As lockdown is starting to ease, some of us are finding that we are returning to work. After multiple weeks of being with your dog all day, you may find that they have developed separation anxiety when apart from you.
What is separation anxiety?
According to the RSPCA, there are several signs that your dog could be suffering.
More common signs:
Less common signs:
How can I watch for the signs when I’m not there?
Some of the above symptoms will be obvious when you return, such as a chewed table leg or a puddle on the floor, but others are less apparent. If you’re worried your dog is showing signs which don’t leave a mark, it’s a good idea to set up a camera. This will allow you to monitor your dog’s behaviour while you’re not there, and can be found cheap on Amazon from around £30.
What is the best way to prepare for when I’m not home?
If you’re anticipating returning to work and you’re worried that your dog won’t cope, it’s best to get them used to you not being there as soon as you can.
You can start by leaving the room for a few minutes at a time and seeing if they whine or show any other distressed behaviours. Build it up from here, leave the room for longer and longer periods of time, and eventually leave the house and check how they are doing on the camera. It may be hard to hear your dog’s whining but if you re-enter the room once they’ve stopped and praise them, it will reinforce the good behaviour.
How can I keep my dog occupied while I’m out?
There are numerous ways you can occupy your dog while you’re not home. Just be careful not to leave them with any toys they could chew and swallow, as this could result in a very unhappy dog and a hefty vet bill!
One of the safest things you can do is freeze some food in a KONG and leave it with them when you go. There are both healthy and less healthy options for what to fill the KONG with. A less healthy option is peanut butter or soft cheese. A healthier option is natural yoghurt or dampened kibble. The Urban Pet Store sells KONG's so if you don’t already have one, snatch one up when you can, they’re a staple product for the dog cupboard! Freezing the treat inside the KONG is ideal not just to keep your dog occupied, but the licking motion also releases serotonin - the happiness hormone!
Some owners find that leaving the TV or radio on helps their dog feel less alone thanks to the voices, so this could be worth a try if your dog responds well.
I’m going away for a weekend, what’s best for my dog?
Of course, you can’t leave a dog alone for a weekend. Many owners find the idea of putting their dog in kennels stressful, but this isn’t the only option. How about a home dog boarder?
At Tali’s Tails, we look after your dog in our loving home, and have our two resident dogs for playtimes and fun. We take on a maximum of two guest dogs at a weekend so you can be sure your best friend is getting all the attention and love they deserve. Check out more info and prices on our services page or take a look at our Facebook page.