Many pet owners lead busy lives that take them away from home and their animals for a good part of each day. Recent data shows that our pets are suffering from separation anxiety in greater numbers than ever before. The bad news is that we are turning to medications like antidepressants to help our pets deal with separation anxiety. What’s the good news? There are other ways to help your best friend cope when you’re not around.
The statistics on medicating pet anxiety are surprising. Nearly 3 million U.S. pets are given some form of psychiatric medication. One British study found that around 80% of dogs in the U.K. display some sort of behavioral problem. Experts note that many problem pet behaviors stem from being left alone for long periods of time. According to another British study, one quarter of U.K. dogs are left alone for 5 hours or longer every day. Hundreds of thousands are not walked.
Pet boredom and separation anxiety can lead to not just general naughty behavior but also compulsive self-harming behaviors like obsessive licking and chewing of the body. Medications can be effective in helping your pet, especially in extreme cases, but there are other non-drug alternatives you should try first.
Consider consulting a pet behavior modification/training expert to help with behavioral issues. You can also get advice on enhancing the home environment for your stay-at-home pet. Consider trying natural stress remedies before turning to prescription drugs. What’s the most important advice from experts? Spend more time with your pet! Take a hard look at your work and social life and ask yourself if you are spending adequate time with your pet to ensure a good quality of life for your four-legged friend…Your pet will thank you for it!
For more on helping pets with separation anxiety, check out this informative article from One Green Planet.
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