Have you ever had to pass up an opportunity to hang out with your friends? Or maybe, go on that vacation you’ve been wanting? How about not being able to push through with running errands? And, it’s all because your dog can’t be left alone at home. Have you ever thought about pet sitters, then?
Every dog owner knows that the responsibility of having a dog at home also comes with the slight struggle of leaving them. Each owner has a reason. Some worry about how their dog will behave and if they’ll be safe, while some have dogs with separation anxiety. There are many other reasons for a dog parent to worry, and if you’re able to leave your dogs without any trouble, you’re truly a lucky one.
Now, if your dog seems to worry when you’re heading out, has the tendency to destroy stuff when you leave the house, and even becomes extremely hyper when you come back — you may be dealing with a case of separation anxiety.
As a dog parent with other responsibilities aside from taking care of your pupper, you might not even notice that your dog has separation anxiety or you might not know how to deal with it. It can be quite stressful on both ends.
It’s not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don’t. But remember, your dog’s behavior is some kind of panic response.
Here are some of the most common ways you can tell that they have separation anxiety:
- Digging and scratching at doors or windows attempting to reunite with their owners
- Destructive chewing
- Howling, barking, and whining
- Urination and defecation (even with otherwise house-trained dogs)
And here are some of the scenarios that can trigger separation anxiety:
- Being left alone for the first time
- Being left alone when accustomed to constant human contact
- Suffering a traumatic event, such as time away from you in a boarding kennel
- Change in the family’s routine or structure, or the loss of a family member or other pet
After reading all of this, you’re probably wondering how you’ll ever go on that vacation that you’ve been wanting. The answer is simple – prepare your dog emotionally for your travel without them.
Here are several ways on how to do that:
1. Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures
Talk to your dog in a calm voice when you’re leaving or returning. Most of the time, they’ll jump and bark when they see you arrive – try to not interact with them until they’ve settled down. (We know it’s hard to ignore your dog, but it’s for the best! It’s only a couple of minutes!)
2. Establish a word or action that you use every time you leave
Make sure that it tells your dog you’ll be back. This will take a while, but if you and your dog get the hang out it. It will help you in the long run.
3. Spend extra time together
Your dog will surely miss you when you’re away, no matter how long or short that time is. Any time spent away from you is them missing you. So, make sure that they get a bit of extra cuddle time. It’s actually also for you – we know that you’ll be missing your dog as well.
4. Hire a professional and trusted pet sitter
Family or friends are sometimes out of reach and don’t have the time to help you. It’s frustrating when you can seem to find someone. It may also be a bit more difficult for you to trust your dog with someone you’re not familiar with, but if there’s a guarantee that you can screen the person before you hire them, then that’s probably the best option.
There are a lot of pet-sitting companies, but if you don’t have the time to scour the internet in search of the best one – we’ve got you covered. Many of our fellow dog lovers have recommended TrustedHouseSitters. They have a great community of pet sitters, as well as dog owners that often turn to them for pet-sitting needs.
If you book a free verified and reviewed pet sitter from their pet-loving community, you can use the promo code THS20 to get $20 slashed off the final price.
5. Inform the pet sitter about your dog’s separation anxiety and leave a care guide
If your dog experiences separation anxiety, talk to your dog’s caregiver about how they can handle the situation when your dog shows signs of stress and anxiety. A simple care guide can also help the sitter know the ins and outs of taking care of your dog, it’ll guarantee that they give the best care. Make sure to also give them an emergency contact as well.
6. Ensure that your dog gets enough exercise before you leave
Go out for a walk, play fetch, or get your dog moving before you pack up. Expending some energy will help your dog feel more relaxed. A dog that is mentally stimulated will be a happier one. It also gets rid of the pent-up energy they have.
7. Make sure your dog has its safe space and comfort needs available
One advantage of having a pet sitter come to your home is that your dog’s surroundings will remain familiar, with the exception that you won’t be there. So, make sure you stock up on their favorite snack and dog food and maybe, leave a shirt or an article of clothing with your scent on it.
It’s never easy to leave your dog to have some time for yourself or go on an out-of-town trip, but if you prep them and get someone trusted to watch over them, you’ll surely be more at ease. Whether you’re dealing with a dog with separation anxiety or not, these tips and a pet sitter will surely be of help.
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