The busy days of back-to-school are upon us, and they can be stressful for everyone, including your pet. While dogs often feel the stress more than cats, the stress of spending more hours alone can affect everyone. You can take some proactive steps to reduce pet separation anxiety for your furry friend–here are some of our team’s top suggestions.

Training Your Pet to Spend Time Alone

tan and white dog sitting alone

The first step when training a dog with separation anxiety is–training. Both when you’re home and when you’re away for a few hours. Engagement and understanding help a pet understand what you want him or her to do.

When training them to stay home alone, put them in a comfortable area of your home–alone–for small increments of time. This space should be safe and comfortable, such as a cozy bedroom area they love. Remove any objects they might want to chew up at first. You’ll start training them by leaving them alone for just a few minutes. Then, return and check on them. Assuming they have been good, give your beloved pet lots of praise and even a treat or two. 

Gradually increase the time you are gone each time you practice the exercise. Your pet will become used to being alone, and eventually, they’ll be much better at staying home alone. Showing them they’re safe and creating predictable routines are essential for a happy pet.

Keep Your Pet Entertained

cute engaged puppy playing with a toy on the carpet

People find it frustrating and boring to spend time without anything to do, and it is no different for your pet. We suggest providing your pet with activities that will keep them engaged. This will also help prevent dog separation anxiety.

One possible solution is food toys. These toys are designed to keep pets entertained. You put a small treat in the toy, and when your pet solves the puzzle correctly, they get the treat. You can also try playing the television or radio while you’re away, as the sound can help a pet feel like someone is there with them. In addition, diffusing lavender essential oils may help a dog with separation anxiety.

Keeping Your Cool

dog laying on the carpet, as instructed by owner

When you come home and find that your pet has torn items up or had a bathroom accident, it’s best to not react and take a few moments to calm down. It’s likely that your pet will misunderstand the connection between the item they destroyed (or the bathroom accident) and your anger, as they could have done this hours before. Therefore, continue with your regular routine, which should include taking them outside to go potty and loving them.

If their aggression or accidents happen repeatedly, think about training them in your spare time and adding new ways to engage them. This way, they won’t have time to be destructive when you leave the house. 

Helping Your Dog be Successful at Staying Home Alone

dog sitting on  couch alone at home resting, no separation anxiety

When you must leave your dog home alone, ensure that you are leaving them in a safe and comfortable environment that they know well. This will help prevent pet separation anxiety. Remove anything from the room they might destroy while you’re away. Always provide access to water. Consider the temperature in the room and take steps for it to remain comfortable while you are gone. 

Remember things you might not otherwise consider– such as the late afternoon sun, which can get very warm in the afternoon when shining in a west window, and impact where your pet rests. Also, take other sounds and sensory issues at certain times of the day into consideration. From church and school bells down the street to loud noises, alarms, and more–your pet’s fear could be caused by other factors. 

Doggie Daycare for Pets

two dogs playing in the sand, one large brown dog, one small grey dog

An easy solution to dog separation anxiety is to bring them next door to the Bayside Bed and Biscuit for doggie daycare, where your pet will enjoy playing with friends while you’re away. Your pet can have fun at the outdoor and indoor stations, including the pet splash pad and pet spa. We love recommending our favorite pets from Bayside Animal Hospital for daily care next door. This is an excellent alternative to leaving your dog home alone. As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call.