If you are a dog lover, you no doubt have run across separation anxiety at some point with your canine friend. Pacing, howling, barking, chewing – the behaviors your pet can exhibit when they are distressed simply because you are not with them are hard to overcome on a normal day. Now, however, you are planning to relocate, and your buddy Jack must be transported separately. How on Earth can you help Jack, the dog who tears down blinds as soon as you leave him, do well on this trip?
The good news is that with a bit of preparation, you can reduce the separation anxiety Jack feels (as well as your own, perhaps) and keep the whole journey low key and uneventful.
Remember to Focus on Keeping Yourself Calm.
You’ve no doubt heard by now that whatever the human feels, the dog feels, too. Human emotions really do travel down the leash, so to speak. Dogs are extraordinarily sensitive and easily pick up on what you’re feeling, so if you are anxious, your pup will immediately pick up on it and become anxious, too.
This means that, at the very least, you will ideally keep your own anxiety in check during the week before the big travel day, whether your dog will be traveling by ground or by plane. As the travel day approaches, be sure to remain calm so that there is no buildup of anxiousness, which your dog will appreciate.
When Your Dog Leaves on Their Trip, Make Sure They Go Off Tired.
A tired dog will have less energy and will be more likely to sleep through the journey. The night before your canine pal travels and the morning of the trip, give them extra exercise. Take them for a longer walk, toss the frisbee, or, even better, get on a bike and have them jog next to you. That way, they will walk right into their carrier and snore through the whole experience. Your buddy simply won’t have the energy to be upset about the separation.
Put Familiar Items in Your Dog’s Carrier.
As your dog travels, they will encounter countless new smells that can be overwhelming. You can counter this by putting in shirts that smell like you, the bedding that they normally sleep on, and toys, including something to chew on. That last one is especially important because chewing releases the energy of the dog and directs their attention to something positive. Your dog will be surrounded by both what is familiar to them as well as what they like to play with. You will help them avoid becoming bored, which can help your dog avoid becoming worried about where you are.
Ask Your Vet about the Benefits of Using Calming Tools.
Some pet owners have had good success with the Thundershirt, which can calm the dog through putting gentle, constant pressure around their torso. If you would like to try it, it’s recommended that you introduce the dog to it at least a month before the trip so that they have enough time to grow used to it.
Other owners have tried dog calming pheromone products or CBD treats. Ask your vet for recommendations, and as with the Thundershirt, give yourself enough time to try out the product so you can judge how your dog friend reacts to it. On the day of the trip, Blue Collar Pet Transport recommends sending your dog off only with those things they are already accustomed to. Anything new that rides along with them in the carrier could increase their uneasiness.
Preparation is Key for Helping a Dog with Separation Anxiety Do Well on Trips.
In the end, the more prepared you are, the less anxious you and your dog will be when the big day arrives. Blue Collar Pet Transport recommends keeping your goodbyes and your welcome-back greetings very low key. When they go off on their trip, you’ll be proud of how well your dog does and of how great they behave as they temporarily travel without you.