pet separation anxiety

Helping your dog overcome separation anxiety

Babe, I love you so
I want you to know
that I’m going to miss your love
the minute you walk out that door

If your dog could sing, would he sing K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s “Please Don’t Go” every time you walk out the door?
The signs for a dog that suffers with separation anxiety can be more painful than hearing an off-key Karaoke singer. Here are signs that your dog might be stressed when you leave:
1. Poop happens. A dog that’s been housetrained a long time can suddenly show her distaste for your departure by defecating or urinating in your house.
2. Let’s get personal. Your pet may destroy something that you like, for instance your child’s toy or your designer bag.
3. Who let the dogs out? Cats or dogs may use their time alone to make their escape, or in their frantic efforts, they may destroy something near windows and doors.
4. Do you hear what I hear? Howling, crying and whining are all ways your pet can let everyone within ear shot know he’s not happy about being alone.
5. Playing hunger games. Some pets won’t eat or may eat very little when you leave. Extended times like when you go on vacation and leave your pet with someone else can be especially troublesome.
While it’s true that dogs are pack animals and prefer your company to being alone, most dogs adjust to a family’s schedule of going and coming. If your pet exhibits some of the symptoms of separation anxiety, consider these methods:
1. Trial runs. Get ready to go when you’re not going anywhere. Grab your brief case and car keys and walk out the door. Come back and put everything back. By going through this routine a few times over several days, you’ll help desensitize your pet to your leaving.
2. Good things happen. When you leave, make sure something good happens that your pet can look forward to. It could be as simple as leaving a treat when you leave. Or another idea might be a food puzzle….
3. Ready, set, play. Distracting with a food puzzle often keeps your pet busy and happy for quite some time.
4. Mama knows best. AdaptilTM collars, sprays and diffusers mimic the same pheromones that a lactating mother dog emits to reassure her young. Many puppies and adult dogs are soothed with AdaptilTM products.
5. Anti-anxiety medicines. When behavioral intervention alone doesn’t solve the problem, talk to your vet about medication possibilities. Many patients have had success with these medications.
6. Doggie daycare. Town N Country offers active doggie daycare. Perhaps your pooch would respond well to spending one or two days a week with us. Drop by and visit anytime.
One in six dogs experiences some level of separation anxiety; however, the right strategy can alleviate your pet’s anxious behavior. Give us a call, and let’s set up an appointment for your pet. We would love to help you reach a solution and soothe your pet.
PS For the month of June, 2013, get $5 off any AdaptilTM or Feliway product when you purchase it at Town N Country!
Photo Credit: butler.corey via Compfight cc