When you plan a trip away or simply a prolonged period out of the house, you need to think about how this will affect your dog. Dogs are incredibly sociable animals and love human contact, so seeing their owner leaving, even just for a few hours, can trigger anxiety. This is relatively normal but can be more extreme in some dogs, or if it’s for a more extended period of time, so it’s best to do a little prep work before you go away to make sure your dog is as relaxed as possible.
Planning ahead can make seperation easier.
This forethought can make all the difference to keeping your four-legged friend cool, calm and collected whilst you’re not there. Although this doesn’t mean they won’t miss you or that you won’t get a very warm welcome on your return!
Before planning a separation from your dog, it’s good practice to make as little fuss about the situation as possible. Naturally, dogs are intuitive animals and will take note of a change in atmosphere or a suitcase in the hallway, but in the build-up to going away, try to make your exits quick and pay little or no attention to your dog on leaving and re-entering the house. It isn’t easy, but this is a great step at adjusting your dog to your leaving. If you prolong leaving and make a song and dance about the fact, you are more likely to get your dog worked up and more distressed when you do go.
Offer comfort and reassurance.
Like babies, dogs also like comforters for some reassurance. Having a soft toy, or maybe even a recently worn item of clothing can be a great comfort to a dog when left on its own. Just the smell of you can have a great soothing effect.
Also, it’s important to make sure you are leaving your dog in a calm and relaxing environment. You can create a more homely feel by leaving the radio or television on for some human background noise.
Get a pet sitter. Keeping your dog in their familiar environment will automatically make them feel less stressed. But make sure your pet sitter is introduced to your dog several times beforehand, and be sure to leave detailed instructions so they can keep to your dog’s usual routine and minimise the anxiety of you not being there.
Calming Aids can help with separation anxiety
There are many calming aids on the market that can help relieve your dogs anxiety. Things such as diffusers need to be plugged in a few weeks in advance to give them a chance to work.
Thundershirts can help during stressful times such as fireworks and thunderstorms and are worth investing in. You can read about it on the science direct website.
If you need advice on leaving your dog safely, we are always happy to help. Just get in touch.