For some pets, any change in their routine can be upsetting. The distress can be expressed in all kinds of behaviors, including urinating, excessive barking, howling, chewing and other destructive behaviors, pacing, or trying to escape. Your particular pet may have come up with his or her own special behaviors to express the stress they are feeling. The behaviors can be accompanied by panic, agitation or depression when they are alone. These are all signs of separation anxiety.
The first step in addressing behavioral or emotional issues is always to have your pet evaluated by their vet. You need to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the problem.
Once it is clear that your pet has separation anxiety, there are many things that an experienced pet sitter can do to help him or her conquer the problem. You may want to try some behavior modification techniques. Try desensitizing your pup by starting with baby steps. You can leave the house for very short periods of time, it should be short enough that it produces no anxiety in your pet. Then gradually increase the amount of time you are gone until he or she is ready to be alone for a longer stretch of time. You might also try teaching your pet to associate your leaving with a pleasant occurrence. You can accomplish this by giving your dog a food-dispensing toy every time you leave the house.
Make sure all your greetings- all hellos and goodbyes- are done in a very calm way. Just say hello or goodbye with a pat on the head, very matter-of-factly. You can give more enthusiastic attention to your pet when he or she is calm and relaxed.
Always, but especially when you are away from your pet for a period of time, be sure she gets enough exercise and mental stimulation. This will give your dog something to do and think about, decrease stress, and provide appropriate outlets for their energy. A good pet sitter can make this a priority while you are away.
You can hire a skilled pet sitter to help your pet deal with separation anxiety when you need to be away. It’s important to try to avoid having your pet experience the full-blown extent of his anxiety at any time. This is something you will want to thoroughly discuss with your pet sitter before you leave your pet in her care. Read more about our expert pet care services in Portland OR.