By Kate Voss
A New Treatment for Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
For us dog owners who are required to spend the majority of the day away from home, one constant worry is the effect of leaving our beloved pooch alone and potentially bored for hours at a time. Boredom rarely has positive outcomes when it comes to dogs, especially those with separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a psychological term to describe the stress and anxiety a dog experiences when owners are absent. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), it is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of all canines suffer from separation anxiety. When animals feel neglected, they may resort to destructive behaviors, including barking, urination, defecation, and the dreaded chewing.
Home Remedies for Stay-at-Home Dogs?
Daily exercises, attention to your pet while you are home, and creating a routine when leaving and returning may help lessen the effects of separation anxiety in your dog. However, many pet owners still have to spend a large part of the day away from their dog. Working dog owners need solutions that can ease their pet’s anxiety and prevent destructive behaviors while they are gone.
For working dog owners, there is a new way to help distract and entertain a dog that suffers from separation anxiety — DOGTV. The TV channel created specifically for dogs claims to have found a way to “provide all important mental stimulation for dogs and help prevent boredom behavior”. The programs feature relaxing sounds and entertaining visuals, including dogs riding in cars, frolicking in fields and playing with colorful bouncing balls.
Benefits of DOGTV on Separation Anxiety
There has already been research done on auditory stimulation as a way to calm an anxious pup, but DOGTV is supposedly scientifically developed to cater to dog’s specific sense of vision and hearing, including altered frame rates and audio frequencies. This allows more dogs to become intrigued by and pay attention to the TV screen, and hopefully focus to reduce stress levels. Distraction and relaxation are effective ways to lessen your dog’s anxiety, and therefore reduce behavioral problems associated with their stress.
As with any treatment, however, all dogs will not respond the same way to DOGTV. Before you invest in this channel, you should make sure DOGTV is a possible solution for your pup by checking their response to samples of the program, and to television in general – some dogs have little to no interest in television, and some older TVs may not even offer a picture that your dog will recognize as a moving image.
Other ways to calm separation anxiety in dogs, include auditory treatments like Through a Dog’s Ear (a music therapy system for dogs); the use of a “Thundershirt,” a garment that wraps tightly around your dog’s body to make them feel secure; or even calming scents and aromatherapy. Also, simply creating some “jobs” for your dog to accomplish while you are away, such as a treat maze or a Kong filled with treats, will help keep them entertained and distracted from their anxiety by activating their foraging instincts.
Whether it’s DOGTV, or other auditory/visual alternatives, make sure you spend some time tailoring your approach to your dog’s preferences and you’ll be able to keep your home in order, stay guilt-free, and most importantly, keep your dog calm and happy!