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Separation Anxiety

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Stephanie Litchwark

Author

15 May 2020

As we head into level 2 and we start going back to our daily lives of work, sports, and leaving the house, there may be some confusion for our furry friends who have become accustomed to us being in their bubble for the past 6 weeks.

Now that you are gone for long periods during the day there may be some confusion from our cats and dogs. Why are they not sitting next to me, where have they gone, why arent we going for a walk today?

Our pets can suffer with anxieties, just like we can. 

Some pets might react to this change in schedule by showing signs of separation anxiety

Signs to look out for include:

  • Barking, howling, or whining when you leave Scratching or chewing at entrances and exits (doors/windows)
  • Destructive behavior that only happens when the dog is alone
  • Over-grooming or other self-harm or obsessive behaviors
  • A change in appetite
  • Inappropriate toileting 

Most pets don’t like sudden and abrupt changes. Try to get your pet ready and ease them back to your previously ‘normal’ routine.

Tips for dogs:

  • Create a safe, comfortable place where they can have peaceful, relaxing alone time. This could be a crate or separate room, somewhere that they are usually relaxed.
  • Provide them with enrichment or toys such as hidden treats in boxes, food puzzles, stuffed Kongs. 
  • Play music or leave the TV or radio on while you’re gone to keep them from being startled by outside noises. 
  • Practice leaving for short periods of time, increase that time away so they can adjust to you not being home.
  • Use Adaptil to relax, reduce stress and reassure your dog during the day.
  • Take your dog for a long walk before leaving for long periods.
  • Reward your dog for calm, independent behavior. Keep it positive.  A happy, light tone and a little treat as you leave will keep their spirits up.

Tips for cats:

  • Engage your cat with a wand toy at least once a day. Allowing your cat the opportunity to hunt, catch and kill, an interactive toy will help build their confidence and strengthen their bond with you.
  • Ensure that whatever adjustments you’ve made to their routine while you’re home, are sustainable when you go back to work. If you’ve started feeding your cats 4 times a day while you’re home, start cutting it back to what is doable when you’re not working from home.
  • Introduce puzzle-feeders to your cat which can provide enrichment while you are away.
  • Use Feliway to relax, reassure and calm cats while you are away.
  • Keep it positive.  A happy, light tone and a little treat as you leave will keep their spirits up.

If you would like some extra support or advice on how to support your pets during this post quarantine period, you can call us on 0800 VETSOUTH to talk to one of our friendly team members.

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