JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Separation anxiety isn’t just for humans. Our pets experience it too. They can get so stressed that it impacts their health. It can also wreak havoc on your life if your neighbors make noise complaints about your howling pup.
Thankfully, there are solutions. Something pet owner Bethany Odekirk has been searching for to help calm her stressed rescue puppy, Bo.
"He will bark and howl and carry on, it’s only when I’m gone, it’s been really hard," Odekirk said.
She's a working mom, so she's forced to leave her dog for hours at a time, like most working pet parents. She rescued Bo from the humane society. Ever since, she says, he’s had severe separation anxiety.
"I know I’m going to get a call."
Living in an apartment complex, she says, walls can be thin, making the situation worse.
"I mean technically it is a noise complaint."
She’s already received one call from the front office about her dog barking all day, so now she has him in doggy daycare.
Depending on where you live, too many complaints can lead to a notice telling you to fix the "problem" within seven days or move.
Pet Paradise Chief Veterinarian Jaime Picket says "fixing" a problem like pet anxiety usually takes four to six weeks.
"It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s certainly not going to happen in seven days," said Pickett.
Pet Paradise just opened a new stress free clinic for animals, taking the clinic to the play yard. They describe their new approach as “less fear, more fun”.
One pair of dog siblings seeing Pickett outside at Pet Paradise happen to be the dog children of Josh Lambo, the Jacksonville Jaguars kicker. It was clear that the siblings were stress free at the clinic.
Once they were separated, some stress started to set in, so companionship makes a big difference, Pickett says.
She also says that rescues are more prone to anxiety because they often have stressful backgrounds, so getting them a dog walker, taking them to daycare, or getting them a furry friend to keep them company can help ease the tension.
"If your pet does well with other pets, the companionship and exercise will do them some good," she said.
Some other techniques you can try at home:
- Practice separation by going to a different room and closing the door for a while.
- Try leaving in small intervals to get them used to it.
- Make sure they have enough room and toys.
- Try to visit them on your lunch break so they can go outside.
Ultimately, an expert can help you get to the root of the cause, Pickett explained.
"Clients come in all the time for that, we will go through their schedule with them and hopefully get their dog back on track in four to six weeks, absolutely that can get pets back on track but some pets just don’t want to be alone, like us."