How Can I Help My Dog with Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety in dogs can be a serious problem for a lot of pet parents. Dogs like to be “in their pack” and leaving them alone isn’t what they want. However, trying to explain going to work to your dog so you can buy them cool toys will probably only get you stared at. 

Chances are your dog isn’t interested in excuses for why they’re being left behind.

 

Here is a list of 10 suggestions for how to stop separation anxiety in dogs and how to calm an anxious dog:

  1. Exercise: Make sure that s/he gets enough exercise. Exercise is proven to help with reducing anxiety and depression. Exercise is calming to our furry friends and to us. In fact, it is also a great way to deepen the bond with our pets. 

  2. Be Unemotional: Keep  calm, cool, and collected while you’re leaving your pet. Don’t make your dog feel like s/he is being abandoned. Dogs with anxiety could experience an increase in their feelings of abandonment because they feel your emotions about leaving them home alone. Be calm and without emotion when you leave your pals and this will help them stay calm, too.

  3. Use essential oils: A timed diffuser with lavender and other calming scents could help your dog relax and sleep while you’re gone.

  4. Distract your friend: Give your dog something like a Kong toy with treats in it to keep them busy.

  5. Take your dog to daycare! Dogs with separation anxiety miss their “pack!” Good daycare facilities have pack management and will be able to help your dog have a fun day while you are at work.

  6. Hire a dog walker: your dog will get exercise and socialize with other dogs. Not only will this benefit your dog’s health and well-being, it will add variety to their day and make them much happier!

  7. Bring your Dog to Work: Ask your employer if you can bring your dog to work. Bringing pets to work is much more common these days, as businesses see that having pets in the workplace can relieve human anxiety and stress. Your companion could help your coworkers relax and in turn, you will be more productive at work!

  8. Ask a Professional: Consult a behavior professional for behavior modification that you can train.  This is especially helpful when your pet has destructive tendencies when left alone.

  9. Use Flower essences:  Dogs with separation anxiety respond very well to Flower Essences! AnimalRx Essences has two remedies which can help your best friend with the emotional support s/he needs. Happy Heart is a remedy for the dog who gets sad and lonely when you leave. Sometimes a sad dog whines and truly feels heartbreak. Happy Heart can help with your friend’s sadness. If your dog is one of the worrying types, Be Here Now helps calm dogs with separation anxiety. Dogs who run back and forth to the doors waiting for you to come back can especially benefit from Be Here Now. This essence helps dogs not worry about the past or the future; it helps them have a more peaceful mind.

  10. Get your Dog a Friend: Consider adopting an additional dog with a calmer personality! Your friend gets lonely just like you can get lonely. Another dog may help with your dog’s stress levels. Your local shelter can be very helpful with advice on which dogs will be calmer and you and your pal can “interview” them!

 

Leaving a dog home alone for long stretches of time is not fair to your friend. s/he needs to go outside and relieve her/him self. Not being able to do this can also promote anxiety!

 

Please consider one or two of the suggestions above to help your best friend with separation anxiety and know that it is our responsibility to make sure our companion animals have enriching, worry-free full lives just like us.

 

How Should I Introduce a New Cat to My Home?

Cats are funny creatures! If you’re a cat lover like me, you are fascinated with their behavior and are interested in many of aspects of why they do particular things. If you are introducing a new cat to your home, there are a number of things you can do to make sure the transition is  as smooth as possible.

 

You’ve probably heard that cats are creatures of place or some kind of expression like that. This is very true. While cats who are allowed outside can have large territories (we don’t recommend letting your cat outside), a cat’s environment is fundamental to the cat.

So, it is important that when bringing a cat into a new environment you allow your feline to set the pace while you observe and make modifications to assist and further help her or him.

 

Here is a list of things to do to welcome your new family member 

  • Create a safe place for the cat when s/he arrives.

    • It is important that the cat is in a small space for a couple of days; a bathroom or small room is ideal. It should have some light and enough space for you to visit your new family member!

    • Leave the carrier in a corner with some snugly material in it for her/him to hide in so s/he can feel safe! If you don’t have a carrier a cardboard box should do nicely.

    • Please don’t force the cat out of the box or carrier by pulling them out – at any time. Allow your new friend come out on their own.

  • Be prepared for your cat’s physical needs.

    • Provide a clean, new litter box. This is critical! Re-using a litter box is not an option for a new cat. Even cleaning a box that has been used gently will not do for your new friend.

    • Put at least two inches of litter into the new box. A cat likes to have something to scratch and push around in when s/he does her/his business. Sometimes this can get messy. I have found that a litter box with high sides can work perfectly. Make sure you clean the box a minimum of once a day.

    • Get the right food.   If your cat is a young kitten you may be able to jump to a new food right away but it is probably best to get the same food they were used to and gradually transition them to a new diet that you’re comfortable with. It is much healthier (especially for older cats) to switch their food slowly. Food changes made quickly can lead to unfortunate health or behavior issues. Or both.

    • Get a brush. You can bond faster with your new kitty by starting a brushing routine it will help both of you feel more comfortable with each other and will improve your relationship quickly. My cats like brushes that are made of rubber, I think the brush feels like their mom’s tongue and this kind doesn't scratch their skin.

  • What to do for your cat’s emotional needs:

    • Sit with your new friend and speak quietly to her/him. S/he needs time to feel comfortable with you just like we do with any new friend. Having an ‘out loud’ conversation with her/him and telling her what you’re doing to take care of her/him can really help your cat to adjust. This also helps her/him in becoming accustomed to your voice and will aid in the bonding experience for both of you.

    • Limit or reduce loud noises in your home. This isn’t the time to play basketball in your living room or practice your new juggling plates hobby! Try to make sure that the sounds outside of your kitty’s room aren’t going to scare her/him. That said, most households do have some unpredictable noise so don’t feel as if you need to completely tiptoe around.

    • Try some flower essences to help with the transition. AnimalRx Essences specifically blended Be Here Now to help with the adjustment period of rehoming. When introducing a new cat to a different environment, flower essences can easily help support this process.

    • The use of flower essences is especially important for animals who came from the shelter after being abandoned or left there by their former families. A sad cat might respond better to Happy Heart to help with feelings of loss and depression. Happy Heart works to soothe away sadness.

    • Helping a scaredy cat can be a little different. S/he may feel unsafe or extra-challenged in a new place, so using a flower essence that is specifically formulated to help her/him feel safe is our recommendation. Protection Plus is a great remedy which increases safe feelings by helping to create an emotional boundary around your animal friend.

Your success in rehoming a new cat is dependent on many of the factors listed above. Everyone does these things a little differently than each other, but based upon many years of observed cat adoptions, I know this list works great for giving a helping paw to your new family member as they adjust as smoothly and happily as they can into a new home

 

How can I Help my Dog with Fear Issues?

So many of our companion animals are neurotic just like we are! And dogs can be fearful for a lot of different reasons; some we know about and some we don’t. Having a fearful dog and dealing with fearful dogs can be challenging for the pet parent and for others who help us take care of our dogs.

 

There are so many fears for out there which can affect your best friend:

 

  • Fear of other dogs: bigger dogs or smaller dogs

  • Fear of the getting in the car

  • Fear of loud thunder

  • Fear of loud explainable or unexplainable noises

  • Fear of the vacuum

  • Fear of strange people

  • Fear of the veterinarian or dentist

  • Fear of being alone

  • Fear of the delivery truck/postal carrier

  • And other fears no less real that are not listed here

 

Most of us don’t know what is going on in our animals’ heads. And this can make trying to take care of a scared dog a challenge.

 

Here’s a strategy to help you if you’re thinking: My dog is scared of everything, what can I do?! These suggestions are based on my experience with AnimalRx Essences and helping scared dogs:

 

  1. Try Protection Plus first. This essence helps dogs feel like they are safer within their own skin. Protection Plus is a great remedy when dogs are afraid of other dogs (and when introducing new dogs). We used it with a small dog who had just come into a shelter and was afraid of going into the main room with all the other dogs. It took about an hour for the remedy to work and then he went right in to investigate the pack! He stayed out there with the pack and was fine.

  2. Crisis Cooler can help your best friend when you don’t know what s/he is afraid of. Crisis Cooler can also help with immediate problems like fear of thunder, the car, and trips to the vet, etc. It can also be used in combination with Protection Plus this combo helped a dog who had been attacked at a dog park end some of the fear he had about returning to the park.

  3. If your dog is scared of everything and anxiety ridden in general, give Be Here Now  a try. It was made to help end worry. Be Here Now is also a rescue formula and helps your dog focus on what is happening in the present; it ends worry about the past or the future.

 

As mentioned before, if you’re looking for a way to calm an anxious dog, it’s important to try out different things. Flower essences and Thundershirts can really help your best friend become calm and feel safer. 

Why Won't my Cat Stop Meowing?

Here’s the thing about cats; some of them meow. Actually, most (but not all) of them meow and sometimes they can talk a lot! I’ve always lived with cats and I like it when my cat meows. I know that s/he is talking to me, my cat is really working on getting through to me and sometimes I can tell what s/he wants. Marigold, my female cat, has a special meow that means “I am over here and waiting for you, please come pet me. I will roll on my back so you can rub my belly.” It really means all of that. She wants me to come to see her and rub her belly in the other room. This means I have to get up! And most of the time, her meow works on me because it is so charming.

 

Ranger, my other cat talks a lot more than her. He wants me to know that he thinks it’s time to eat. Mostly he is wrong, cats don’t wear watches and dinner is a while from now. Ranger is thinking of dinner and he wants me to know this. Like right now, as I write this, he is reminding me that he is ready for his meal (and it’s not for an hour). Sometimes Ranger meows when I am making my dinner, this is because he is weird and likes human food. If I am steaming, sautéing or baking a vegetable he likes; he meows. So far, I haven’t found too many vegetables he doesn’t like. So he meows a lot and sometimes this meowing is very loud. But I don’t mind because he is telling me what he wants or expressing his opinion!

 

Cats meow when they are trying to get our attention. It’s a really great tool that the cats have. I grew up with “talky” cats and we always had conversations with them.

 

Did you know that cats evolved meowing to get our attention and not to get other cats’ attention?! You can learn more about that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_communication.

 

How Can I Calm my Dog or Cat?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the differences between flower essences and essential oils. Both essential oils and flower essences can be a solution if you’re looking for how to calm a dog with anxiety or how to calm a nervous cat. But AnimalRx Essences strongly believes that flower essences are superior to essential oils for calming dogs because of their permanent or semi-permanent calming effects.

 

People generally assume that flower essences are used for their smell, like essential oils and many times will open a bottle to see what the essences smell like and are surprised that there is no strong smell. Because flower essences are about the energetic imprint of the flower and because they are generally preserved in brandy with spring water (or glycerin or traces of other alcohol or vinegar) there is only a mild smell of the substance that preserves them. If the flowers used in the essence did have a scent, it has been long gone with the method of preparation.

 

Flower essences are not like essential oils whose function is to affect the limbic system; the system that controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, stress levels, memory and balance. Essential oils are valued for their smell and their other potential healing characteristics as plant derivatives. However, flower essences can change unneeded or potentially handicapping emotional or physical patterning. For instance, a small dog is
afraid of larger dogs when given an essence for fear of something known, will recover from their fear of bigger dogs. If one essence doesn’t calm a nervous dog, another will. It is important not to give up!

 

In order to understand the difference between essential oils and flower essences, it is important to examine the way each of them are made. Essential oils are created through a distilling process using large amounts of the original plants: flowers, leaves, seeds, roots or bark depending on where the volatile oil being harvested are located in the plant. The essential oils are specifically harvested for their fragrance. Because of their origins, concentration and intrinsic nature, many essential oils are toxic to animals and humans. In order to make them easier to use, they are often diluted with another neutral oil such as jojoba oil. Unlike flower essences, most essential oils should never be ingested. Flower essences are prepared in a completely different way and are made with flowers which are floated on a bowl of water, exposed to the sun for three hours (solarized) and then the water is typically mixed with brandy for stabilization. The solution is then diluted a couple of times to make a remedy. This is a very environmentally friendly preparation, not requiring heat or steam and electricity or power of any kind. Flower essences are not toxic in any dose and can be safely ingested by companion animals and humans.

 

Most dogs or cats will lick their fur, so it is important to avoid putting essential oils on an animal, unlike flower essences which are non-toxic and can be directly applied to your pets’ ears or paws or fur. Neither flower essences nor essential oils are recommended to be used around the eyes but flower essences can also be sprayed into the air around your pet and be as effective as a direct application.

 

When looking for the best essential oils for calming dogs, opinions and experience is key. Many people use lavender for both humans and animals and there are numerous other oils/scents available. At AnimalRx Essences, we recommend Be Here Now instead of essential oils to calm dogs. Be Here Now has been used successfully to calm dogs with anxiety, to calm nervous cats in general and it has been used to calm dogs with separation anxiety.

 

Another great choice is Crisis Cooler which can be used when the stress is current or anticipated

 

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