Does your dog pace, whine or appear stressed when you leave the house? Your pet might be experiencing separation anxiety. It is a very common issue with our canine friends. Separation anxiety occurs when a dog becomes stressed after its owner leaves it alone. It can lead to many unwanted behaviors resulting in an unhappy owner and pet.
It is hard to know the cause of separation anxiety, but there are several solutions to try out in relieving your dog’s stress.
• First, you should always have your pet checked out by a veterinarian to ensure it is not suffering from underlying medical issues. Your vet can also help create an action plan to eliminate your dog’s separation anxiety.
• Exercise and play with your dog on a daily basis.
• Go through your normal routine of leaving (put on your shoes, grab your purse or keys, etc.) but do not leave. Repeat your routine throughout the day without opening the door.
• Practice leaving for shorter periods of time.
• Do not make a big deal of saying goodbye to your dog.
• Distract your pet with toys during your absence.
• Allow your dog to have a recently worn T-shirt or clothing item that smells like you.
• Consult with an animal behavior specialist if your pet’s anxiety is severe.
Separation anxiety will not go away overnight, but do not give up on your dog. With some time and patience, your dog can be happy and stress free while you are away.
Information provided by Carrie Bonnett, owner, Downtown Doggy Daycare, 724 Scott St., Des Moines, 288-0957.