Pet Separation Anxiety in River North
Many dogs, and some cats, suffer from pet separation anxiety. This condition usually develops due to a sudden change in routine or schedule that results in your pet being home alone more often than normal. Dogs especially can panic when the family leaves because they don’t understand that you’ll come back. To them, it looks like their pack has just abandoned them. Cue destructive behavior and attempts to escape! While pet separation anxiety is common, it can be reduced and even prevented in some cases. All it takes is a bit of patience and effort on your part.
Recognizing Separation Anxiety
Signs your pet may be experiencing separation anxiety include:
- Signs of destructive behavior upon returning home such as torn up pillows, ripped carpet, chewed shoes, etc.
- Claw marks at the door or windows (a clear sign your pet tried to escape)
- Howling, barking or whining while you’re away (a pet camera or neighbors will reveal if your pet does this)
- Pacing in a straight or circular pattern (again, a pet camera is the best way to see this behavior, but watch for preliminary signs as you’re preparing to leave)
Reducing Your Pet’s Anxiety
To help your pet deal with the trauma of leaving, it’s important to create a positive association with their alone time. Ways you can do this include:
- Provide them a food puzzle filled with their favorite treat or a special toy that they only get when they are being left home alone.
- Make your comings and goings as nonchalant as possible. When you leave, give your pet a short and sweet goodbye and when you come home, get yourself comfortable first and let your pet calm down before you engage with them.
- Leave the TV or radio on so your pet has some calming background sounds to listen to.
- Set up planned exercise/play times before you leave and when you come home. Take your dog for a walk and make sure the kids play with the cat and/or dog when they get home.
- Consider enrolling your dog in doggie daycare at our animal hospital! Daycare gives them a day of fun and play while you’re away so you don’t have to worry about them being alone and anxious at home.
- If your pet experiences severe anxiety, please talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications. These safe and effective medications can help your pet better deal with their alone time while you work on ways to further reduce their anxiety with behavior modification training.
Contact us today at (312) 643-2901 for more information about pet separation anxiety and how to enroll your dog in doggie daycare!