Does your pet suffer from separation anxiety? Do you come home to destroyed property or receive regular complaints from the neighbors that your pet barks incessantly when you’re not home? Animals experience stress and anxiety much like humans do, but since they cannot discuss their feelings verbally, they tend to express themselves through a number of negative behaviors. The good news is there are several things you can do to ease your pet’s mind and help them become more balanced, whether you’re home with them or not. Here are a few helpful tips from your Welland vet.
Desensitize – Try to take some of the emotion out of your coming and going by making the experience more calm. When you’re getting ready to leave, pick up and jingle your keys for a little while before you actually go, and don’t make a big deal out of walking out the door. When you return, avoid making eye contact or interacting with your pet for at least 15 minutes. The calmer the experience, the lower the level of anxiety your pet will feel.
Distract – Put a radio or television on to help distract and soothe your pet while you’re away. Be sure to provide your pet with ample toys to play with and a blanket or something that makes them feel secure so that they have a source of comfort in your absence. You can even use puzzle toys, filling them with treats and hiding them around the house for your pet to focus on finding. Ask your Welland vet for other suggestions of ways you can distract an anxious pet.
Work Your Way Up – If your pet struggles with severe anxiety, try to work your way up to any long absences you’re planning. At first, leave for just a few moments, and then gradually increase the time until your pet becomes more comfortable with you not being there. Repetition is key to making each absence less and less significant to your pet.
Provide Lots of Exercise – The root of much of the anxious behavior exhibited by animals can often be traced back to lack of adequate exercise. The more tired and worn out your pet, the more calm they become and the less energy they have to act out while you’re away. Work with your Welland vet to make sure you’re providing the right amount of physical activity for your pet.
Having an anxious pet can be challenging, especially if the feelings they are experiencing are being expressed through negative behavior.The tips provided here should help you assist your pet in overcoming separation anxiety and becoming a happier, healthier and more balanced animal. If you still find yourself struggling, talk to your Welland vet at the Main West Animal Hospital for more guidance.