That first night away

Tips for helping your pet cope with change

Changes, both big and small, can be a challenge for our pets.

New feeding times, a day or two in the office, or a trip to grandma’s house can cause anxiety and, in some cases, acting out.

Fortunately, the American Veterinary Medical Association has some suggestions to help make new experiences as comfortable as possible—for both you and your pet.

New routines for your pet

Start introducing new routines early

Adjustment takes time, and the longer you give your pet to get comfortable the better.

Before you start a new workday schedule or start packing for a trip, change up your routine in small ways to reflect what they can expect.

Take anxiety out of your departure

If your pet is experiencing separation anxiety, practice short departures daily and gradually extend the time that you’re gone.

Give a small treat just as you walk out the door to condition your pet to find it rewarding for you to leave.

If signs of anxiety occur, including destructive behavior, don’t punish your pet. Instead, shorten the time away and slowly build up to longer periods.

Reduce anxiety for your pet
Engaged cat

Keep them engaged

If you’re leaving your pet alone or with friends, keep them mentally engaged and occupied.

Long-lasting treats, food puzzles and automatic feeders can help keep pets busy throughout the day.

Turn on background noise

Leave on a TV, radio or sound machine to provide your pet with some company when you’re out of the house.

Look for signs of stress

A stressed-out pet may act out. Excessive barking or whining, destructive behavior and inappropriate urination/defecation can all be outward manifestations of emotional distress.

If you notice signs of stress in the build-up to a change, consider filming your pet when you leave the house, so you can observe how they react. Then, share the video with your veterinarian for advice on stress relief.

Dog on couch

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Be ready for any change along the way. Get a free, no-obligation quote on pet insurance today.