What Is Pet Anxiety? Can It Be Helped?
It's fairly common that pet parents come home to find their items destroyed, or that their pet has urinated or defecated in some corner of the house. They may discover that their doors had been scratched at, furniture chewed, or even hear reports from neighbors that they had heard constant howling while you were away. Although this behavior often indicates hat they need to be house trained more thoroughly or strictly, it can also be a signal that your pet is suffering from separation anxiety when you leave them home alone.
Destructive behavior paired with a few other indicators such as anxiousness, fear, or drooling when you're preparing to leave the house can be a signal that they're in distress rather than just misbehaving once you actually leave. Some separation induced anxiety can lead to escape attempts or attempts to dig out of a place that can lead not only to serious damage but could harm and injure your pet in the process too.
There is currently no conclusive evidence as to why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and other don't. It's been recorded that some pets that are rescued from animal shelters have anxiety problems more than those that have been raised in a home since being a puppy, but this isn't always the case. Major changes such as moving residencies, changing their schedule, or adding/removing a family member can also trigger anxious behavior in your pet.
Anxiety in your pet can sometimes be confused for other types of behavior, especially if your pet is still growing. You can sometimes confuse what may seem like anxious destructive behavior for an accidental 'submissive or excitement pee', or your pet 'marking their territory.' Your pet may also have gnawed or chewed on something due to boredom rather than anxiety, this can be helped by simply making sure they have stimulating toys for when they're alone.
If you've determined that your pet is agonizing from anxiety every time you leave them alone, we have a few suggestions for soothing your pet and helping them adapt to the times they have to be alone.
- Beginning integrating fun, aerobic exercise sessions with your dog before you plan on going somewhere. Making sure your pet has had plenty of activity and is feeling more tired when you leave can help ease their attitude and allow them to relax. Interactive games like tug of war or chasing one another around in the yard are good examples of healthy, tiring activity for your pet.
- If you already walk your pet regularly, add another walk into the mix or begin taking them to different areas, along different routes and let them experience new places.
- Provide healthy and stimulating toys for your pet. Treat puzzle games are a great way to keep your pet occupied and also reward them for doing a good job at figuring out the puzzle. This can help entertain your pet for hours and encourages positive behavior.
- Using crates can be hit or miss for some pets. Some are able to find their crate or kennel as a safe space where they can stay when you're away or when they know they've done something bad. In other dogs, kennels can cause them to feel trapped and induce more depression and anxiety. To determine whether or not you want to use a kennel, monitor your pet's behavior during crate training and when they're left in the crate while you’re home. If they shows signs of distress (heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, persistent barking), crate confinement isn’t the best choice in this case. Instead of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate.
- Begin designating pre-departure cues for your pet to read so they can prepare mentally for you to leave. You can make them become with familiar indications that you're leaving such as putting on make up, putting on shoes or a coat, grabbing your keys by doing these actions at different times and then not leaving so they become reassured that it isn't always a sign that you're leaving, and will remain more calm.
- Beginning training on departing. To begin your can train your dog to perform out-of-sight stays by an inside door in the home, such as the bathroom. You can teach your dog to sit and stay while you go to the other side of the bathroom door. You can then graduate to having them stay inside the house while you go outside of it and begin lengthening your stays outside. Making it seem more like a fun game helps your pet a lot.
Some pet parents have looked to medication or medicated anxiety-reducing treats to help their pet remain calm in their absences. We recommended King Kalm Crunch Treats. Served up in a variety of tasty flavors your pet will lap up like Honey Oat and Apple Cinnamon. These are new, Phytocannabinoid Rich cookie like treats. Made with an all-natural recipe is made with organic ingredients and formulated by our Licensed Holistic Physician and Nutritionist. Each vitamin and Omega-3 rich cookie is slowly baked at a low temperature then dehydrated to maintain its nutritional value. It is an excellent source of macro/micro nutrients and anti-oxidant benefits. Use daily as part of an overall health and wellness program.
With the help of exercise, established routines, proper training, and the occasional stress-reducing treat, you can certainly help your pet reduce any symptoms of separation anxiety they may possess and ensure their 100% comfort for those times you have to leave them home alone.
If you know of any other methods of helping training when it comes to anxiety in pets, send it our way! Thanks!