March is Pet Anxiety Month, so we’re taking this opportunity to raise awareness among pet owners in Worcestershire. But of course, your pet can be affected by worries or fears all year round.
A huge 85% of dogs in the UK are distressed by being apart from their owners for long periods of time, according to the RSPCA, even when they’re in a familiar home environment. Meanwhile, a huge 89% of cats are frightened of at least one thing, as noted in a report by the PDSA.
When anxious, pets are likely to:
- Engage in destructive behaviour, such as chewing, scratching or licking
- Howl, make other loud noises or pace up and down
- Tremble, breathe quickly or display a fast heart rate
However, some may suffer without any outward sign, while their mental wellbeing still decreases. If you’re concerned, please don’t hesitate to contact our vet practice team on 01527 889810 to make an appointment.
Our top four tips for reducing separation anxiety
You can help by considering your pet’s state of mind and being proactive:
- Make sure they have adequate exercise before you go out, so they feel more relaxed and can sleep more easily in your absence.
- Provide entertainment such as heavy-duty toys or chews. This will keep them occupied and might make them less likely to destroy your furniture or other possessions.
- Don’t punish them on your return, even if they’ve misbehaved. This will increase their anxiety and may lead to other behavioural problems.
- Show them you care when you arrive home, so they know they’re still important to you.
If your pet’s main concern is something other than separation, such as loud sounds, make sure they have a ‘safe space’ to shelter within your home and consider plug-in treatments (ask our nurse Emma for advice).