it for a longer stretch of time. And if you are planning to be away for a long time, try and leave it with a relative or friend.
If nothing seem to work, then the best thing to do is to approach a professional veterinarian to get your pet proper medication. Consider getting calming medication and discuss further options with the vet. A professional opinion always helps. Try and explain everything to the vet, he can help you find a solution to your pet’s separation anxiety.
Having a pet in life is a worldly experience. Have you considered buying dogs for protection for your house or emotional assistance? They are even scientifically proven to help people suffering from mental conditions. The emotional support animal concept has helped several people and you could be one too. But when it comes to your pet’s condition, you need to provide your shoulder to it as well. If your pet has separation anxiety, don’t worry! These small things can help you manage it effectively. The love and care they provide cannot be reciprocated but we can try giving them as much as we can. This is our time so let’s give our all.