When Are You Coming Home?

Alone again

Some dogs are understandably bored when left alone and find ways to amuse themselves. Some of these activities, which are not particularly amusing for their humans, may include exploring the kitchen bench, going through the washing, chewing the couch and barking at passing cats or neighbours. Other dogs become genuinely distressed and may turn destructive.

Separation anxiety is a problem many dogs and dog owners face. If, while you’re away, your dog spends the entire time staring at the front door and pacing and whining, or digging at doors and windows while ignoring toys and food, it is likely that your dog has separation anxiety.

stressed-dog-aucklandStress symptoms in your dog

Other symptoms of stress can include obsessive licking, aggression, hiding, trembling, whining, excessive panting or drooling and even diarrhoea.

Stress and anxiety can trigger a number of health issues, including infections, allergies, skin problems and weight loss.

Alleviating stress

To help your dog cope with the stress as effectively as possible, it is important to get to the root of the problem. A vet check will help to identify any underlying health issues, and if necessary they can help on an on-going basis.

There are many options available to dog owners to help limit stress, and in most cases a balanced approach is highly effective.

It is important your pet has enough exercise, rest, relaxation, playtime and nutrition. B vitamins are well-recognised for helping both animals and humans deal with stress. Other nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids are helpful in moderating extreme behaviours and antioxidants can boost the immune system and help your dog fell well.

Training can also alleviate separation anxiety. Owners of dogs suffering from separation anxiety are advised to gradually build up the amount of time they spend away from their pets and to keep arrivals and departures low-key.

One way to help dogs with separation anxiety is to be very matter-of-fact about your comings and goings. It is helpful to ignore dogs with separation anxiety for between 10 and 30 minutes on arrival and departure.

Making a big deal and fawning over the dog conveys the message that departures are a big deal. Fussing and holding long emotional conversations only escalate the situation: your anxious behaviour exacerbates your dog’s stress.

The same is true of grand celebrations when you return. If upon walking through the door you make a huge fuss of your dog, the message is that your return is the most important, exciting part of the day. Your dog may then spend the day anticipating that exciting return and feeling anxious that it hasn’t yet happened. Being calm when you return home helps reduce the tension.

Other hints to reduce stress

Increase physical activity when you are home with walks, games of fetch, etc. Exercise can help decrease anxiety, instil confidence and positively impact a dog’s joint and digestive health.

To reduce separation anxiety, it is preferable your dog is not left unsupervised for longer than 3 to 5 hours at a time. That’s when dog day care can be a lifesaver, or at the very least, a housesaver.

A valuable solution

Doggy day care can be a valuable solution for many dog owners. In dog day care, your dog gets the company of humans and dogs while you’re away. Doggy daycare offers a comfortable, safe, and controlled setting and daycare dogs benefit from physical exercise, supervised socialisation and mental stimulation.

Enroll your dog in day care even if it’s just a day or two a week. On top of getting a change of scenery you dog will also get lots of loving attention from trained dog lovers. The people who run and work in doggie daycare centres love dogs – that’s why they run that type of business.

If you’re looking for a comfortable, safe and secure environment for your dog, call us on 09 299 7415 to ask about doggy day care. Inspections welcome 10am-4pm each day. Both regular and casual daycare places are available.