Most of our kids are now back at school. Some parents will breathe a sigh of relief that their childcare challenges are at a more reasonable level; whilst others will miss having their children close at hand.
What may not occur to many is how our pets react. Pets thrive on routine and enjoy having the company of their family around them. They quickly get used to having a full house and when the kids go back to school pets don’t understand why the house is suddenly empty. Consequently, it isn’t unusual for your cat or dog to become anxious.
Your pet may be suffering from separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is more likely to affect dogs because they are pack animals. So what should you look out for?
- Excessive barking / howling
- Destructive behaviour
- Toileting in inappropriate places
My dog is anxious; what steps can I take?
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms above, it is important that you take your dog to see a vet. This will provide you with peace of mind that your dog doesn’t have any physical illness that may need treatment. The vet will also be able to provide you with advice on training and information on calming remedies.
Steps you can take immediately
- Your leaving routine
It’s important that you don’t make a big deal of leaving or returning home. It’s all too easy to make a big fuss of Fido when you leave or return home because of your own emotions. By paying your dog a lot of attention when you leave and return you are creating a lot of emotional energy that can leave your dog confused and anxious.
If all members of your household get into the habit of quietly leaving and returning home; then it won’t seem like a big deal and will be less stressful for your dog.
- Exercise is key
Taking your dog for a vigorous walk as part of your morning routine will burn off a lot of excess energy and will provide positive stimulation. A tired dog that has been for an interesting walk is far less likely to become anxious when left for short periods.
If you are away from home for longer periods of time you should consider using a dog walking service.
- Keep them entertained whilst you are out
When you feed your dog does she gulp the food down is seconds? Not only can this cause your dog health problem such as bloat it is also a missed opportunity to entertain your dog whilst you are out.
There are a several options that will slow down how quickly your dog finishes her meal. Puzzle bowls are designed to stimulate your dog mentally and increase the amount of time it takes to finish a meal. Your dog will also be utilising more of her natural instincts to get to the food making puzzle bowls an ideal way to keep your dog entertained whilst you are out.
Electronic dog treat dispensers
Technology is helping in most areas of our life, and looking after your pets is no different.
The Foobler electronic treat dispenser can be programmed to release a treat every 15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes. It will even sound a bell to let your dog know more food is available.
The Furbo dog camera and treat dispenser allows you to monitor your dog remotely. By using your smartphone to connect to the Furbo you can watch your dog and to reward good behaviour by allowing you to give your dog a treat. A live streaming HD video camera gives you a 160-degree view and 2-way audio allows you to see and speak with your dog.
Leave the television or radio on
Some pets find it comforting to hear the radio or television in the background. In fact, there are DVDs specifically created for cats and dogs to listen to whilst you are out. Personally I haven’t used these so if you have any experience of them please let us know how you got on in the comments section below.
If you have any other tips on keeping your pet entertained whilst they are home alone, you can also share these below in the comments section.