Mono, ON (Adam Jones) Pet separation anxiety manifests itself in different ways. Some can be destructive or choose to disturb your neighbours with a fit of loud barking and whining. They may also spread their stool and urine in the most unexpected places, such as the inside of your favourite pair of shoes or all over your clothes. Others chew and scratch on furniture without compunction. They destroy things that you frequently use and carry your scent, and they do all these things as soon as you leave them alone. They are also wildly excited to see you when you get back, incessantly demanding your attention. But what can cause this anxiety in our beloved pets? One of the most common reasons is boredom when left alone. They may also feel abandoned by their owners. The destructive behaviour that they manifest is merely a cry for much needed attention.

So what can you do about it? Teach your pet to recognize cues signalling your departure, such as picking up your keys and interact with them on your terms and not when they demand it. Try increasing the amount of exercise that your pet gets, but if your time is limited, you might hire someone to walk your pet. Add more toys for it to chew. During the hours that you are away at work, hire a dog sitter or put your pet in daycare. If you have the space, you can set aside an area for your pet. Crates and pens are available in different sizes and materials. Choose one suitable to the size and strength of your pet.

In case of serious separation anxiety cases, consult your veterinarian. They may suggest other available therapies or medication for your pet. You can also consult with pet trainers and do research in print or online for ways on how to train your pet to accept your absence. Internet forums for pet owners can also be a valuable tool for learning effective techniques in handling your pet’s separation anxiety.

But most of all, treat your pet with love and sensitivity. Remember that your pet is only acting out what it cannot verbalize. With a little help, you and your pet can live an anxiety-free existence.