You requested your time off work, hired the perfect dog sitter and packed your bags. But for some reason your dog doesn't seem as excited as you are about your trip .... In fact he seems downright anxious and upset! You don't want to leave him unhappy, so you wonder if you should just stay home. But there are steps you can take to reduce his separation anxiety and ensure that both you and your dog have have a relaxing vacation. Your dog sitter will play a big role. Let's review some information about anxiety in dogs:
What is Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety triggers when a dog (or cat!) becomes upset when seperated from their human or pack. A pack may include other dogs, human family members or even other species of animals. Either way the dog is no longer with its pack and begins to feel anxious and alone. Dogs have evolved over tens of thousands of years to be companions, so when they don't know where their companions have gone some dogs feel uncomfortable and anxious. In the wild a pack means safety while being alone means danger.
Not every dog feels the same level of anxiety, though. Genetics, earlier experiences (especially in the formative puppy months), baseline personality and even recent changes in the family dynamic can reduce or amplify separation anxiety. As a dog parent you'll want to think about the history and personality of your dog so you can identify and address any early symptoms.
Recognizing the Signs
Separation anxiety can cause dogs to pant and whine, drool excessively, urinate or defecate in the house or cause destruction through chewing or scratching. You may hear them barking right after you leave your home, and some dogs will even try to physically prevent their person from leaving the house. When you return to a destroyed home your dog acts like they haven't seen you for years, instead of the 15 minutes it took to run to the store. Some dogs will go as far as trying to escape the house. They will scratch at the door or windows, or even attempt to force themselves through small openings. Whateve