My mother and father-in-law have three dogs in their life. In truth, the dogs “belong” to my mom. She is their primary caregiver and brings them with her everywhere she goes. Well almost everywhere. When they visit their out-of-state children/grandchildren, the dogs stay behind.
The collective demeanor of the “trio” changes from a happy go lucky, tail wagging group to a sulking, whimpering, long-faced lot staring at the front door for days in anticipation of her return.
Lots of pets (and owners!) have separation issues. My family is lucky that the trio’s reaction is relatively modest, no attacks on the sofa or munching on leather shoes, just the occasional retaliatory “accident” that requires mopping up.
If your pet shows signs of separation anxiety here are six tips that my mom uses to ease separation stress.
A calm cue-less good-bye
She uses preconditioning techniques to minimize stress. Pick up keys or put on a coat? Instead of leaving, she sometimes grabs the keys and sits down to watch the Vols game. She doesn’t want her pets to associate certain actions with being left alone.
Before leaving on a trip, she will spend quiet time with the three while my father-in-law packs the car out of sight.
No passionate or extended goodbyes.
She also recommends pet owners use a world or action that signals that tells your dogs that you are coming back.
Set up some distractions
A new toy, some pet-friendly TV programming, a few bones to chew on, daily walks. Distractions help ease the stress caused by a prolonged absence.
Have a known caregiver take care of them
My in-laws are a bit lucky in this regard. My husband and I live close by. We are both well known to their pets which helps keeps them calm when we come in and out to take care of them.
Place them in a “known” environment
The best place for my in-laws to keep their pets while they are gone is their home. It is a known, comfortable environment. If my husband and I are not available to help, they take them to a known kennel, although that action voids any chance at a calm, cue-less good-bye.
Whenever my mom sit on the couch to watch TV she wraps herself in in blankets. Soon the blanket is full of sweet smelling (at least to the dogs) "essence of mom". On departure the blankets become the place where the dogs lie down and sleep. Nothing like familiar scents to ease separation anxiety.
Use CBD Supplements
CBD helps keep everyone calm.
For the dogs, my mom uses THC-Free Clear Serene for Pets. It is formulated with salmon oil which the dogs love and look forward to.
For my mom? I gave her some Green Serene Delta 8 to ease her separation anxiety. My father-in-law reports that it works great and helps mom get a solid night’s sleep while away from her loved ones.