Separation Anxiety: Cathy's tips!

Is your pet extremely anxious when left alone? Do you return to find your pet completely overwhelmed with agitation, or your house turned upside down when you return? Read Pet Health Consultant, Cathy's amazing tips and thoughts on anxious pets and what you CAN do to help them cope. You'll have a well-adjusted pet in no time at all!

How to help your pet cope with anxiety and stress

 
1. What signs should an owner look out for in terms of anxiety?
Cathy says: "Separation anxiety can present in different forms - for example my dog Holly gets lethargic and seems to withdraw, while Silky tends to whine and misbehave when I am about to go out and she can sense it. Also, keep in mind that pets form a strong bond to owners and each other so they are likely to feel the absence of their owner or fellow pet. Some breeds are more nervous and jittery than others - think of a highly sensitive Chihuahua that is used to being carried everywhere versus a happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever. Watch for the typical behaviour cues of anxiety: glazed eyes, raised temperature, more saliva with panting, pacing, whining, tail down."
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2. Is it dangerous for pets to get stressed out?
Cathy says: "While it's very rare for a pet to die of stress, it's more likely that a pet may harm himself trying to seek relief by climbing into a cupboard or getting tangled in window blinds. One thing is for certain: it's not healthy (or pleasant for your animal) to have such stressful periods with increased heart rate and fear. That's why I very much recommend ways to help your pet cope (preferably by natural means and remedies). 15min before leaving I give both my dogs PetCalm Granules to help settle them and get them calmed down. On very bad days I give them both PetCalm Granules too - which they love, and it really works very quickly to keep them calm without sedating them."
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3. Can anxiety and separation anxiety cause 'bad' behaviour?
Cathy says: "Well… 'bad' is subjective - your pet is scratching at the door because it was the last place he saw you exit and wishes to make sure you are okay. Similarly, digging, shredding of paper and chewing of furniture may be ways of trying to cope with feelings of fear and anxiety. Your pet cannot articulate what he is feeling and so he tries frantically to cope. Never scold or shout at your pet when he is in this state as it will only make he stress and fear more intense." If you pet struggles with 'bad' behaviour related to separation anxiety, get them to wear a NutureCalm 24/7 Calming Collar for cats or NutureCalm 24/7 Canine Calming Collar for dogs - pheromone infused collars that reduce anxious, aggressive or anti-social behaviour, including defecating or urinating in the home, excessive barking, destructive behaviour, aggression or compulsive licking due to anxiety.

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4. How should a pet owner deal with separation anxiety?
Cathy says: "When leaving your pet, keep the routine exactly the same each time. Don’t make a fuss about leaving - walk out and close the door behind you. I always leave Holly and Silky with something to keep them occupied like a safe toy or a favourite chew (make sure it is pet friendly and not a choking hazard). Some pets feel better with the radio or tv on. If your pet is going to stay somewhere else and will be away from you, you should include their favorite toys, blankets, and even an item of your clothing that has your smell on it. Start leaving your pet alone for short periods of time,gradually lengthening the time away from home so that they are gently introduced to time away from you."
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5. What else may help pets cope with being left alone?
Cathy says: "There are a few tips that I have found work wonders, they include: A balanced, high quality diet can help to boost your pet's immune system. Include plenty of raw and unprocessed food (preferably organic) that will help them be less prone to stress. Try an animal safe aromatherapy treatment or massage to soothe and comfort a stressed animal. Regular exercise is key - not only to keep your pet healthy and fit, but also burn up excess nervousness and tension. If your pet pines excessively when at the kennels, investigate other options. Perhaps you could get a dog-sitter to look after your dog at home or leave him with a friend while you are away."
HAVE A QUESTION about related to your pet?
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