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01 June 2020

June 2020

Since lockdown, dogs have become used to having their favourite people close by at home 24/7. However, as restrictions decrease and we start to leave home more often, many dogs may suffer from separation anxiety. But just as in humans, anxiety can be managed if the right steps are put in place to help keep our furry friends happy and content.

PetSafe® Brand has developed six simple tips to help make the transition back to our daily schedules easier and hopefully anxiety-free for dog parents and their furry friends.

1. Prepare in advance!
Try to get your dog used to being away from you before you actually have to leave for work. When you can, leave them for short periods and then reward them when you return. Increase this daily until they are comfortable being left alone.

2. Exercise!
If your schedule allows, try to ensure you’re dog has a decent walk or gets some energetic exercise before you leave for the day. A tired dog has less energy to be anxious and destructive.

3. Leave a Challenging Treat
Just as you are leaving, give your dog a chewy treat that will take their mind off your departure. Treat dispensing toys like Busy Buddy® toys are the perfect solution as they offer your pet a challenge to get to the treats and can occupy them for hours. 

4. Keep Calm on your Departure and Returns
Don't make a big fuss when you are leaving the house or returning. Keep calm and try not to let your emotions show. If your dog gets excited and jumps all over you when you return, walk away calmly and then greet them warmly once they have calmed down.

5. Adopting a Sibling
If having a second dog is something you have the space and finances for, then it is something to consider as some dogs thrive with a playmate. However, before adopting a second dog, first try borrowing a calm, stable, compatible dog from a friend to see if it makes a difference.

6. Doggy Daycare
Leaving your dog with a friend, relative, dog-sitter or at doggy daycare is a great option; and doesn't need to be long term. You could start on five days, then four days down to no days; easing your dog into your back to work schedule gradually.

Rob Steele, Marketing Manager, PetSafe® Brand says: "Any animal that bonds closely to a human can experience anxiety when they are suddenly separated, however dogs, being pack animals and very loyal in nature, seem to suffer the most. If you suddenly change routine and leave for work you might find your dog becomes more destructive, barking incessantly or just generally misbehaving. The best approach is to start your pet getting used to the idea of you leaving gradually, increasing your stints away from home and getting them used to their own company again. This will help ensure they stay happy, healthy and content.”

If your dog's anxiety persists, it is recommended that you seek professional advice from your vet, who may need to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help reduce your pet's stress (although vets do preserve this for extreme cases). If your vet prescribes medication for separation anxiety, the dosage can be reduced as your pet's symptoms improve and discontinued once your pet becomes calmer and less anxious in your absence.