If there’s one silver lining to the forced work leave that COVID-19 brought on, it’s the amount of time you’ve been able to spend with your dog. Now that COVID-19 seems to be on the way out in many places, though, work is slowly returning. Unfortunately, your pet probably won’t understand why you’re suddenly gone for eight hours a day when you were home so much before.
Leaving your dog home alone after the COVID-19 pandemic may cause pet separation anxiety. Read this guide to learn how to stop dog separation anxiety, and ensure your furry friend doesn’t feel too down in the dumps.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Pet Separation Anxiety?
Dog separation anxiety is a common disorder, affecting between 20- to 40% of dogs.
It can be hard to tell if your dog has separation anxiety since you aren’t home when it happens. However, there are some telltale signs to look out for when you get home. These include:
- Damaged furniture (chewed up, scratched)
- Defecation in the home
Less noticeable symptoms include excessive panting, crying, and barking. If you want to monitor your dog’s separation anxiety, you can film your pet while you’re at work. Security cameras make this easy, or you can set up a cheap camera in a room of the house.
Even if you don’t catch anything on film, you may hear your dog whimper or whine off-camera. By doing this, you can confirm whether or not your dog has separation anxiety. From there you can learn how to help a dog with separation anxiety.
1. Don’t Make It a Big Deal
It can be heartbreaking seeing the sad look in your dog’s eyes as you slip out the front door every morning.
You may be tempted to give your dog extra loving before rushing out the door. However, this isn’t a great call. Rather than put your dog’s mind at ease, this just makes your leaving feel like a bigger deal than it is.
Avoid excessively petting, talking to, and generally showering your dog in love about 10 minutes before you leave every morning. This will make your absence seem more like “business as usual” rather than a big thing. It might be hard at first, but it’ll be better for your dog in the long run.
2. Make Leaving a More Positive Thing
While you don’t want to hype-up your leaving to your dog, you also don’t need to slip out unnoticed.
In fact, giving your dog a small treat before you leave in the morning can ease a lot of anxiety. Doing this every morning creates a positive association in your dog’s mind. Your dog will get excited for the treat every time you leave, which will help them feel less anxious.
Make sure to use a small, healthy treat if you’re doing this daily.
3. Send Them to Doggy Daycare
If your job sends you abroad, or you tend to work a little late, dog daycare is a great option.
At dog daycare, your dog gets to socialize with other pooches, run around outside, and enjoy a little pampering. We’ll treat your dog like a king or queen, offering a much more exciting alternative to pacing around the house all day waiting for your return. They’ll be so busy they won’t have the time to feel anxious!
Dog daycare is great for any age of dog and any breed, both high and low energy. Dog daycare may even be able to help an overweight dog lose a few pounds! It’s also a great practice for less-social dogs and puppies, teaching them how to interact with other dogs properly.
We’ll even accept dogs who prefer the company of people rather than dogs. These dogs can enjoy daycare without interacting with other dogs. Click here to learn more about dog daycare.
4. Go for a Morning Walk
One of the best strategies is to tire your dog out before you leave for work.
A morning walk not only gets both of you exercise, but it also leaves your dog with less energy. They’ll appreciate spending a lot of time with you in the morning, then sleep easier throughout the day. This makes waiting for your return a lot easier.
Award your dog with some food and water after the morning walk, and give them a small treat right before you leave.
5. Try CBD
A lot of pet owners find a small amount of CBD oil helps quell symptoms of pet separation anxiety.
Don’t worry, your pet won’t get high from the CBD. They will, however, reap all the healthful benefits. These include stress and anxiety relief and improved relaxation.
Just mix a few drops of CBD oil into your dog’s food in the morning and you’re good to go. You can buy CBD made specifically for pets, but it’s basically the same as any other CBD. Consult a CBD pet dosage guide to find the best amount to give your furry friend.
6. Leave Them With a Good Audiobook
Yes, you read that correctly.
Amazon, in collaboration with dog whisperer Cesar Millan, created a series of audiobooks meant to relax your dog. Research shows that dogs understand tone of voice, and a calming tone means a calmer dog. These audiobooks are read in just the right tone to keep your dog calm, and give them the feeling of human presence.
You could even try recording your own calming dog audio! Set up a microphone and read a story aloud in a calm tone. You know your dog loves your voice, so they’ll definitely love hearing it all day!
7. Establish a Return Word
Before you leave the house every day, repeat the same phrase or word.
Just as giving them a treat creates a positive association with leaving, so does a repeated word. Think about how excited your dog gets when you say “walk”. They know that word, and know exactly what it means.
Before you leave the house, tell your dog you’ll be back. Repeat the word or phrase in exactly the same way every morning. Your dog will eventually learn it, and know that it means you’re coming back.
You might also want to come up with a repeat phrase when you return every day. Just make sure it doesn’t sound like the leaving word. You don’t want your dog to think you’re running off again!
Follow These Dog Training Separation Anxiety Tips
Nobody wants their dog to go through pet separation anxiety. By following the tips above, you can learn how to help a dog’s separation anxiety, and put a stop to it completely. It’s the next best solution (and a much more realistic one) to taking your dog to work with you.
If you’re looking for a way to treat your dog, learn more about EA Kennels dog spa services. We’ll give your pooch the pampering it deserves.