Separation Anxiety is a very common issue that many pet owners deal with. If you have a cat or dog that refuses to be alone and exhibits destructive behaviors, the tips in this article are for you!
For each pet, address separation anxiety in a unique way.
Cats and dogs show their anxiety in different ways, so it's important to take that into account when you're trying to help them overcome it. A dog who is suffering from this condition might spend the day barking at every noise or chewing up your sofa, while a cat may meow or hide. Since each pet has different needs, it's important to tailor your approach for each of them individually in order to make the most progress with your furry friends' well-being.
Make sure your pet doesn't have any medical conditions that cause them stress.
One of the first steps in helping your pet overcome separation anxiety is to ensure they are medically sound. If your dog or cat is suffering from a painful medical condition, they may exhibit similar symptoms regarding an inability to relax at home alone. In addition, some pets with severe separation anxiety will refuse to eat and drink when left alone at home and this can quickly lead to a dangerous situation if left unchecked. For both of these reasons, the first step in overcoming separation anxiety is to visit your vet for a thorough exam. If you’re a GoFetch+ member at one of our partner clinics, visits are included as part of your subscription! Your veterinarian can help you identify the signs of separation anxiety and rule out any possible medical conditions that might be causing your pet to act out or behave abnormally.
Start by leaving for just a few minutes.
For cats and dogs who have trouble with separation anxiety, it can seem like an impossible task to leave your pet alone for any amount of time. Start small by leaving for just a few minutes. Then gradually increase the amount of time you are away from your cat or dog until it is comfortable being home alone for longer periods of time. Your goal is that when you return, your pet shows no signs of stress over being left alone; this will take some time and patience on both sides.
Don't make a big deal about leaving or returning home.
Your pets pick up on your emotions. If you're all excited to leave for work or stressed about being gone, they'll feel that.
The bottom line is that the best thing you can do for your pets is to teach them that it's OK for you to leave--and when you return, it's just another normal part of the day.
Minimize the stress and anxiety of your pet when you leave home
Give your pet a treat when you leave home (but only once you've left). Filling up an interactive toy with treats and giving it to your dog after you've left the house can help build a positive association into your departure!
Try playing soothing music while you're away from home. There are special playlists designed just for pets that can help them be more relaxed in your absence. Find ours here!
Give your dog interactive toys (like puzzle-solving toys) that require some mental effort and problem-solving—this not only keeps anxiety at bay but also increases intelligence!
Set up a webcam so that you can check in during the day on how your pet is doing without disturbing them!