How to Help an Animal That Suffers From Separation Anxiety

Animals who suffer from Separation Anxiety are generally highly-strung while you are not with them, and this often leads to coming home to a house that has been destroyed.  If it is not your furniture, it is your clothing, your garden or they have mastered the art of escaping (to get out and go and find you - we think).

What should you do if your dog suffers from Separation Anxiety?

You can consider two types of treatments:

  1. Mild Separation Anxiety
  2. Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety

How to Treat Mild Separation Anxiety:

Behavioural change of association could be done with finding ways to turn the negative into a fun experience.  Filling a Kong with their favourite treats – frozen is best – is often very helpful.  Be sure to take the Kong away upon your return, so that they only get to experience this ‘fun’ while you are not at home.

How to Treat Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety

Animals who suffer from a more severe form of separation anxiety will generally not even eat when you are gone.  So treats or food will not work.  It is at this point where you will have to bring in an expert to help and guide you and your animal.  This requires more time and expert skills because any other effort might be short-lived.

It is important to note that your dog watches your every move. 

They know you have a certain ritual and your clothing, make-up, shower, touching the keys and or your energy levels will predict the time that you will be leaving the house. 

Should this be a trigger for them, you might have to consider making a note of your actions and movements that do trigger the animal.  A common trigger is the sound of your keys, so for the sake of this example, we suggest that you touch your keys, and then go sit and watch TV.   Change the common triggers and you might find that your dog will start to be more relaxed when you do actually take the keys to leave the house.

If you have a dog that does not trigger anxiety during your departure, but more when you are already gone, then consider a training routine of leaving the home for shorter periods of time to train them that you will return.  Tell your dog where you are going and when you will be back.  You never know, they might just understand every word you say.

Short-term alternatives to consider are the following:

  • Arrange for a dog-sitter
  • Take your dog with you to work.
  • Sign up at your local doggy Day-Care.
  • Spend more time with your dog by taking them for a walk or run.
  • Speak to your vet about Anti-anxiety medication
  • Sign up for dog training

The worst thing to do when your dog suffers from Separation Anxiety:

Punishment. 

Once you enroll with a routine of punishing your animal, you will not only increase their fear of being alone, but it will also make their anxious behaviour worse. 

The best thing you could do for your pet who suffers from Separation Anxiety:

An obedient pet is the responsibility of the pet owner – not the pet, it is often not an easy road to follow, like many human relationships, put in the time and effort to make it work.  We highly recommend that you speak to your local community about a good animal behaviourist to help you during this crucial time of rehabilitating your pet. 

All the best in your search for peace and happiness in your home, and be sure to like, share and comment about this article if you found it useful for your home.

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