If you are a dog or cat owner who has come home to find scratches on doors, teeth marks on pillows, furniture or other household items or possibly feces on floors or carpeting, then chances are that your furry friend did these things while in the throes of pet separation anxiety.
This behavior typically comes about when an owner who has trained his or her four-legged pal to expect constant companionship suddenly and inexplicably–at least, to the pet–disappears. Fido or Kitty can feel very unsettled by such an event and become frantic and/or destructive as a result. Imagine if someone you trusted and who was with you all the time went away with no explanation, how would you feel?
The best way to deal with pet separation anxiety is to help your dog or cat learn to accept that there will be periods of time when you will not be with them. During the periods when you are home, make sure that Fido or Kitty has some alone time when he or she can be away from you. You can do this on a gradient – short periods of time first and then longer ones as the pet gets used to greater independence.
When you leave, it’s important not to make too much of it so Fido or Kitty doesn’t feel like something is wrong. When you return, don’t automatically lavish your pet with attention or scold him or her for bad behavior. You might find it helpful to give your animal pal a treat before you leave to communicate that all is well. Just be sure not to do this when you return and find that the pet has torn up your home–you don’t want to reinforce further naughtiness.
While most cases of pet separation anxiety are caused by faulty (or unintentional) home training, some are caused by medical issues. If you see any new negative behavior in your cat or dog, make an appointment at Austin Pet and Bird Clinic. Our DVMs (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) will examine your pet from nose to tail to make sure the naughtiness doesn’t come from something that could seriously compromise Fido or Kitty’s health. Contact us today!