A New Routine May Cause Uneasiness
Back to School is here, and many of us are returning to more routine schedules. What we may not realize is that without an adjustment period, our pets can get very stressed and anxious with us leaving them alone for extended periods of time.
Believe it or not, pets (which includes dogs AND cats) can experience mild to severe separation anxiety. In order to prevent destructive and harmful behaviors in your pet, it is important to set up an environment that will make them feel comfortable when left alone in the house.
Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs might bark, chew, urinate, dig things up or even try to escape when left alone. Sometimes this behavior can indicate more training is required, but watch closer and this can also be signs of separation anxiety.
Escape attempts from your dog can cause destruction to your windows, doors and carpet and can even cause danger to your pup. This can be caused by a number of things such as a change in schedule, change in guardianship, or moving homes.
You might notice that destructive behavior such as chewing up items in your house or howling loudly only occurs when you are not present
. This can usually point to separation anxiety. Ingesting objects, and tearing up things with their paws can cause a variety of injuries to your dog.
Cats and Anxiety
We may assume that because cats seem like such independent creatures, that they would not mind if we stayed or went. Cats can experience separation anxiety all the same, especially those who have a tight knit bond with their person. You may notice that cats who show separation anxiety tend to follow you around the house, and may have excessive vocalization.
Your cat might follow you up to the door, or try to sneak out with you. They may meow or be very vocal, and start to show signs of stress as you begin to make your departure.
If you are seeing improper elimination issues, excessive meowing after you have left, signs of loss of appetite or vomiting while you are away, these could all be signs of separation anxiety.
Look at Medical Issues First
As always, make sure to consult with your veterinarian if your pet is having troubles of any kind, or exhibiting behaviors out of the ordinary. problems with urination could be signs of a UTI, underlying disease or things that require a prescribed medication. Make sure with regular vet visits you rule out any of these medical problems before moving to other solutions.
Tips to Help Reduce Separation Anxiety
If your pet is experiencing mild separation anxiety, you can try these various things to help comfort them:
- Start with desensitizing your pet by spending short amounts of time away before going too long.
- Leave them with some soothing background noise.
- Do not make a big fuss about you heading out the door, give time to say goodbye long before you are actually leaving.
- Buying pheromones such as Feliway for cats, and Adaptil for dogs to leave going are specifically made for giving off good pheromones and reducing anxiety.
Consult with your veterinarian about medications to be used with your pet in more extreme cases.