DON'T LEAVE ME THIS WAY
Practice Short Absences
Introduce gradual departures to make pets less sensitive to your leaving. "Exit for however long you pet can be left home alone comfortably and then come back in," says Malena DeMartini, a certified dog behavior consultant. If you're unsure, start with a few seconds and build from there. As you slowly increase the length of time, continually check that your pet remains relaxed. Do this exercise five days a week for a total of about 20 minutes.
Use Interactive Feeders
While pets are in their most comfortable area, give them a food dispensing toy like a Kong Wobbler you can find it at amazon.com for $13, filled with treats. Leave them the feeder as you depart to create a positive association with you walking out the door.
Be Cautious with Crating
"Some dogs are already anxious about being left alone and may become even more anxious when placed in a crate," says DeMartini. This can lead to confinement anxiety the fear of being in an enclosed environment. If your dog finds crating comforting, lucky you. If not, install a baby gate instead to keep your dog in one area.
If your pet's anxiety gets worse or you don't notice a change, your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications. "Don't view medication as a last resort," says DeMartinit. "It can help with the problem sooner rather than later.
Rely on Technology
See what's really going on when our pets are home alone. Using video to record their behavior while you're away can help you spot other signs of separation anxiety, including: panting, pacing, drooling, extensive barking or meowing, excessive grooming in cats, and escape attempts.