"No, no!...Don’t leave me alone..."
What is Separation Anxiety?
Generally speaking, separation anxiety is the fear of being left alone. There isn’t one specific cause that triggers this type of anxiety, but there are many possible factors. Some of the most common causes are changes in residence, changes in ownership, or being left alone for prolonged periods of time. Any of these seemingly harmless changes can lead to separation anxiety in even the most happy dogs and cats. Separation anxiety is the fear of being left alone.
How Do You Know if Your Pet Has Separation Anxiety?Both dogs and cats display bad behavior when they have separation anxiety. For cats, this usually means mean excessive meowing and a lot more "accidents" outside the litterbox. Meanwhile, dogs will also have many accidents inside the house, but will also chew, dig, bark, and howl excessively. When no one is at home they may even try to escape. Before you confirm that your dog or cat has separation anxiety, you need to make sure that the issue isn’t another medical problem or lack of proper training. However, if you have a rescue dog or the behavior is triggered by sudden changes, it’s likely that your pet is suffering from stress and loneliness.
How to Deal With Separation Anxiety in Dogs and Cats?Helping your pet through anxiety is important to make them feel happy, comfortable and safe. But, cats and dogs will require slightly different approaches.
CraftingFor some dogs, all you need to do is put in a smaller crate when you leave. The smaller space makes them feel more secure and safe. However, if the dog creates a fuss about getting into the crate, don’t force them.
For some dogs, all you need to do is put in a smaller crate when you leave.
Positive reinforcementThis will take some patience from your side, but might also be the best way to resolve anxiety issues. Basically, just reward your dog for desirable behavior and ignore their bad behavior. This will help show them that there is nothing to be scared about.
Everything will be fine", right?
Cognitive behavioral therapyThis is a 4 step process that heavily involves both you and your pet: 1) recognize anxious behavior or feeling in your pet; 2) reassure the pet; 3) develop a plan that is going to help with the situation; and lastly 4) evaluate the success of the coping strategies.
"I hope you know what cognitive behavioral therapy is!"
Behavior ModificationJust by slightly altering your routine and behavior, you can help your feline friend overcome separation anxiety for a long time. Simply put, just try not to fuss over your cat for 15 minutes before you leave and when you get home. Additionally, to help the cat calm down, it could be beneficial to also leave a distraction toy.
"This toy is weird! Where is my favorite mouse???"
Cat EquipmentSometimes cats can have separation anxiety from pure boredom. Keep them occupied by equipping your home with comfortable cat perches, trees, and towers. Window side bird feeders and similar amusements can also be fun tools for your pet.
Keep me busy!"
Anti-Anxiety MedicationJust like for dogs, you can use EcoBalance Calming Liquid for your cat. It will naturally calm your pet down and let them go about their day in a happier mood. If you do choose to opt for medication, then consult your vet before administering anything to your cat.
"Keep calm with EcoBalance Calming Liquid! Meow!"
Add Another CatSome cats could do with an extra friend that they can play with every time you’re not home. It offers them a distraction from their constant human companionship. However, some cats are not particularly social - so it maybe a good idea to do some test runs with your friend’s cats before committing.
"Meet my new fur friend!"