I do a lot of pet sitting, and I have become the regular sitter for my coworker’s two Huskies, Achilles and Hadley. Yesterday, my coworker mentioned to me that she’s not sure whether I should watch her dogs or if she should board them during her upcoming wedding and honeymoon. Normally, she would, but the problem is that Achilles has separation anxiety, which sometimes causes diarrhea. Lately, his GI problems have become worse, and she will be gone almost a month in September. This made me curious about whether or not it would be better to keep him in a more social environment with other dogs for the duration of her trip, so I did a little research.
Typically dogs suffer from separation anxiety more than cats. But the last time I asked a friend to watch my cat for a week, she started scratching on the furniture, which is something she had never done before. Still, I could not afford to board her, and I thought she would be better off at home. Dogs are social animals, which is partly why they have more issues than cats. I found one blog post that suggests a home boarding service so that your dog has other dogs to play with. If you don’t have that option in your area, you could find a friend who has dogs as well and is willing to take your dog while you are gone. However, taking them to a veterinary boarding clinic will also ensure that they get any medications or treatments they might need.
Blogger, Adrienne Warber, suggests that taking your dog to a knowledgeable vet clinic for kennel services is the way to go for dogs with separation anxiety. She also has a few suggestions for how to prepare your dog for boarding, such as hiring a dog trainer, creating a routine, or keeping the dog in a crate while you are at work during the day. I’ve found that many dog owners I know have been successful with using a crate. Another one of my regular clients has a very destructive dog, but when they keep her in the crate regularly, or when she is behaving badly, the dog calms down immediately. She will also go into the crate on her own at times, namely because many dogs find the crate comforting.
Another suggestion is medication; however, if you don’t want to take this route, there are alternatives. For instance, Calming by Pet Naturals® of Vermont is available for both cats and dogs, and we put our natural formula in a tasty chew that pets love. This product is designed to support neurotransmitter balance and relaxation to address stress-related behavior. It does not contain herbs or drugs, nor does it affect your pet’s personality or energy level. I use this product on my cat; she loves the flavor, and it’s a lot easier and cheaper than using pheromones for cats, which your vet might recommend. And I always make sure to have some with me when I am pet sitting!
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