Soothing Separation AnxietyFor some pets the thought of their loved one/s leaving is highly distressing. There are cases where these pets may bloody their paws trying to scratch through a door, or try to leap through glass windows. Not only is this very disturbing for the pet parents, but it also upsets other pets in the household and causes unwanted behaviours in them too.

It’s important in these situations that punishment isn’t used as a deterrent as it can easily make things worse.

It may seem like anxious pets aren’t easy to deal with, but there are some ways that you can help alleviate their fear of separation. It is recommended to set up a video recording to see the extent of your pet’s behaviour. Commonly separation anxiety manifests in the first 5-30 minutes of departure.

 SIGNS OF SEPERATION ANXIETY 

  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Urinating in the house
  • Obsessive licking
  • Destruction of possessions

 HOW TO SOOTHE SEPERATION ANXIETY 

1. Consider a doggie daycare or pet sitter - other dogs and/or humans around may be all the company your pet needs to distract them.

2. Try desensitisation -
    a. Because certain actions like getting your keys or putting on a jacket may alert your pet to your impending departure, try doing these things several times a day then return to what you were doing in the house.
    b. Once your pet is used to this action, start by going outside for very short periods of time. Very slowly extend this period of time.
    c. When you do leave, give your pet something to make them feel good, like a treat-filled toy.
    d. When you must go out for a long period of time leave the TV or radio on so the sound fills the house.
    e. Ignore your pet when you leave and come home. Don’t give over-excited behaviour a reward of affection, but instead wait until they are calm and then fuss him/her.
    f. Arrange a comfortable bed with toys in a separate room and reward your pet when they aren’t constantly next to you.
    g. Only fuss your pet when they are calm, as they will see your affection as a reward if their behaviour is frantic.

3. Provide exercise and play time each day - a tired pet is less likely to get worked up.

4. Use a pheromone diffuser - Adaptil or Feliway provide pheromones for a calm environment.

5. Seek advice from your Veterinarian - they can help you identify what’s going on behind your pet’s behaviour.

Soothing this kind of anxious behaviour won’t happen overnight. It may take several attempts for you and your Veterinarian to help ease it, but with time your pet’s peace of mind is well worth the effort.

DISCLAIMER: The advice given in this article is of a general nature. Pet Guardians Australia recommends a health check with your local vet at least once a year for advice pertaining to your pet's individual circumstances.