If you appreciated last month’s blog post on separation anxiety, then you might find this useful as well. With so many of our clients returning to the office as the state reopens, we thought we’d share a few ways to keep your furry friend busy while you’re away. Providing entertainment can alleviate separation anxiety and help to pass the time until they see their favorite person again! Here are a few smart ways to entertain your dog while you’re at the office:
Fill a KONG toy with frozen treats. KONGs are a great way to keep your dog busy — sometimes for hours — by channeling their “need to chew” productively through a toy instead of your sofa. This provides positive reinforcement for laying calmly and focusing on something other than you (or the other items in your home). You can stuff your dog’s KONG with a variety of safe foods, such as turkey and mashed sweet potato, or peanut butter and banana with a bit of greek yogurt. Freezing it will make the challenge last even longer! (Bonus: Here are 39 healthy treats you can stuff into your dog’s KONG.)
Hide snacks around the house. Before you leave, scatter some kibble or a few of their favorite treats throughout the house. You’ll want to do this occasionally so that it doesn’t become a routine, but treating your dog to a fun game of hide and seek every once in a while is a great way to distract them from the stress of your departure!
Turn on the TV. Believe it or not, many dogs actually enjoy watching television — and the sight or sound of other animals can reduce stress by making them feel less alone. Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel are great choices, and there’s even a subscription-based channel dedicated to entertaining your pup! It’s called DogTV.
Leave their breakfast in a snuffle mat. A dog’s sense of smell is one of the ways dogs interpret the world around them. Snuffle mats are great alternatives to food dishes. In addition to being entertaining, they encourage mental stimulation and your dog’s natural desire to forage. It’s important enrichment time that also helps to reduce stress!
Hire a dog walker. A tired dog is a good dog! If your dog has pent up energy, hiring a dog walker to stop by during the workday can be enormously beneficial. The additional human interaction will likely give both you and your pet peace of mind, and exercise is always a great stress reliever!
Keep a steady rotation of toys in the home. Instead of leaving your pet with all of their toys every day, try rotating through a few at a time to keep things interesting.
At Duvall Vet, we carry a variety of anti-anxiety medications that might be a good fit for your pup. There are also a number of over-the-counter options that can help alleviate the stress of separation anxiety. If your pet still struggles with intense separation anxiety despite your efforts to make things easier on them, consider contacting us to discuss other options.