Ah, I can hear it now… parents around the country singing a nice celebratory song about the kids going back to school after a nice, long summer break. Who may not be celebrating? Your furry friend who has grown accustomed to having the extra company around.
For many pets, the separation may be a bit depressing but manageable. After all, we really have no concept of time other than “FEED ME NOW, I’M HUNGRY” o’clock. There are however a good number who definitely need more than a promise of “See ya in a few hours, buddy!” and may require something a bit more extensive.
Dogs and cats can be fairly resilient but there are situations where not every animal reacts in such a stoic manner. Things that may not seem like a big deal to us can throw a wrench in your pets’ daily routine. Going from a house full of people during the day to peace and quiet can actually be quite a stressful event, hence where separation anxiety could come in. We don’t understand “work”, “school” or “vacation” and can see your absence as abandonment. I think this applies more so to dogs, as they tend to be more social and involved in daily routine. Separation anxiety can manifest as anything from depression to incessant barking to destruction; anything in the dog’s reach can be considered fair game, whether it’s shoes, furniture or floor. Not only can this be a big issue for your belongings, but it can be hazardous to your dog as well. Dogs don’t discriminate when it comes to chewing or destruction and can end up ingesting something harmful, whether a foreign body or chemical. It’s a good idea, regardless of whether or not separation anxiety is an issue, to pet-proof your house. You may need to use a crate while away to avoid any surprises. Now how do you know if your pet is acting out due to anxiety or another issue? According to an article on VeterinaryPartner.com, here are a few things that may indicate that your pet is missing your presence:
1) Your pet is extremely attached to you or someone in your household. (I’m not just talking about being a “BFF” as you humans call it, but a pet that constantly follows the owner and becomes agitated or upset when that individual leaves.)
2) Destructive or inappropriate behavior happens when pet is by him/herself at home and unsupervised.
3) Exits or barriers, such as doors, gates, etc. are targeted for destruction.
4) Your pet’s anxiety seems to start within a half hour of the individual leaving.
5) With dogs, they may have a high pitched yelp or bark repeatedly.
If you think that your pet could be experiencing this or any other behavioral issue, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. We can discuss different options based on your individual situation and your pet’s needs, whether it be trying medication (for your pet, silly…) or behavior training. Addressing issues before they become a big problem, even if they may seem small, is definitely the way to go. Don’t let yourself or your pet suffer unnecessarily!
Now speaking of suffering unnecessarily, I am in desperate need of a snack, a pet and a nap! Enjoy the remainder of your summer two and four legged friends and have a safe, happy Labor Day!