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Separation Anxiety in your pets

Posted: 5pm 08 Jan 2021

Pet separation anxiety can cause both pets and owners a lot of stress when it comes to holidays or extended times away. It is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety in your pets and know what to do about it.

Symptoms of Pet Anxiety

The symptoms will vary depending on your pet and their personality. In general, there are a few indicators that will show that your pet is experiencing separation anxiety. These include an increase in obvious signs of stress and behavioural problems when you are leaving the house. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms:

Dogs:

  • Destructive behaviours (chewing furniture, doors, shoes)
  • Intense pacing
  • Attempting escape
  • Excessive barking
  • Urinating indoors
  • Eating too fast, or not at all

Cats:

  • Excessive meowing
  • Urination and defection in places other than litter box
  • Eating too fast, or not at all
  • Throwing up
  • Destructive clawing of furniture or walls

How to Treat Separation Anxiety

Start Young – The best way to treat separation anxiety in dogs or cats is to start when they are young, so they can learn the correct behaviour as early as possible.

Exercise – Ensure your pet has had plenty of exercise and playtime with you before leaving. This will help get rid of any excess energy and ensure they can settle down and rest while you are gone.

Toys – Use toys to keep them entertained. Puzzle toys, favourite balls or rattle toys, or treat toys are perfect for keeping them busy and entertained while you are away.

Play it cool – Don’t make a big fuss about leaving or coming home. As much as you might want to give your pet lots of kisses and hugs before leaving or upon arriving home, this will only feed their separation anxiety. Don’t greet them until they have calmed down, and try to change up your routine when leaving the house so that they don’t get worked up when they see you reach for the keys.

See your veterinarian

If you are still concerned, or need assistance treating separation anxiety, take your pet along to visit your veterinarian. They can talk to you about the best options, and even discuss various training methods and techniques that can help.

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