It is inevitable that at some point we will have to leave our fur-buddies home for a few hours alone. Families with children in school will almost certainly have pets go through some uneasiness as their play time pals start school back up.
It is normal for dogs to feel uncomfortable when left at home alone, but there are things that you can do to ease them into this transition. Firstly, how do you tell if your dog has separation anxiety? You may not even need to set up a video camera. Your neighbors may have told you they hear barking constantly when you’re gone. Or you may come home to an accident on the floor. If you do want to set up a camera, pacing is indicative of stress, as well as whining. If your dog chews on the couch or something else forbidden as a chew toy, he or she may just be trying to relieve their stress through an activity.
Now for some solutions to help our Fur Friends combat stress. Believe it or not, you can leave the TV on (with volume) on an animal channel. The noise and the visual stimulation may keep the dog distracted while you do your chores. Gus prefers the show K9 Cops. Leave a radio on, Gus likes the Weezer and Peter Tosh. A bird feeder placed outside a large glass door or window, can draw birds and give your pooch something cool to look at.
Leaving him a snack that requires a little effort can keep your pooch busy. A Kong filled with peanut butter always keeps Gus distracted for a while, and when he was a puppy, he knew when his parents left, he got a KONG. Good association, huh? You can also take treats and wrap them in a blanket, put them on all four corners and roll the edges up to the middle. This will provide entertainment and release some pent up energy as he wrestles with the blanket to try and free the treats. Dog puzzles are always an option, these usually involve the dog moving some part of the toy in order to find the treats, either they roll around on the floor, or the dog must flip something over. However, I have found that once a dog figures these puzzles out, they are able to get to the treats quickly the next time. And the goal is to distract them until you get home.
Things I would not leave are Raw Hides. Even though they are fun to chew, dogs will also eat them and the raw hide is not digestible. I would recommend giving Raw Marrow Bones instead, however I suggest supervising dogs with these at first, since I have seen Gus try to have the bone part for dinner. These Marrow Bones are great for their teeth and will certainly keep them busy. You want to make sure that you don’t give them to your dog while frozen, defrost them first.
If you will be leaving for a long period of time, look into Doggie Day Care, it is usually very reasonable in cost and dogs have opportunities to socialize with some friends while you are gone. Or maybe it is time to get your dog a companion, check out our available best friends in the Temporary Barking section.
If your dog has uncontrollable anxiety, there are medications to be used in a last case scenario, that have been proven very effective. But before using whatever new Puppy Prozac is out there, try these methods out and see if you can’t make your Fur Buddy a more easy going kind of dude.
Additionally, some of us Barking Attendants have heard about the Thundershirt, you can check out their website. They claim to help anxiety from a variety of situations. I have not heard anything on their effectiveness one way or the other, so please share your experiences with me, if you or a friend have used it.
The best solution of all of course….Exercise! Tire your pup out so much before you leave so that he naps the whole time you are gone. A little trip to fiesta is sure to do the trick. Good Luck! If you have any questions, feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget if you find someone ready to open their hearts to a dog, encourage them to choose rescue and send them The Barking Lot way.