Like most of us, you probably work outside your home and have to leave your furry friend at home for the day. Some animals are ok with this; however, some get separation anxiety. But don't worry! There are plenty of things to do before and after being separated to help prevent this from happening.
We will share some ways to keep your pet calm during separation anxiety so that both pets and owners can enjoy their time apart without any stress or panic attacks.
Puppies and dogs need a routine and a schedule. We need to make sure that the entire family is on board and helps to stick to this routine. If your pet is prone to separation anxiety, it might help for them to become used to being left alone initially for short periods during regular intervals throughout the day.
If you know the time is coming and you’ll be gone for long periods, you should start getting them prepared. Start with leaving them alone for short periods throughout the day and gradually increase the time. This will help them get used to your absence, along with your returns.
If your dog isn't already crate trained, it might be a good idea to start doing this to help prevent separation anxiety. Being in the crate allows them to remain calm and feel secure. You'll want to make sure the crate is big enough to keep them comfortable, and they have some sort of "security blanket" with them. As they get more accustomed to the crate, they’ll come to see it as a source of comfort and security.
Fun Alone Time
I know this may sound silly, but another way to help prevent separation anxiety is to make their "alone time" more fun. Give them special treats or toys for when they will be alone. This will help them associate your departure with something positive.
Hire a Certified Trainer
A certified trainer knows and understands the psychology of dogs and will be able to help teach you some strategies and tools for managing your dog's anxiety.
As a Last Resort
If the training and trainer cannot help with the separation anxiety, you may need to look into some medications to help your pup overcome the fear of being left alone. Take your dog to the vet, explain what is happening, and they'll be able to assess your dog and prescribe medication that will help your dog stay calm and avoid distress while you're gone.
When You Are Home
They must know you missed them as much as they missed you, but you don't want to get over-excited when you walk in the door. Be sure you do it casually and not make a big "to-do" about it. And you'll also want to spend good, quality family time together, so they understand that you’ll always come home and be there for them.
Do you have a dog that suffers from anxiety? How are you helping them? We'd like to know what you’re doing to help them so we can all work together as a community. An anxious dog is not a happy dog, so let's do what we can to help each other. Be sure to tag us @vitalpetlife with the hashtag #Howtorelievepetseparationanxiety