School Starts, seasons change....but what about our pets?
Q. With school beginning, our family will start to leave our one year old puppy alone at home for an extended part of each weekday; do you have any recommendations for the best way to limit separation anxiety?
A. Separation anxiety is a big problem when pets are left alone. This results in vocalization (attempts to call the departing figure back), hyperactivity, hyperventilating, salivating, shedding, destructive behavior, and elimination problems. They can also quit eating and become depressed. Gradually acclimating your puppy to being alone is the best preventative. Start with just a few moments of separation, gradually working up to 60-90 minutes. Eventually leave your puppy 3-4 hours and then the entire workday. Keeping your pet occupied with toys (Kong balls work well), leaving the TV on and games will prevent boredom. Until then, hire a pet sitter, take your puppy to a friends or boarding kennel, or consider taking him/her to work with you.
Check our Womens Today Family Fall issue for the rest of Dr. Ks recommendations.