Dogs and separation anxiety

Whether you are off on the weekend away or simply spending less time at home post-lock down, separation anxiety is a real thing for pets.

So too are the consequences from chewed-up furniture or doors, ‘accidents’ indoors and excessive barking. If you think your furry mate is missing you too much, here are some simple ideas to help.

Talk to your veterinarian to ensure the behaviour is not caused by a medical condition.

  • Have a chat with your vet to make sure that your fur baby doesn’t have a medical condition that is causing the behavior. It is also a good idea to get their advice on what could work for your dog to help reduce their anxiety. They will also be able to recommend an Animal Behaviourist if the below tips don’t help.

Never punish your dog for its behaviour.

Teach them it's OK to be without you.

  • Train them to sit when you leave the room for short durations. Doing this will help teach them that it’s OK to be alone, and that you will always come back. Reward your dog for calm behaviour on your return.

Keep leaving and returning low-key

  • Don't make a big deal of leaving the house or coming home. Your dog is looking to you for cues on how to act. Greet them calmly, if you’re calm, they’re more likely to be calm. Mix up your habits

Does your dog start barking when you pick up your car keys?

  • Be aware if certain things are triggering their anxiety and mix it up by picking up your car keys even when you are not leaving the house.

Create a home away from home

  • If your pet will be away from home, whether it is just for the day or while you are away, leave out an old t-shirt or piece of clothing that smells of you for them to play with or sleep on. Your scent can have a calming effect.

Give them something to do

  • When you leave the house, leave your dog something to do. Whether you leave out a Kong filled with treats or another enrichment activity – keeping your dog busy will help.

Plan your dog’s ‘hotel’.

  • If you’re heading on holiday, plan your dog’s ‘hotel’ too. Check it out together in advance and play or share treats there. Let their carer do the same. It all helps create good memories and a sense of safety.

Plan for the unexpected

  • If you have someone looking after your dog, leave an information pack with your contact details and those of your vet. Also, ensure, if you haven’t already, that your pet is microchipped and registered on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register before you go. If the problem is severe, seek the advice of an Animal Behaviourist

Handy tip: Behavioural issues such as anxiety are not covered under our PetCare plans.