Pet parents tackle separation anxiety

I love my dog, and I also love to spend the night out to see a concert or show. Even though I love going out and spending time with friends for a night on the town the one thing that is always difficult is leaving my dog behind. He can’t go to into night clubs — the logistics of transporting him inside a concert, I’d be worried the crowd and loud music alone would upset him — and I suspect he would prefer the comfy couch and relaxation of a nice home ambiance. But still, I worry about how my Labrador retriever Jack is doing while I’m gone.

I have no doubt that many of you feel the same way when you’re away from your pets, whether it’s for business or pleasure. They are such an important part of our lives and one of the greatest stress relievers in existence. I know that some people become so anxious about leaving their pets that they take them practically everywhere with them on errands and to events. Sadly sometimes pet owners even stop traveling altogether.

For me, that’s not possible or desirable, but I sure do understand the emotion behind it.

Managing Your Separation Anxiety from Fido

Even if we can’t have our special dogs or cats along on a journey, we can take steps to ensure their well-being while we’re away, so we can worry less about them while we’re gone. I’m here to say that you can do you, be a great pet owner. Our pets can survive and even thrive in our absence. Here are some of my favorite ways to ensure not only my dogs comfort and happiness, but mine as well.  How do you ease separation anxiety from your dog?  Would love to for readers to leave comments or any suggestions!

Plan ahead. Find a pet sitter who provides a homey environment. When I travel or stay over night to see a concert my dogs stay at the pet sitter’s home. He sprawls on her sofa, play in her yard and sleep in her bed at night. It’s like sleep-away camp for canines. They have so much fun there I sometimes worry they won’t want to come home. But I’m always wrong.

Leave prepared. Leave your pets’ caretaker with detailed instructions about how to reach you if there’s a problem and what to do in case you are 80 feet underwater or staying in a safari camp and she can’t contact you. That way you can be assured that your pet sitter or boarding kennel will know how to proceed until you can be reached. It makes it a lot easier to relax when you’re gone.

Communicate. Take a tip from ET: Phone home. Whenever I’m away, I always call home to talk to Teresa — and the dogs. I get a kick out of hearing about how their ears go up and their expressions change when they hear my voice. Nowadays, we can also visit “in person,” thanks to Skype and FaceTime.

Take your pet with you — in photo form. I always travel with a picture of the dogs; I place it on the nightstand by the bed. That way, they’re the last things I see before I turn out the light, and in the morning, I wake up to their smiling faces. And, of course, I have hundreds of photos of them on my smartphone. Sharing pictures with other pet lovers I meet on my travels is a fun icebreaker. It’s almost as good as having them there with me.

How do you deal with separation anxiety from your dog?  Please share!

 

 

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23 comments

  1. Omg! I’m exactly the same withy dog bobby! I worry about him being alone at home thinking I abandoned him. I’m thing of getting another dog so he and I won’t feel so upset when I leave for long periods.

    • I feel exactly the same … So I got another dog! Trouble is, I still feel the same about them both. I thought it would cure me knowing he has a little friend to play with all day and they could both keep each other company and happy, but no Im still as anxious as ever. When me and my bf go out, he can switch off and enjoy the day … But im counting down the minutes until I am back home with them. Every plan I make at the weekend revolves around taking the dogs with us. Its actually getting on top of me. I would love to go for a nite out and enjoy my self without the fear my dogs are lonely, sad, anxious, missing me etc. I would love to feel happy enough to be away from them, but nothing feels right until I have them with me 😦 I never in a million years imagined my self to be like this lol!xx

  2. Cool post, yes I just realised I have dog seperation anxiety, have always missed him when apart and it has to be pretty good to pull me away from him. Our bond is strong as I supported him thru 2 life threatening crises, right now he has just got seriously ill at 15 and a half and is in hospital for 5 days, he has about ten percent odds of pulling through the next ten days and that will buy him maybe 3 more mths. This is the third night without him and the house feels creepy – almost haunted and its deeply depressing not to spoon him at night, crying a lot. This anxiety comes down to the fact he is the only one of him and that everyone else super close to me died by about 5 years ago. I can see from the photo of your dog that he too is not average but has a refined angelic spirit. I just discovered it is best to raw feed for a long life, the longest lived recorded dogs have exclusively eaten raw eg chicken carcasses. It can add ten years, 12-15 is possibly not the natural span, but is due to eating processed food.

  3. thank you so much for taking the time to write about this .. I feel so alone with this problem .. I can not go any where for long periods of time from my dog.. I feel lonesome with out her.. I picture her home alone also just sleeping and waiting for me to come home.. I have lost a lot in my life and I feel that is part of the problem.. I Cannot go away on trips for long periods of time.. I want to but I cant I go into a panic attack .. I I worry not only about my dog but my children and grandchildren will be ok ..what if something happens and I am not there.. .. If I am gone from my dog for long periods of time I miss her so much that I must get home as soon as I can .. I now dont feel so alone ..their are people out there with the same problem ..my family and friends do not understand this problem I have no one to talk to about it .

  4. I have the same problem! I’ve had my puppy since the week before Christmas, and I have only spent one night away from her… and I barely slept a wink. She is a family dog and my brother willingly watches her when I am gone, but I find myself missing her like crazy. I know that she is occupied and not bored when I am gone, but the way she gets super hyper and cries a lot when I come home makes me think that she misses me way too much. I am trying to get myself to go out more, since Ive really only been out with friends a couple times and one night in about 4 months….
    I am so glad to know that there are more people out there who have the same anxiety as me!

  5. And I am the same too. We have 2 small dogs and even though they have company I feel terrible when leaving them. They have doggy daycare and I never leave them for more than 2 hours. So this is extreme.. you know I think that this says a lot about us. I have an abandonment issue ans I fear this is the route of the problem. It is, however, a huge problem as the anxiety is terrible and the dogs can feel it. I think that dealing with this myself is the only way. As there is not anything to feel bad about really.

  6. I really do have the same problem, at times I feel “maybe I dont need to go out of town, or maybe I should just stay home.”
    Although my pups are with a safe person and in good company I worry they miss me also and it makes me feel sad usually the entire drive up to where I am going. I wonder too what they are thinking and feel bad. I spend the entire day with them before or day of when I am going somewhere for the night or nights. I dont know what I need to do to help myself lol but I usually try to comfort myself with the positive factors my pups have :food, attention, safety warm beds.
    Its tough but I am not ashamed to admit my pups rule my world…they’re family.

  7. I have been looking for solutions with these problem and yet I could only see separation anxiety of dogs. Thank you for posting because I can feel that I am not not the only person experiencing this. I have been crying for three nights now because my husband decided to find him a new home because of the injury I had with my husky and our place is so small for his active personality… I agreed to his decision but I told him that we will only let him adapted if I could see the place where my dog will stay. I don’t know how can I cope if his new owner will get him from me.

  8. I am retired and with my airedale terrier constantly! I love her, she is my world! I had to fly somewhere for couple days so my groomer watched her for me! Leaving her was the hardest thing I did in the 7 years I have had her! I found myself crying in the car all the way to the airport! Was a tough trip! When my keys rattle she’s at the door! Now I know why it took me 25 years since my last dog!!

  9. Thank you for posting this!!!! I am so embarrassed about my separation anxiety from my dog, Rosie. I imagine her feeling abandoned and heartbroken, bored and waiting for me to come home. I believe that I’m projecting my abandonment issues and anxiety onto her but I have not yet been able to change my obsessive thinking. Just talking about it helps, though, so thank you! As I said, I am very embarrassed by this and it causes conflict with my poor husband, who has “normal” thinking about Rosie.

    • Hi, I completely understand about your husband having “normal” thoughts of your dog, Rosie. I cry if we take her to even get groomed because I know my dog is very attached to me. I try to only plan on going out for short periods. And even then, I can’t stop thinking of how much my dog misses me and if he feels I may not come back. My husband and parents think I’m overly emotional and take this too far- they think I have a serios problem- and I do. I really dislike bring away from him and feel the happiest when my dog and I are together. I have a 15 yr old daughter and I’m ok with being away from her. I think that’s because she understands my language and we communicate with words- where my dog doesn’t understand what I’m saying. If he knew English, then maybe I’d feel better lol. It sounds ridiculous to me too but I can’t help the sadness I feel when I leave my dog. It really pains me inside and it really changes my mood. Is there a better way to deal with this? I need help.

  10. Me too! So glad to hear others are the same! I have 3 dogs, but find myself w/ separation anxiety from my pit bull, Asgard. He is my shadow. I have cameras to check in on the pack throughout the day while I’m at work & even though my husband works from home & the other 2 go outside, Asgard stays inside & just curls up on his bed. It makes me so sad to see him all alone. When I’m not going to work he rides everywhere w/me. My best friend lives 4 hours away from us & she wants me to come visit, however she lives in an apartment & has 2 dogs & 4 year old twins, so I know that Asgard wouldn’t be able to go. (Before she moved further away she had a house & we would road trip to visit her & stay w/ her & her family). I just hate the thought of missing any time w/ Asgard. Their lives are short enough, I don’t want to part w/ him any more than necessary.

  11. Oh wow yes!! You are not alone. I am so close to my pup. He is the very cuddly kind and we have a strong bond. I feel sad when I have to drop him off at the groomer’s all day because I know he is anxious and probably misses me so much. That is what makes me sad. If he is home though alone, he is okay. I’m not worried then. But leaving him somewhere all day is just rough.

  12. Yes! I’m so glad to hear I’m not alone. I’m getting ready to start going back to school, so I’m taking a break from work, but I can’t bring myself to leave my new puppy. I don’t go out with friends, they have to come to me. It’s giving me crazy anxiety about going back to work or school, to the point where I can’t sleep at night. I take him to my mothers house, before I can even go to the grocery store. My boyfriend feels normal about leaving him as well, like “Lis” said above. Everyone thinks I’m crazy!!!

  13. Oh my gosh! I have the same problem. I had to spend the night away from my dog for one night and I spent the whole night crying, thinking about how sad and scared my dog must have been without me. It used to be so bad I would be internally panicking at work because my mind kept replaying worst case scenarios on what could happen to my dog, who is 8 months old now, without me there to protect him. I’ve already had so many scares with him. I mean, I was the one who rescued him. I had to take him and the rest of his litter in at 5 weeks old because the guy who had them was going to drown them, and when I got them they where so flea infested they could have died just from having that many fleas on them, but thankfully I was able to completely get rid of the fleas. After We had found homes for them all, most of his brothers and sisters died from parvo. Then one day my dog Fiasco started throwing up and was refusing to eat, and I started freaking out even though he had his parvo shot and was completely up to date with all his shots. It turned out he had just ate something that had upset his stomach and it only lasted about 2 hours. But I was balling my eyes out the entire time, cause I just kept thinking what if the parvo shot didn’t work.
    Because he has already been through so much, I panic anytime I hear about anything that will keep me away from him longer than just a few hours. I feel like I’m the only one who can actually comfort him. And I’m afraid that if I stay away from him longer than a few hours it will emotionally damage him.

  14. I too am so attached to my dog Abby girl, that I get seperation anxiety if I have to be away from her. She becomes very anxious when I have to be away from her for 1 to 2 hours. I worry something will happen to her. She is almost 10 years old. We lost our beloved companion fur baby a month ago and the anxiety has become worse. I am heartbroken over losing our beloved Murphy. I raised them together for 9 1/2 years. Murphy got very sick suddenly and there was nothing that could be done for him. I truly felt that I was going to die because he was gone,but I am even more attached to Abby. She is literally my emotional support companion. If anything happens to her I truly believe I will die. My husband doesn’t understand this kind of bond and most likely thinks I’m nuts. We don’t do things like we used too…go to shows, etc.,because I can’t leave her by herself that long. If we go out of town to family she always goes with us (Murphy did too). He wants to take a short trip by ourselves and Abby be boarded. I will freak out if that happens. I truly don’t know what to do. I have been like this since I became disabled 5 years ago. What am I supposed to do. I don’t think I can live without her. I will truly die of a broken heart. I am going to get another fur baby soon so Abby girl will have some companionship other than me. I know I will become just as dependent on my new fur baby as I am of Abby girl. I probably need help mentally, but I don’t know if I can change because I am so dependent on my beloved Abby.

  15. OMG I am the same way, but it’s been getting baddd 😦 My husband and I have a 4 yo dog and now just got a puppy. I always feel so guilty when I go out to the point I just wanna go back home to them. I am currently a stay at home wife so all I do is take care of them all day. I think they are fine without me but I just freak out being away from them, I start wondering if they feel lonely or bored, if the puppy is suffering from holding her bladder. It’s so bad to the point I never want to go anywhere with my husband and it has really been affecting our relationship, because I resent him for going out to have fun while I am “stuck at home” having to attend all of the puppies’ needs. I’m going insane 😦

  16. i have the same problems. I miss my baby so much even when I’m just at work. I have a cruise coming up.. my whole family is going so I’m really worried about my boy. I feel bad because everyone else is excited but when i think about the stupid cruise it makes me cry. I dont want my baby at home all alone. He probably sits there wondering why his mommy isn’t coming home to sleep with him.. and for 4 days. i just dont know if i can make it.

  17. So who can give us a positive response……I have had one of my pups for 13yrs and the other 9yrs and hate to be gone more than 4 hours…….all my social and travel life is kaput !

  18. I’m so glad I’m not only one who has this problem. I have small maltipoo which makes it easier to sneak him into places. But for places that doesn’t allow dogs I purchased a doggy stroller to hide him in. I just put a blanket cover over the front screen to pretend there’s a baby inside lol. I also bought a baby monitor cam to watch what he does at home when I’m not around. It’s connected to my cell so I can see what he’s doing and it also has a function that allows me to speak into mic so he can hear my voice at home. I know this sounds psychotic but this is the internet and i dont care! 🙂

  19. This seems to be an old post , but I’m so glad I came across this. Every time I’ve typed in anxiety over my dog. I could only find posts about dog anxiety. I experience severe panic attacks and anxiety in day to day life. I check light switches , my car windows , gas stove and all the locks in the house 3 times every time I leave home. My husbands dog lived with my in laws before we got married. 3 months after our wedding , my husband bought the dog to our house. Every since we have our dog rocky with us, I am in constant panic 24/7 when I’m at work that the dog is lonely, bored and I think the dog thinks we abandoned him. Both my husband and I work 9-5pm jobs and I’m in constant fear and stress that the dog is just waiting for us to Come home. And when I do get home , the first thing I do is say hello to do dog and hug and kiss him 100 times. He’s an out door only as he’s a very big German short haired pointer. So it doesn’t help he can’t be inside due to his size. So I have to the back door open just so he can look inside while we eat dinner or watch tv. People think I’m crazy but I’m really struggling with this type of anxiety. Any suggestions to help me cope ?

  20. Adopting a dog should be a commitment for the dog’s lifetime. I have seen people adopt dogs and neglect them because they interfere with their social and work life, and it’s not fair to the pet. I give you credit that you are conscious that a dog should not be left for hours on end. My advice would be to consider all of the ramifications before adopting any pet. Good post

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