Whether it’s a holiday or a planned family vacation, dog owners may sometimes choose to leave their pets behind while they travel or leave home for an extended period of time. Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety or distress, and that can lead to them making messes or damaging some items in your home. Here are a few tips to help your pets feel less stressed over a lengthy departure.
Experts suggest ways to modify your dog’s isolation distress or separation distress. The following tips can be helpful ways to put your dog at ease as you prepare to leave him alone:
• Exercise your dog well ahead of the time you leave. A tired dog has less energy with which to be anxious and destructive. End the exercise 20-30 minutes before you go so he has some time to settle down.
• Five minutes before you leave, give him a well stuffed Kong to take his mind off your imminent departure.
• Keep arrival and departures low-key. No huggy-kissy scenes. If he gets excited and jumps all over you when you arrive home, ignore him for the first few minutes, then calmly pet him.
• Diffuse your departure routine by doing the same things when you are not leaving.
• Mix up the steps of your departure routine.
• Practice as many absences as possible that last less than 10 minutes.
• Remove as many other stressors from your dog’s world as possible to help him maintain his equilibrium: No choke chains, no shock collars, and no physical nor harsh verbal punishment. (That would be never).
• Work with a behavior professional to modify your dog’s isolation or separation anxiety behaviors.
Our dogs aren’t showing us these behaviors because he is angry or “paying you back,” Miller notes.
“Remember that he’s not choosing to do it out of spite or malice — he is panicked about his own survival without you, his pack, there to protect him….He lives in the moment, and the moments that you are gone are long and terrifying.”
Letting the team at Gresham Animal Hospital care for your pets is one of the best things you can do for their health. Our team is skilled, professional, and willing to work with your pets’ specific needs to ensure a quality experience is had by both pets and pet parents alike. Keep Gresham Animal Hospital in mind next time your dog or cat needs a checkup, shots, or vaccines. Give us a call at 503.666.1600 to schedule an appointment today.
“You’ll see how much we know, and you’ll know how much we care.”