While we all miss our pets when we leave home for the day, we don’t realize how much they miss us too. From their perspective, they’ve just spent 18 months with their beloved owners, getting constant cuddles, attention, and walks, and little do they know it’s all about to change. But have no fear, we’ve been working on a plan to help our dogs and lots of other pets adjust to the change ahead.
Our pets love their household routines. When a home once full of reliable activity and attention suddenly goes quiet, it’s easy to get lonely. You may have seen some of the signs: chewing and other destructive behaviour, accidents, excessive whining or barking, scratching, panting, pacing, disobedience, waiting by doors and windows, and (though we hope not!) even running away. That’s what separation anxiety looks like. So what can we do to help?
- Provide them with lots of exercise, structure, and routine.
Spend time with them in the morning before you leave. Go for a nice, long walk to a local coffee shop or park or throw their favorite ball in the backyard. Get into a routine of preparing their morning meal right when you get back from your walk so they have something to look forward to or give them a bone or chew toy to preoccupy themselves with. And when you do get home, take them on another walk to keep them happy and to help get the zoomies out from being inside and alone for the day.
- Give them a solid dose of CBD!
Make sure to do this BEFORE you start to prepare to leave - just the jingle of your car keys or the sight of your backpack can lead to separation triggers. CBD helps tremendously for most dogs who deal with anxiety when they’re in a stressful situation. While all of our products will help, our Everyday Wellness will work well but the added botanicals like Valerian Root and L-Tryptophan in Bailey’s No More Wiggles Oil will help manage the stressors and bring some welcome relief. And don’t skimp...our view is it’s better to find a system that works and then reduce the amount when the dog learns that it will be ok.
- Don’t make a big deal of when you leave AND return.
Keep it casual. Head out the door quietly, don’t rile them up then hastily rush out the door. Perhaps set them up on their bed for a snooze and then walk out the room, just make it as much of a soothing goodbye as you can so they don’t take much notice. Just like when you leave, returning calmly and quietly will help maintain good behavior.
- Close any blinds or curtains if you have a dog that likes to bark at everyone who passes by.
In our family, that’s Bailey...something bugs him about every single mailman that comes by our house! Making sure there’s no way they can peek outside will ensure they can’t get distracted by passersby, and that way they can feel safe and secure in the comfort of their home.
- Put on some white noise, calming music, a chill radio station, or a fan.
Just like with humans, white noise and calm music helps dogs chill out and doze off. We’ve got in the habit of leaving our dogs with one of our favorite relaxing radio stations playing quietly in some rooms of the house. This works to conceal any insignificant noises outside that they may pick up on and just generally keeps them calmer.
- Try leaving for short periods of time before you go the whole day.
If you or the kids haven’t been leaving the house very much over the past year and a half, going for a whole day may be a big jump for your pet. If you can, try leaving for a couple of hours while you run some errands so they have time to adjust to being alone for an extended period of time.
- Leave them with a “puzzle” chew toy or some recently worn clothes.
Puzzle toys work really well because they keep pups occupied for a while as they work towards their reward. It’ll keep them busy during those chaotic morning departures for school or the office. Just make sure to tuck it away when you’re all back home and encourage the use of it to only be when you leave.
Recently worn clothes work well too so your pet can still smell you while you’re gone. If you’ve got felines in the family, hide some kibble bits around the house for them to investigate, or you can set up a window perch with a birdhouse view.
- And finally, during evening family reunions, lavish your pets with heaps of attention and exercise.
If your pup is anything like Austin, tired means happy! Try a CBD dog biscuit or a CBD oil first thing in the morning. You may find it’s just what you need to ease your furry friends’ anxiety so they can enjoy the new season with the rest of us.