When we talk about separation anxiety, we often think about dogs. But dogs are not the only pets who suffer from this issue, as it can also happen to cats and other pets. Pet separation anxiety often manifests as distress, panic behavior, and destructive tendencies to the environment (scratching or biting furniture). The anxiety can last from a few minutes but can often persist for hours. Here are some useful tips to prevent anxiety in your pet, whether it is a dog or a cat.
Exercise and Play
If you have a dog, it’s best if you walk him before you leave. Sometimes you can be short on time, but the best option really is, to take a long walk or go jogging with the dog. If you have some space in your backyard, you can also play with the dog to make him tired. Leave some spare time (at least 20 minutes), for the dog to calm down from the exercise before you leave. The same goes for cats. Make sure you play with the cat (with feathers, lasers, mice…), making the cat very tired. If you are successful, your best friend wont experience pet separation anxiety and will be sleeping and won’t even notice you leave.
Skip the Drama and Sad Faces
As you know, our best friends are very smart and perceptive. Whether a cat or a dog, they can learn how to “manipulate” you with whining, meowing, sad faces and more. Of course, they will miss you like crazy every time you leave, but if you reinforce that anxious behavior, you can only do damage to your pet. If you go along with it, you will more likely feel sorry for them, making sad faces and dramatic “goodbyes”. With this behavior, you will reinforce your pet’s fear and anxiety about being away. The solution is, not to make a “big deal” out of your departure and calmly saying goodbye to your pet. When you return, especially dogs might get very excited, so make sure you keep cool until they calm down.
Comfort Items, Snacks, Toys, and a Safe Environment
Dogs and cats have a sharp sense of smell and it makes them feel safe smelling your dirty laundry or shoes. Make sure you leave some laundry or shoes for them around the house, so they will know you are coming back. Preparing personal spaces for your pet, with blankets, pet beds, toys, and stuffed animals can be good too. Cat trees near the window to watch the birds or cars pass by, is the best source of entertainment for kitty. You can place some treats in the house, so the pet can search for them while you are away. Never leave the washing machine or any loud appliances running, as they might cause additional stress to your pet.
Don’t Leave Them Alone for Too Long
If you are going to work and you are planning to be out for 6 hours or more, do everything you can not to leave your pet alone all that time. You can talk to a friendly neighbor, friend, or family member to visit your pet and spend some time with them. Take extra care with puppies as they need a lot of care and attention. If you are leaving for more than a day and you can’t take your pet with you, arrange a pet hotel, or moving the pet to your relatives and friends for the time being. And just like leaving a small child alone, never leave plastic bags or dangerous, sharp objects, laying around the house.
We hope these tips were useful and we wish you lots of beautiful moments with your best friend.