Many dog owners have separation anxiety and worry about leaving their pets alone for periods of time. This is completely normal, and there are several things you can do to ease your pet’s anxiety while pet lodging.
Choosing the right facility is important, as it will help your dog feel more comfortable. You should also make sure that your dog is given plenty of physical exercise to release their nervous energy.
Expose Your Dog to the Kennel
Many dogs who suffer from separation anxiety find kennel accommodations stressful, but you can ease your dog’s anxieties by taking steps to prepare him before his stay. One important step is to make sure the boarding facility you choose offers private rooms rather than group kennels.
A kennel with outdoor yards and play spaces will also be more welcoming for your pet. If you can, try visiting the kennel in person so your dog can see what he’ll be getting into and get familiar with it before his stay.
Many boarding facilities offer exercise, either in the form of a daily walk or hours spent in large exercise pen areas, to help your pet burn off excess energy. This will keep him from acting out during his boarding stay and may prevent him from feeling anxious or homesick. Some boarding facilities also allow you to bring your own dog’s food, which can also reduce his stress levels.
Bring Your Dog’s Own Food
Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety can become extremely agitated when they are left alone. They may display destructive behaviors like chewing up furniture or their owner’s clothing. They may also engage in self-harm behavior like biting or scratching themselves. They may even urinate or defecate inside the house despite being potty trained.
One way to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety is to bring them their own food. This is a much better option than purchasing commercial dog foods that are loaded with preservatives. Besides being healthier, home-cooked meals are more palatable for dogs because they have all the nutrients that their bodies need.
Aside from bringing their own food, you can also bring your dog’s favorite toys, blanket and pillow. Using these items can help them feel more at home in their kennel and they will look forward to coming back to your home after their stay. Lastly, you should choose a boarding facility that offers private rooms for dogs with separation anxiety as they can be more relaxed in their own space.
Give Your Dog Lots of Love and Attention
Generally, if your dog is acting up or seems anxious, it is because it wants attention. You can ease its nervousness by saying, “I will be right back,” and giving it lots of petting and affection. This will also help increase the oxytocin in its brain, which is known to create feelings of love and bonding.
Before leaving for boarding, you can even try to get your dog used to being left alone by leaving it in another room of the house or outside for short periods of time. Once it feels comfortable with that, you can slowly start increasing the amount of time you leave it. You can also talk to your veterinarian or a certified dog trainer about this issue for more ideas and suggestions. Also, make sure to send your dog with its favorite toys and a blanket that smells like home so that it does not feel lonely while you are away.
Leave Your Dog for Short Periods
When you are ready to start leaving your dog for short periods of time, be sure that they have been out on a long walk so that they have an opportunity to burn energy and go to the toilet. Then leave them with a bone, a Kong or puzzle ball filled with treats and an old shirt that smells like you – this will help them feel comfortable when they are left alone.
It is also important to practice leaving your dog for a couple of minutes at home and returning as if it was the most natural thing in the world. This will help to make it easier for you when it comes to leaving them at the pet lodge.
Try not to make a big fuss when you leave or return to your dog, this will only increase their anxiety. It’s best to keep this whole process as uneventful as possible, and be very quick when you say goodbye.