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Changes to Routines: PetSmart Canada Shares Tips to Help Pets with Separation Anxiety

·5 min read

PetSmart animal behavior specialist Crista Coppola shares how pet parents can identify separation anxiety and help their pets overcome these challenges

BURLINGTON, ON, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ - After over a year of quarantining and bonding with their owner during the pandemic, many pets are now experiencing separation anxiety as Canadians spend less time at home. New pets adopted during the pandemic may be more susceptible to separation anxiety, but any pet can experience it. All pet parents should be on the lookout for symptoms and be prepared to help pets address them.

PetSmart Logo (CNW Group/PetSmart Canada)
PetSmart Logo (CNW Group/PetSmart Canada)

Crista Coppola, Ph.D., PetSmart's consulting Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), says that identifying and managing separation anxiety in pets can go a long way to easing the transition back to regular activities for pets and pet parents alike.

"It's crucial for pet parents to understand when their dog is struggling, and that their behaviors are coping mechanisms they can't necessarily control," Coppola said. "The first step to understanding your pet is to observe their behavior and determine whether or not separation anxiety is the cause."

Identifying the Symptoms
Separation anxiety can manifest itself in pets in different ways and as a result, can cause various behavioral responses. Excessive barking and whining, destructive behaviors like shoe and furniture chewing, accidents around the home, and other unusual behaviors like hypersalivation, pacing, or decreased appetite can all be signs of separation anxiety.

"You don't know how your pet is reacting when you're gone, unless you have some way to monitor them," said Coppola. She recommends pet parents set up a pet camera like the Wyze V3 Pet Camera to monitor their pet's behavior when they're gone and identify symptoms. Alternatively, you can sign up for PetSmart's new three-week program, Stress Less Training which is dedicated to identifying and managing your dog's anxious behaviours related to separation.

Preparing Pets for the Inevitable
Once a pet parent determines their pet is experiencing separation anxiety, Coppola recommends adjusting pets' routines by taking short trips outside of the home without their pet – even if it's just for a few minutes at a time.

"Grab your phone, put on your shoes and shake your keys at times other than when you are leaving, and don't make a big deal about leaving and coming home," she said. "Let your pet know you're leaving but come back shortly after, and when you arrive home, say hello and give your pet a chance to settle before engaging in fun activities."

Help Your Pet Feel Safe Alone
Next, Coppola recommends creating a cozy, pet-safe zone, equipped with puzzle toys and activities to keep pets occupied while they are alone. Dog parents can use calming aids to help, like the Thundershirt (also available for cats) that applies gentle pressure that can soothe pets, and the Adaptil Calming Collar, which mimics dog calming pheromones that signal to your dog that they're safe and secure. Alternatively, for cats, try the Feliway Classic Starter Kit.

Keep Your Pet Mentally and Physically Stimulated
In between trips away from home, Coppola recommends engaging your pet with physical and mental activities like games and puzzles to help fulfill pets and keep them happy even when you're gone.

"The bottom line is routines are helpful for most pets and even a vacation or a weekend away can disrupt their routine, making pets more susceptible to separation anxiety," Dr. Coppola said. "As pet parents and pet lovers, it is important to understand how we can prioritize our pets' mental health and how we can provide them with the tools they need to cope with change now and in the future."

For more information on separation anxiety, visit PetSmart.ca.

About PetSmart® Canada
In Canada, PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart's passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. PetSmart employs approximately 4,800 associates and operates more than 140 pet stores in Canada, as well as 10 in-store PetSmart PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding at PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ and pet adoption. PetSmart and PetSmart Charities® of Canada work with more than 200 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 340,000 adoptions, more than any other brick-and-mortar organization.

Find PetSmart on Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/PetSmartCanada
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SOURCE PetSmart Canada


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