Do you have the cat that freaks out and pees in a corner when you leave or the dog that chews up and eats pillows because he misses you? Chances are, your pet has been diagnosed with pet anxiety, and finding ways to reassure your pet and keep him or her calm helps reduce the unpleasant behaviors they exhibit when you leave home every day. So, what happens when Fluffy or Fido head into pet boarding because you are going away for a week or more? Here are some helpful tips to keep your pet from losing his/her mind while you are away.
Transfer Everything That Is Familiar to Your Pet to the Boarding Center
Yes, it seems like overkill to bring your pet's bowls, catbox, favorite toys, cat tree, cat hideaway, bed, brush, food, food containers, blankies and favorite plush or squeaky toys, but anxiety in pets is soothed by the familiar. A pet boarding room is definitely not familiar to your pet, and you want to make it as familiar to them as you can. Bringing and transferring a ton of their stuff may seem like you are spoiling them, but in reality, you are providing the most comforting and familiar surroundings to your pet while you are gone.
Do Not Forget Anxiety Meds
If your pet was prescribed anti-anxiety medication (kitty or doggy Prozac), make sure you drop that off with the boarder when you drop off your pet. The label on the bottle should have clear instructions on how to administer the medication. If there are any other ways in which you usually give your pet the meds, be sure to communicate that to the boarding center staff.
Request a Set Schedule of Interaction for Your Pet
If you have a preset schedule whereby you interact with your pet on a daily basis to reduce your pet's anxiety, write that schedule out and give to the boarding center. Make a special request that they follow that schedule as closely as possible so that there are no behavioral issues while you are gone. It also helps your pet adjust to these very different surroundings, since it is just the surroundings and not the schedule that has changed. Including the times when your pet likes to play, take a walk, sit and be petted quietly, etc. are all important to helping reduce your pet's anxiety during this time of separation.