Many of us are headed back to work in the coming weeks. That means two things;
- You must ditch the pjs.
- Your pet is going to be spending more time alone.
Big adjustments like moving to a new home or a change in schedule can be hard on pets. That stress can manifest as separation anxiety. The good news is, there’s a lot we can do as awesome pet parents to ease their stress.
In this blog, we’ll discuss signs of separation anxiety in dogs and what we can do to help our pets feel better.
First, if your dog is five or more years old and you start noticing this behaviour, play it safe and call your veterinarian. Frequently, the only sign of a larger health problem is a change in behaviour. Even if you’ve had a move or change in schedule, it is possible these behaviours are symptomatic of another problem.
1. Set a schedule:
If you’ve veered off course during quarantine, we’re right there with you, but it’s time to jump back on the wagon. Start getting your pet back on the schedule they were used to when you were working. If they were in a crate most of the day, begin with a few hours of daily crate time. Were walks the first part of the morning? Grab the leash and get going at your normal time.
Our pets don’t understand why we have been spending so much time at home. They won’t understand why suddenly we aren’t with them all day. The more you can get your pet back on your work routine before your quarantine ends, the easier it will be on him or her.
2. Wear ’em out:
Give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime so he or she is ready to relax when you’re gone. Depending on your dog’s breed and age, he or she may need a high level of exercise and mental stimulation.
3. Small Steps:
Begin with small absences, like 5 minutes. This will help your dog understand that you come back, every time. Work up to an hour, but don’t rush it.
What’s your usual routine when heading out the door? Do you grab your keys before you put on your coat? Do you put your shoes on by the door? Try to mix small parts of your routine into your everyday life when you aren’t leaving. Grab your keys, then sit back down in front of Netflix a few times a week. This will help your pet disassociate those items or actions with you leaving.
5. Give ’em something to do:
What are some things you like to do when home alone? Read a book? Workout? Give your dog a little something to do when you’re gone.
Play classical music or the TV. Not everyone likes silence. Your dog might enjoy some tunes. They may even enjoy chasing some butterflies (or a cat) on the nature channel.
Just like us, dogs need mental stimulation. Provide your dog with toys designed specifically for enrichment. See our list below for our five favourite products to ease your dog’s anxiety.
1. Kong Rambler Puzzle Dog Toy: This toy delivers an exciting new puzzle game challenge that combines two toys into one for irresistible fun. The unpredictable movement and big squeak of the outer ball shell entices dogs while the entertaining tennis ball track creates an action packed and interactive play session.
2. NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Soft Chews: For use in stressful situations, these treats help relax your dog with the help of natural melatonin.
3. ZenDog Calming Compression Shirt: Swaddling, (or applying gentle, maintained pressure) is well-known as an effective way to calm babies. Fur babies are no different. Like humans, pets have pressure points that, when activated, help calm even the most anxious dogs.
3. JW Pet Hol-ee Roller Rubber Dog Toy: This toy is powered by your dog and rewards him or her for exercise.
5. Kong Extreme Goodie Bone: This is a toy that will challenge your dog and work harder for a treat. The Goodie Bone is a great option for heavy chewers. Use this toy in a game of fetch. Add a variety of biscuits, bones or gooey treats to engage your dog. Pro tip: hide this toy around the house when you’re gone for an extra level of enrichment.