SEPARATION ANXIETY IN PETS
08 October, 2022 (Consolace Counselling Services)
DEALING WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY IN PETS?
"Animals are such agreeable friends- they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."- George Eliot
Yesterday I was having a conversation with my friend, Varsha (name changed) who is a pet parent. She and Bruce (her pet dog) share a special mother-son bonding that is so adorable. She had recently come back after a long holiday and I was all set to listen to the fun she had on her vacation. Unfortunately, I could not see any thrill, joy or enthusiasm on her face, rather she looked kind of upset. I asked her what's wrong with her. And that instantly made her tear up. She said, it's about Bruce. Since the time she has returned from the trip, Bruce is not his usual self. The otherwise happy and cheerful dog is now totally dull and weird at times. Varsha is not able to see her beloved Bruce in this condition and has no clue what has happened to him. He also seems to be physically alright.
After listening to her, I wondered, "Could it be separation anxiety in pets?" Yes, you heard it right! Anxiety is not just associated with humans, our furry friends too can sometimes suffer with it. I told Varsha to relax and told her about this possibility. This is not something many of us know but is important for all the pet parents to know.
What is Separation Anxiety in Pets?
In simple words, it is the stress that the pets go through on separation with their guardians. In most cases, it occurs to those pets which are overly attached to their family members like in the case of Bruce. George Eliot said, "Animals ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." But they do get stressed and it becomes even worse to handle than in case of humans because they cannot talk it out about it like we humans do. So, it is our responsibility to understand the symptoms and analyse our pet's behaviour without being judgemental.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Pets
Based on what Varsha shared with me and what I know about it, here are a few symptoms of separation anxiety in pets-
● Restlessness: According to Varsha, Bruce refused to settle and showed restlessness once she came back home. This may be a sign that your dog is stressed. At first she thought Bruce is showing his excitement on seeing his favourite human after many days. But, she realised that it's not the case since it continued for many days.
● House soiling: Varsha had trained Bruce so well that he never destroyed any household item and always rushed outside when he had to pee or poop. He was such a well behaved dog. I was shocked when Varsha said, Bruce is now defecating and urinating inside the house. This is a clear indication that something is not right with that poor being.
● Quiet and withdrawn: This is how Bruce has become since the last two days. Varsha said, Bruce has never been this quiet before.
● Agitation, non stop barking, drooling, digging may also be the signs of separation anxiety in dogs.
Be quick in identifying the signs of separation anxiety in your pets and act accordingly. Do activities that reestablish your old relationship with your pet. Reassure your pet that you will never leave them alone again. Varsha always says, it is only Bruce who never gets tired of her company. It is indeed true! Our pets always crave for our company. So, next time when you plan to leave your pet alone, consider the consequences and plan accordingly. For further guidance and support contact Consolace Counselling Services, Trivandrum. Happy pet parenting!