How to Alleviate Pet Separation Anxiety When You're on Holiday

How to Alleviate Pet Separation Anxiety When You’re on Holiday
July 11, 2018 Samford Pet Resort

Ahhh holidays, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of anticipation for an upcoming holiday! Images of ocean air through your hair and sand between your toes flash through your mind while you count down the days left at work.

But it’s also possible these images are dimmed by thoughts of your dog or cat showing signs of separation anxiety as you begin to pack. Pet separation anxiety can cause both pets and owners a lot of stress when it comes to holidays or extended time away. But what do you do about it? Throughout this blog, we’ll look at the signs and symptoms of pet separation anxiety and how to treat it.

Symptoms of pet anxiety

Symptoms of separation anxiety look different depending on your pet and their personality. It is also important to remember separation anxiety should not be misunderstood as normal behaviour or vice versa, in fact, you’ll probably realise when their behaviour becomes excessive that you need to do something about it. However, in general, there are a few indicators which show your pet is experiencing separation anxiety. These symptoms include increased stress and behavioural problems when you are leaving the house, or when your pet is left alone. Let’s take a closer look at the types of symptoms your pet may exhibit.

Is it safe to leave my pet with a pet sitter, pet minder or backyard boarder?

Dogs

  • Destructive behaviours such as chewing furniture, doors or anything lying around
  • Intense pacing
  • Attempting to escape
  • Excessive Barking
  • Indoor urination
  • Eating too fast, or not at all

Cats

  • Excessive meowing
  • Urination and defecation in places other than the litter box
  • Eating too fast, or not at all
  • Excessive self-grooming
  • Throwing up
  • Destructive clawing
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Dogs

The best way to treat separation anxiety in dogs is to start when they’re young, as they’ll be able to learn the correct behaviour. However, if you’ve left it a little late in your dog’s life, or you’re only noticing a change in behaviour recently, try the following tips.

  • Exercise – Ensure your canine friend is getting enough exercise in their daily routine to get rid of excess energy and ensure a proper sleep routine while you’re away.
  • Use toys to keep them entertained. Puzzle toys, such as the toys you fill with treats are perfect for keeping dogs running around and entertained while you’re not on hand to play with them.
  • Don’t draw attention to leaving or coming home. Although it seems irresistible to try to not reward your pets puppy-dog eyes with hugs and kisses when leaving or indulge them when you return home. Unfortunately, this rewards their behaviour and feeds their separation anxiety. Instead, try to steer clear of your dog before you leave the house, and on your arrival home, don’t greet them until they have calmed down. This will be helpful in changing their behaviour when you are coming and going from home.
  • Switch up your routine. Some dogs will know your morning rituals better than you do, even the sound your keys make could trigger anxiety.
  • Obedience training and trialling short periods away will be helpful for those dogs who experience severe separation anxiety.
  • While away, ensure your dog has access to other dogs, human affection, and has plenty of play time in a comfortable Pet Resort.

Cats

    • Increase environmental enrichment. Although cats are stereotyped as independent creatures, they actually require a lot of environmental enrichment. Ensure they have access to a variety of different toys which test their skills. These toys include a good cat scratcher, puzzle feeders and hideaways.
    • Don’t reward your cat when it is meowing and asking for attention. Instead, reward its calm behaviour.
    • As with dogs, don’t make a big hoo-har about leaving. Trust us; your cat probably knows your every move. So when you are heading out the door, switch up your routine and try to ignore your cat for a period of time before you leave.
    • When going away on holidays ensure your cat has access to environmental stimulation, human affection and play time in a comfortable Pet Resort.

Of course, these are simple ideas you can try with your pets if they are showing signs of separation anxiety. Before labelling your pet with separation anxiety ensure you get them checked by a vet. And, if symptoms persist, contact your vet to discuss other options.

Are you struggling to find the right solution for your pet while away on holidays? Contact Samford Pet Resort to book your pet in for their luxurious holiday. They’ll be pampered with human affection and be enriched with plenty of play time.

Do you live over the northside of Brisbane? Check out our sister pet resort, Northshore Pet Resort.