As the cooler weather (slowly) moves into Central Florida, you may find yourself away from home for longer than usual. Whether you’re headed to a local pumpkin patch, enjoying a leisurely brunch downtown, or spending the day at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, you don’t want your pup to panic after you walk out the door.
With that thought in mind, it’s important to know if your pet suffers from separation anxiety. After over a year of spending more time than ever at home, it may be a hard adjustment for your furry pal to suddenly be without you. Does your dog (or cat) follow you around the house, always resting in the same room as you? Do they act anxious (barking, meowing loudly, or panting) when you leave? You don’t want to return home to destroyed furniture or a ransacked pantry. Fortunately, there are some simple precautions you can take before leaving your pets on their own.
Five Tips to Help You Keep Your Pets Calm When You’re Gone
Below, we share five tips to help you keep your pets calm when they’re home alone.
Create a safe space: Think of this room as your pet’s den. It may be a closet or small bathroom, preferably with limited windows. Bring in their bed and some of their favorite toys as well as a bowl of water. You can even give them an old sweatshirt or blanket with your scent on it! Spend time in there with them to help them learn to love the space.
Play some tunes or a TV show: An empty house may seem eerily quiet to your four-legged friend. Instead, play some soothing music or the television while you’re gone to help them feel less alone. You can also purchase Through a Dog’s Ear or Through a Cat’s Ear, albums of piano music that have been shown to ease anxiety in 70 percent of shelter dogs and 85 percent of dogs in homes. This music is specifically designed to calm the canine and feline nervous system.
Offer them a new toy or treat: Although an old toy will provide them comfort, a new toy may be the perfect distraction for their stress. If your pet is food-motivated, consider filling a Kong with peanut butter, bone broth, or even baby food and then freeze it. Your dog will be so focused on licking their way to the treat that they’ll forget you’re gone!
Keep an eye on them: Thank goodness for technology! With a Furbo camera, you can check-in on your pet. You’ll also get alerts if your dog starts barking. Plus, you’re able to talk to them and offer treats remotely — two helpful ways to keep them calm in your absence. Be sure to test out the audio feature though: Some dogs may have an increased sense of anxiety if they can hear their owner’s voice but not see them.
Tire them out before you leave: If you plan to be gone for a while, make an effort to squeeze in a long walk or some active play time before you leave. With a little exercise, your pet will naturally want to rest in your absence.
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