Is Pet Anxiety Normal this Time of Year?
When pet owners come to us with reports of urinating or defecating inside the house, pacing, destroying property, and endless vocalization, discussing separation anxiety is a natural place to start. To err on the side of caution, we first ensure there isn’t an underlying medical condition. If nothing is found, The Pet Experts work with pet owners to help assuage dangerous or challenging symptoms and re-prioritize their pet’s needs.
It’s All About Routine
Undoubtedly, pets are creatures of habit. They rely heavily on predictable events, such as meal times, bathroom breaks, and opportunities for play and exercise. After a long, active summer in which they’ve grown accustomed to daily, consistent involvement, some pets have a tough time adjusting to a new routine.
Keeping up with your pet’s daily routine goes a long way to reducing or eliminating symptoms of pet anxiety. If your pet is unable to be left alone during a long day of school or work, you might consider a dog daycare to keep them happy. With constant attention, affection, and socialization, your dog will be content and relaxed for you at night.
If your pet prefers to stay at home, we recommend hiring a pet sitter or dog walker to come by 1-2 times a day to provide attention and offer exercise.
A New Approach
Even if your pet shows little or no interest in all the new school supplies, they’ll definitely take note when everyone leaves in the morning.
The Pet Experts recommend easing into the new academic year a bit early. A few weeks before the first day of school, leave the house at the same time you will be in the near future. You don’t have to stay away all day at first. Start with 30 minutes, and increase your time away over the course of a week or so.
- Make your departure and arrival as uninteresting as possible. A perceived “non-event” will allow your pet simply rest in your absence, instead of fretting over when you’ll be back.
- Create comforting places for your pet to hang out and provide chew toys, puzzle toys, and treats to help them associate your leaving with a positive experience.
- Give extra time to exercise/play endeavors prior to leaving and in the evening.
- Never scold or punish your pet for exhibiting symptoms of pet anxiety.
Symptoms of Pet Anxiety
Signs of pet anxiety range from mild to severe. At first, you may notice general unrest when it comes close to your “go-time,” such as pacing, trailing you closely, whining, trembling, tail tucking, hiding, and escape attempts.
Left untreated, pet anxiety can include aggression, destruction, soiling inside the house, and obsessive licking and/or biting at themselves.
The good news is that pet anxiety can be treated and hopefully reversed. Some pets benefit from medication, while others just need constant support and reassurance.
Whatever the case may be, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are always here to help!
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