The pets are affected by holiday plans.
(MS) — Only a small percentage of households are prepared for how shifts in their routine can impact their pets. Even the most well-adjusted pet can be thrown off by routine activities like going on vacation or attending holiday parties.
According to Kellyann Conway, an animal trainer at PetsIncredible and the Comfort Zone Dog Trainer of the Year for 2006, “despite their best intentions, many pet parents don’t realize that changes in the family’s daily routine can greatly affect their pets.” “When kids go back to school or adults take on a new work schedule, pets may lose a devoted playmate and experience a profound change,” the author writes. “This change can sometimes lead to behaviors in your dog that you do not want him to exhibit.”
Behaviors associated with anxiety or destruction can be triggered in dogs when they are abruptly left alone for the first time. In point of fact, the majority of undesirable behaviors will manifest themselves within the first half an hour of being left alone. Some examples of these behaviors include digging and scratching at doors, howling and excessive barking, and soiling the house even when it has already been house trained. Other examples of these behaviors include howling and excessive barking.
It is important to rule out the possibility that destructive behaviors are the result of a medical condition and to investigate the possibility that they are caused by changes in routine or the absence of companionship. The following is a list of five questions that Conway suggests people who own pets ask themselves:
- Does the behavior only manifest itself when the pet is left to its own devices?
- Does your animal go into a frenzy when it sees you and the rest of the family return to the house?
- Is the impending departure of the family a time of anticipation or melancholy for your animal companion?
- Is it upsetting for your animal companion to be left outside alone while you and your family are inside?
- When you are at home, does your pet follow you and other family members from room to room?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then it is possible that the dog is displaying these behaviors as a result of the new routine that the family has established. After this has been determined, Conway suggests a few strategies that owners of pets can implement in order to condition their dogs to be okay when they are by themselves.
Pheromone therapy is something that many veterinarians recommend giving dogs at least 30 days before any change in their routine in order to help them feel more at ease during the time that they will be away from their families. Products for pheromone therapy, such as Comfort Zone® with D.A.P.® (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), can be purchased in the form of an electric diffuser for the house as well as a spray that can be applied directly to the dog’s bedding to provide instant reassurance when the family is away. Pheromone therapy has been shown in clinical studies to be effective in reducing destructive behavior in dogs by as much as 91 percent. [Clinical studies]
An additional method that pet parents can utilize is to become familiar with the “ready-to-leave” cues that could be the cause of anxiety for their dog. Putting on a jacket, picking up the keys, or the kids packing their backpacks are all examples of cues that indicate it is time to leave. When the cue has been determined to be the source of the pet’s anxiety, the owner of the pet should continue to perform the stressful event in front of the pet until the animal is no longer afraid of it.
Conway also suggests putting some of the following recommendations into practice:
- Increasing the amount of exercise your dog gets will help him sleep better during the day.
- Maintain a laid-back atmosphere during check-in and check-out. Do not give in to the temptation to immediately greet your pet; instead, wait a few minutes before approaching him or her in a relaxed manner.
- Place an item of clothing that has been worn by a member of the family with their scent on it in the bed or crate that your dog sleeps in.
- Keep the radio on with some soothing music playing, or just leave the television on, so that you can better block out the sounds of the outside world.
- If you want to reassure your dog that he is in a secure location, you can use pheromone therapy products like Comfort Zone with D.A.P.
- You should leave your pet a selection of safe chew toys, including some that can be stuffed, so that they can keep themselves entertained throughout the day.
- Some canines feel more at ease in a space that is similar to a den, so giving your dog access to one while the rest of the family is away may be beneficial. Another choice is to confine him in a room that is not accessible to other animals, such as a bathroom or a laundry room. (Baby gates are an excellent choice for this!)
Conway believes that “employing these tips in conjunction with pheromone therapy can be a good way to reduce these undesirable behaviors that dogs can display,” and he makes this statement in the following sentence: Not only will using these methods ease the stress associated with the transition for your pet, but they will do the same for your whole family as well.
CEVA Santé Animale is the owner of the registered trademark for the D.A.P. ® brand.
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