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Put a Stop to Your Pet's Separation Anxiety!

For many there is no stronger bond than the one that is shared between owner and pet. This special bond can unfortunately also become the main cause for your pet to experience both physical and psychological problems. The condition is known as separation anxiety and affects millions of cats and dogs worldwide every year. Separation anxiety causes a pet to experience feelings of anxiousness when away from their owner. It can end up resulting in displays of extremely unwanted behavior from pets and is said to be a major cause for many animals that end up in animal shelters. No pet owner wants their pet to suffer all day long which is why this month's article looks at putting a stop to your pet's separation anxiety just in time for you to prepare your pet as the holidays end, school begins and your pet starts to spend more time home alone.
 


 

What is separation anxiety?

Separation Anxiety is a common problem in household pets and can cause pets to become anxious when they are left at home alone and away from pet owners or sometimes other animals. Both cats and dogs have been known to suffer from separation anxiety and it is a serious problem that needs to be attended to and put under control to avoid your pet becoming physically sick. Other animals, such as monkeys, horses, birds and whales also experience separation anxiety when away from the pack because they are genetically programmed to live with others.

The signs to look out for

You may have already noticed some unusual behaviour in your pet when you are getting ready to leave the house. Often pets will start to get anxious when they hear the sound of keys or doors, shoes and jackets being put on and even the television being turned off.  If your pet is showing the following signs then there is a moderate chance they are suffering from some level of separation anxiety.

  • Excessive grooming and licking
  • Destructive behavior
  • Urinating
  • Barking/crying
  • Escaping
  • Digging
  • Loss of appetite
  • Physical illness

How to deal with separation anxiety

  • Leave your pet for short amounts of time
    Let your pet get used to you leaving them alone for short amounts of time. This is especially important when you first get a pet as it allows them to become comfortable with being left alone. Gradually build up the time they are left alone until they are fine with spending the day by themselves.
     
  • Desensitize your pet from anxiety triggers
    Picking up car keys and preparing to leave the house can generate the start of the anxious feelings in pets. Try to desensitize them from these sounds by picking up keys and walking around the house without actually leaving. This can get your pet used to not relating those sounds and actions to feeling anxious.
     
  • Distract your pet
    Distractions can be one of the best ways to help your pet to avoid separation anxiety. As you leave give your pet a boredom busting and mentally stimulating toy to keep them busy. There are some great entertaining toys available such as Kong toys that allow treats to fall out over time and reward your pet. Freezing a treat in ice is also a great way to make them stay busy while you leave.
     
  • Try doggy sitters
    If your pet really cannot stand to be left alone then a great option is to look into pet sitter and doggy day care centers. There are many services for pet minding around these days and they have become extremely popular for pet owners that work full time. You may even have a friend that can help out and look after your beloved furry friend from time to time.
     
  • Seek professional advice
    If you have tried absolutely everything and you still can’t seem to help your pet’s separation anxiety then you may need to seek some professional advice. There are qualified dog trainers and veterinarians that can help you put together a program to find a solution for your pet’s specific problem. There is also medication and other products available such as the Canine Tranquil Formula that is used to help maintain emotional balance in pets.

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