This article is brought to you by the wonderful folks at Wag! The Dog Walking App
One of the most stressful aspects of dog ownership is ensuring that they stay happy and healthy during the times you cannot be together. Whether you are saddled with a demanding work schedule, planning a vacation, or dealing with an unexpected emergency, you want to know that your dog is safe and content in your absence.
Many dogs experience some level of separation anxiety when left home alone. Behaviors can range from mild barking, pacing and house soiling to extreme reactions like destruction of property, escaping the home, and self mutilation. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to help ease these heartbreaking symptoms for your best friend.
1. Increase Exercise with a service like Wag! The Dog Walking App
We all know how much more mellow we feel when we’ve had a good amount of exercise. Just like us, our pups have an amount of expendable energy they need to get out per day. Every dog breed is different and has different needs -a German Shepherd Dog – for example – needs 1.7 miles of exercise per day. As you can imagine, regardless how good we are, life happens and there are periods of time where a few miles with the pup just doesn’t happen. Lack of exercise can be a huge driver to anxiety, chewing, destroying, digging – all that pent up energy can cause a host of issues.
(Wag is offering a 3 free walks for iHeartDogs.com readers. Literally, download app and sign up for the 3 free walks here to decide if it works for you. PLUS every walk you book feeds a shelter dog.)
Wag Walking is a ridiculously great solution that we have used personally and recommend to our friends. We like it for a host of reasons including:
– All dog walkers are vetted, screened, rated and local. Every dog walker on Wag’s platform is an experienced dog lover who is local & ready to walk your pup.
– Wag is like Uber for dog walkers! All you have to do is click a button and a dog walker will show up at your door in as little as 15 minutes.
– You can track all walks through GPS tracking right from your app. The app will even tell you when your dog has peed & pooped.
– You get a photo report card after every walk right from the app! The report card shows you a photo of your pup after the walk, miles your pup walked and if they peed or pooped.
As mentioned all iHeartDogs.com readers get 3 free walks AND every time you book a walk we feed a shelter dog.
We hope these tactics help your pup find their calm place when you leave. If you have any other tactics you use, please let us know via the comments below – we’d love to hear them!
2. Calm Pawrent, Calm Pet
The way you behave in the moments before you leave sets the tone for your dog’s entire day. The instinct of a loving pet parent is to hug and kiss your pooch, profess your love for them, and generally make a big deal out of the fact that you are about to walk out the door. The problem is, dogs don’t understand our platitudes and promises to return home at 5:30. They do, however, respond to our nervous energy and become more anxious themselves. When it is time to leave, do so calmly and quietly without any fanfare.
3. Empower Your Pup
A confident, independent dog is far less likely to suffer from anxiety. In order to empower your pup to spend time on his own, try slowly encouraging activities in a separate room while you are at home. For example, offer an enticing bone or toy in the bedroom while you watch TV in the living room.
Your dog will learn that being apart from you is not cause for panic, and eventually appreciate his independence. Leaving behind soothing reminders of your presence – like a well-worn T-shirt and soft music – may also help with the transition.
4. Herbal Relief
There are hundreds of products on the market designed to reduce canine anxiety and promote a natural, drug-free sense of well being. They come in liquids, caplets or chewable treats for ease of distribution. Ingredients include chamomile tea, vitamins, floral extracts, and even a blend of soothing peptides extracted from canine colostrum – the early mother’s milk proven to help puppies feel calm and safe. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.