Pet separation anxiety is a common problem that pet owners have to deal with. It is a condition where pets become distressed and anxious when separated from their owners. Pets with separation anxiety may bark excessively, destroy furniture, and even become aggressive. This can be a frustrating and stressful experience for both pets and their owners, but there are ways to deal with pet separation anxiety.
1. Create a Safe and Comfortable Space
Pets need a safe and comfortable space to feel secure when their owners are not around. Create a space for your pet that is comfortable and familiar, such as a crate or a designated area in your home. This space should be filled with your pet’s favorite toys and comfortable bedding. Having a specific place for your pet can help create a sense of security and help reduce pet separation anxiety.
2. Gradual Departures and Arrivals
One of the reasons why pets become anxious when their owners leave is that they are not used to being alone. Gradual departures and arrivals can help pets learn that being alone is normal and not something to be afraid of. Start by leaving your pet alone for brief periods of time, gradually increasing the length of time. When you return, avoid making a fuss and keep your arrival low-key. This will help your pet understand that your departures and arrivals are a normal part of their routine.
3. Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce pet separation anxiety. Exercise helps pets burn off excess energy, while mental stimulation can help keep their minds occupied and prevent boredom. Make sure your pet gets regular exercise and provide them with plenty of toys and puzzles to keep their minds engaged.
4. Desensitization Training
Desensitization training involves exposing your pet to the things that make them anxious in a controlled and safe environment. For example, if your pet becomes anxious when you pick up your keys to leave, try picking up your keys and then sitting down on the couch instead of leaving. Over time, your pet will learn to associate the sound of the keys with something positive, and their anxiety will decrease.
5. Consider a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker
If your pet’s separation anxiety is severe, consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker. Having someone come and spend time with your pet while you are away can help reduce their anxiety and provide them with some much-needed company.
Pet separation anxiety is a common problem, but it is not impossible to deal with. By creating a safe space for your pet, using gradual departures and arrivals, providing regular exercise and mental stimulation, using desensitization training, and considering a pet sitter or dog walker, you can help reduce your pet’s anxiety and make their alone time more enjoyable. If your pet’s anxiety persists, speak to your veterinarian for additional advice and support.