The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and spending time with loved ones. For many people, that includes their furry companions. But after the holiday season ends, it's time to return to our daily routines and responsibilities, which often means leaving our dogs at home while we go to work.
Going back to work after the holidays can be challenging, not just for us humans, but for our furry companions as well. Separation anxiety in dogs is a common issue that affects many pet owners and can cause significant distress for our dogs. This guide aims to provide helpful tips and tricks for minimising separation anxiety in dogs.
In this guide we cover
- Separation anxiety
- Establishing a routine
- Keeping your dog occupied
- Making them feel safe
Separation anxiety in dogs is a behavioural disorder that occurs when a dog becomes extremely stressed or worried when separated from their owner or familiar environment. This can result in destructive behaviour, excessive barking or whining, and attempts to escape or self-harm. Separation anxiety is often seen in dogs that have experienced a sudden change in routine or have a strong attachment to their owner. It can also be triggered by events such as moving to a new home or changes in household structure. If left untreated, separation anxiety can cause significant distress for both the dog and the owner.
To minimise the separation anxiety, try to reduce stress triggers and use positive reinforcement. Try not to let yourself get stressed out, as your dog may pick up on your anxiety levels, keep a calm and positive attitude and be a gentle and caring leader for them.
It's also important to keep accept that some separation anxiety when you first leave them at home after the holidays, is normal. It's important to be patient and understanding as your dog adjusts to their new routine. While it can be difficult to say goodbye to our beloved dogs after spending time with them over the holidays, it's important to remember that they will be okay. Dogs are incredibly resilient and adaptable creatures, and they can thrive in a variety of different environments.
If things don’t progress well you can try a stress and anxiety supplement and you can also talk to your vet, a professional dog trainer or a dog behaviourist about strategies for helping your dog cope with separation anxiety.
Establishing a routine for your dog
One of the best ways to make the transition back to normal life easier on your dog is to establish a routine. Dogs thrive on routine and predictability, so it's important to re-establish a schedule for feeding, walking, and playing with your dog as soon as possible. This will help your dog to feel comfortable and secure in their new routine, even when you're not there. If you have time, you can gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends alone so that it is not great a shock to them to be on their own for extended periods of time.
Keeping your dog occupied
Another important aspect of leaving your dog at home is to make sure that they have plenty of things to keep them entertained. Enrichment activities can include interactive toys, puzzle and slow feeders that will challenge their minds and keep them engaged. You can also leave the TV or radio on for background noise, or even hire a dog walker or doggy day-care service to keep your dog company and active during the day. We have a range of dog toys and dog enrichment products that can assist with keeping your dog occupied.
Making your dog feel safe
When leaving your dog alone it's also important to consider your dog's physical and emotional well-being when you're away. Making your dog feel safe when you're not there involves creating a safe and secure environment for them. Providing a comfortable bed or crate, familiar toys, and plenty of water can help your dog feel at ease. You can also consider leaving some familiar scents, such as a shirt with your scent, to help your dog feel comforted. Additionally, leaving background noise such as a radio or TV can help mask any outside noises that may cause stress or anxiety.
It also can be helpful to spend time with your dog before you leave, playing with them and giving them plenty of attention and affection. This will help to strengthen the bond between you and your dog and make the transition back to normal life a little easier.
Ultimately, the key to leaving your dog at home after the holidays is to be prepared and to take the time to establish a routine and make sure that your dog is well taken care of. With a little patience and understanding, your dog will be just fine. And remember, you can always FaceTime, call or video call them for a quick check-in!
In conclusion, leaving your dog at home after the holidays can be difficult, but there are some easy strategies to deal with it. By establishing a routine, providing plenty of entertainment and comfort, and being patient and understanding, you can ensure that your dog is happy and well-adjusted even when you're not there.