Ask A Healthy Pets Series
Does Your Pet Have Separation Anxiety? Do pets suffer anxiety like people do?
by N J Howell
Question on pet health care and healing:
My dog howls and chews on things when I leave him alone for very long. I have to go to work so what can I do? I don't want to have to crate him all day...surely there's a better way to deal with pet anxiety?
Healing Facilitator's response:
First of all, I must preface this answer with a disclaimer. I am not a veterinarian. My goal at Ask A Healer is education, not diagnosis or treatment.
That having been said, I can address the question from the perspective of a a petsitter and housesitter and an animal lover. When petsitting, I've had occasion to sit with animals who were anxious so I have witnessed firsthand that it is stressful for the animal.
The good news is that
there are ways to help your pet calm and adjust to your trips away.
Pet anxiety is a common problem in animals, just as it is in people, and I hope to share helpful tips that may reduce the stress of being alone for your pet, as well as alternative medicine for dogs that may prove
helpful in managing separation anxiety in your pet.
I am a huge animal lover
myself and cannot stand the thought of my own pets being unhappy so I have unwittingly done things to appease them that, I realize now, were not really the best thing. In researching
this question, I also helped myself understand the issue better so thanks.
What causes pet anxiety?
Anxiety that exhibits in destructive behaviors from your pet can occur when pets are isolated, frightened,
bored, and anxious as a result of being alone.
Although certain animals do have
a more nervous temperament than others, traumatic events or exposure to
particular stressors can make even a normally calm animal stressed.
Your stress is their stress:
Someone did a fascinating experiment once, where they had a camera inside the home
of a pet-owner. They watched the pet, in this case a dog, when their master was at work.
Amazingly, when the pet-owner got ready to leave his work, the dog went to the door and
sat there til his master got home.....how did the dog know?
You can say the dog was conditioned to know when the master got home but how did the
dog know the very moment his master put on his coat and headed out the door? Surely,
that doesn't happen at the same precise time every day?
There is a remarkable, almost psychic bond
between pet and pet owner. Pets are also very attuned to their owner's stress
levels If you are anxious and stressed, this will
impact your pet
. How can this reflect on the pet's state of mind? Well, if you do what I used
to do, and grab them up fretting over them and dreading leaving them, they can feel that!
So.....calm yourself and you will be helping to calm your pet as well. Avoid hovering over them before leaving, and fretting over them out of your own
concern for their being ok while you are gone.
Natural pet care offers specific alternative medicines for dogs that can effectively address pet separation anxiety. Reduce anxiety and stress in your highly strung or
chronically anxious pets naturally and safely just as you treat your own anxiety
Recommended for pet anxiety: PetCalm
Tips for Handling Anxious Pets
Pet Care Disclaimer: If your animal friend is exhibiting destructive behaviors, your first course of action should be to consult an animal expert such as your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist. The suggestions for dealing with separation anxiety in animals that is presented here is not intended to take the place of veterinarian care that may be needed for your pet. The good news is that there are a lot of good suggestions available, via the online resource we provided, that may help you more effectively deal with