Separation anxiety is a common problem for dogs, but it can also affect cats and other animals. Symptoms of separation anxiety include destructive behavior, excessive vocalization or crying when left alone, and frantic searching for the owner upon their return. Owners who are considering bringing home a new pet should be aware that some breeds are more prone to this condition than others.
It’s normal for pets to have some separation anxiety. Some pets are more anxious than others, but all of them will feel the need to be with their owners and may show signs of separation anxiety if they aren’t able to be around you.
If you’re gone for a short time—for example, if you work during the day—your pet may become stressed while you’re gone. However, most animals are fine spending a few hours alone because they have an established routine and know that they’ll be reunited with their favorite people later in the day or evening.
The first step to crate training your pet is getting the right size crate. If it’s too small, your pet may feel cramped and uncomfortable; if it’s too big, your pet will just have more space to roam around in and be anxious.
If you’ve never crate trained before or if it’s been a while since you last did so, there are plenty of tips out there on how to get started. The most important thing is that you introduce the idea gradually—if you try to put him in his crate for an extended amount of time on day one, he’ll probably just panic even more than usual because he doesn’t know what’s going on! That said, once he does realize what the crate means (that being left alone isn’t as scary as he thinks), he’ll feel much safer knowing that there’s somewhere secure for him when his family leaves home.
If your pet is suffering from separation anxiety, you can help keep them calm by leaving a treat or toy when you leave the house. You should also make sure they have plenty of water to drink and a place to go to the bathroom.
You should reward your pet for staying calm while you’re gone. This can be done by giving them treats or playing with them for a bit when they’re quiet and relaxed.
While it’s important to try to be consistent with your pet’s daily routines, it’s also helpful to vary your departure and return times. This can help keep the anxiety at bay by preventing him from becoming too used to them.
When you’re getting ready to leave home, try giving your pet a few minutes’ warning so they’re not surprised when they hear you open the door or lock up. It may also help if someone else in the house can stay behind for a bit with him until he gets used to this new routine of yours.
If possible, continue doing things that are familiar and comforting for your dog during the time you’re gone—like having dinner with him or playing fetch before bedtime.
You can help relieve your pet’s stress by keeping his or her environment as consistent as possible.
For example, you might:
Separation anxiety can be distressing for the pet and their owner, but it is important to remember that there are many things you can do to help your furry friend. If your pet suffers from separation anxiety or you’re worried they may be developing this problem, contact your veterinarian and talk about medication options.
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