Last Updated on February 18, 2022 by Dogs Vets
How to Handle Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
Going away on holiday isn’t as straightforward when you have the responsibility of a pet, and the feeling of guilt exponentially increases if you have a dog with separation anxiety. However, if you need to find a solution for your clingy canine, then we have you covered.
Signs your dog has separation anxiety
According to advice from the American Kennel Club, an adult dog should not be left alone for more than six to eight hours at a time. However, the amount of time is not fixed and depends on your dog’s breed, size, age, routine, health, and temperament. If you feel that your dog might be showing signs of separation anxiety, look for these clues:
· Change in their eating behaviour
· Urinating indoors
· Excessively barking, panting, or howling
· Destroying furniture
· Scratching doors, walls, floors, or their bedding
· Excessive drooling or licking of themselves
· Attempting to escape
How to assist your dog with separation anxiety
Dogs are inherently social creatures, and you are the leader of their pack. As such, it isn’t surprising that they will feel out of sorts when you leave, and taking your dog with you isn’t always a realistic option. However, this feeling of separation anxiety can be reduced by following one or more of these tips:
Training for dog sitting
If you already know who will be taking care of your dog when you go away, try to get your dog slowly accustomed to the experience. This might mean having them sleep over with a friend, or having a dog sitter come to your house for a visit.
Alternatively, look into dog daycare, where your pet will receive socialization, support, and love whenever you need to be gone for longer than a few hours.
Anxiety is a condition that can affect humans and our pets and sometimes requires medical intervention if the stress limits daily life. A veterinarian can prescribe medication that can alleviate separation anxiety, but some types of medication can take a while to build up in your pet’s system and become effective.
Favorite toys, bed, food
If you intend to have your pet staying outside of your home for the duration of your holiday, it’s worthwhile to pack your dog their own overnight bag. Be certain to include their dog bed, favorite toys, choice of dog food, and preferred treats. Ideally, put in a towel that you’ve used or a shirt or two from the laundry basket so they have something with a familiar scent.
Video chat with your dog
Researchers at the University of Glasgow invented the DogPhone, which allows your dog to shake a ball and trigger a video phone call with their owner. This means that regardless of where you are, you can see and speak with your pet and put their mind at ease, as long as you have an internet connection.
However, it could be a long wait before the technology is ready for market. In the meantime, consider keeping on background music or the television so that your dog doesn’t feel alone.
Remember that a pet that is busy socializing and getting adequate exercise is less likely to showcase the destructive signs of separation anxiety.
However, like with any mental illness, it is integral to understand that anxiety is real and seek professional help if required.
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