Pet Separation Anxiety in Oak Park
Pet separation anxiety is an all-too-common concern in pets, especially dogs. The beginning of the school year is a reminder that the causes of separation anxiety are often a sudden change in schedule, routine, or environment, that leaves pets feeling abandoned and therefore anxious and fearful. Luckily, there are ways to curb their anxiety and the behavior that comes with it. Read on to learn more.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
Recognizing separation anxiety takes some investigative work since many of the symptoms are only exhibited while you’re not home. Look for these tell-tale signs:
- A trail of destruction. Torn up pillows, chewed shoes, and scratch marks around the door are clear signs that your pet was distressed while you were gone.
- Excessive vocalizing. Your neighbors will probably let you know if your dog has been howling or barking while you’re not around.
- House-soiling. If your pet is well-trained and only defecates or urinates in the home while you’re away, it’s likely a sign of pet separation anxiety.
- Pacing, trembling, or other anxious behaviors. Look for these as you’re getting ready to leave, as some pets will start once they see the cues of your departure (grabbing your keys/purse, putting on your shoes, etc.).
Helping Pets Cope with Loneliness
The reasons pets get anxious when we leave is because they don’t understand that we’ll always come back home. To help them cope with their separation anxiety and loneliness, it’s important to make their alone time something to look forward to, rather than something to dread. Here are some ways to help them:
- Leave a food puzzle or special toy for your pet that they get only when they are left alone.
- Turn on the TV or radio before you leave so your pet has human voices to listen to.
- Plan extra play/exercise sessions before you leave and after you come home. Take a walk in the morning and make sure your kids play with your pet after they come home from school so your pet has something to look forward to every day!
- Don’t make leaving and coming home a big deal. Leave with a simple goodbye to your pet and when you come home, don’t engage them right away. Put your things down, change, get comfortable and then greet them and engage with them.
- Talk to your veterinarian if your pet’s anxiety is more severe. We’ll be able to recommend anti-anxiety medications to help them better handle their alone time.
Looking for more tips or have questions about pet separation anxiety? You know who to call! Our animal hospital is available seven days a week to meet your needs. Call us at (708) 248-8888.