Separation anxiety may peak at end of summer
Premium natural supplements company Lintbells says there’s often an increased need for its pet calming supplements in September as children return to school and family routines go back to normal after a summer spent together due to separation anxiety.
Up to 30% of dogs1 show obvious signs of anxiety when home alone and many more could be affected, but with the signs not being recognised by owners.
Cats can also suffer from separation anxiety with destructiveness, litter tray accidents, excessive vocalisation, or psychogenic grooming and self mutiliation2 being the most common signs.
It’s not always obvious that separation anxiety is the cause of the signs observed in cats, nor might it always appear high up on the list of differential diagnoses. Genetic factors, a previous history of early weaning, prolonged departures and excessive greetings, or a lack of environmental enrichment3 may be acting as a background to the problem. Both cats and dogs that shadow their owners may be more predisposed to separation anxiety.
Lintbells Brand Manager Emma Richardson says everyone experiences some level of adjustment to their routines once summer is over, “As pet owners are focussed on the changes they have to make, pets don’t always receive the attention they deserve at this important time. And of course some pets have already experienced a period of adjustment while their owners are away on holiday – whether that’s in a boarding setting or being looked after by house-sitters or relatives. It can leave them feeling quite unsettled, creating a pattern of behaviour that can be difficult to disrupt. If owners don’t act it may even become habitual, setting up the household for a significant period of disruption and making the pet increasingly unhappy.”
The Lintbells veterinary team says that it recommends a multimodal approach, which includes making changes to the environment so that when home alone the pet has stimulating activities and also a safe place to wind down and rest. Natural supplements like YuCALM Dog and YuCALM Cat also play an important role in restoring a sense of wellbeing without causing drowsiness or otherwise altering the expression of natural behaviours.
Lintbells’ ‘Don’t Fret Pet’ practice support materials can also be used to raise awareness of the issues. For further information visit www.lintbellsvet.com.
- Blackwell, E. J., Twells, C., Seawright, A. & Casey, R. A. (2008).The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 3, 207-217.
- Schwartz S (2002) Separation anxiety syndrome in cats: 136 cases (1991-2000), J Am Vet Med Assoc. Apr 1;220(7):1028-33.
- Schwartz S (2003) , Separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and cats, JAVMA, Vol 222, No. 11