Is your pet having difficulty adjusting to the new fall schedule? Maybe he’s eyeing you with panic as you get ready to leave the house? Separation anxiety isn’t only relegated to pets who’ve had a difficult background. It can also affect them when there’s a big change in schedule – such as the kids going back to school. If your pet has gotten used to people being home all the time and now they aren’t, it can cause upset and concern. Muffin doesn’t know it’s simply the time of the year, all Muffin knows is people were around and now they’re not and it often means long hours alone. Sometimes, separation anxiety can show up as extreme panic.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
- Excessive barking
- Urinating or Defecating Inside (Only when you’re not around – otherwise they’re house-trained)
- Scratching at doors/windows
- Destroying Things
If your usually calm dog is now destroying furniture or eating his way through a door, you have a severe case of separation anxiety on your hands.
How to Deal with Separation Anxiety
- Don’t fuss over your pet when you leave or come home. Instead, calmly step out the door and when you return, ignore your pet for a few minutes (as best as you can) and then give a small pat or scratch behind the ears.
- Confine your pet to a laundry room or another space where he or she can’t inflict damage.
- Leave a “scented” shirt or other dirty laundry item with your pet. As you know, dogs are highly focused on scent and your familiar smell can help calm him.
- Give your pet toys that will keep him busy, for example, a peanut butter stuffed Kong. However, it extreme instances your pet may not touch it until you return.
- Calming scents like lavender can help. You can spritz it in the room and around your pet’s toys/bed.
- If you can take your pet to doggie day care or to work with you, that will ease the stress. The whole point is that your pet doesn’t want to be left alone.
- According to The Humane Society, crating won’t help and can make it worse. Punishment also won’t work.
How Do You Know if Your Dog Is Experiencing Separation Anxiety or Just Bored?
Bored dogs can be destructive and howl the day away. But their symptoms usually disappear if they get enough exercise – depending on the breed, that can mean a 10 mile run every day. Separation anxiety is more like a panic. If your dog gets visibly distressed while you’re getting ready to leave the house…that’s classic separation anxiety.
If you watch closely you’ll see the difference. You can try taking your pet out for a longer walk before and after work and seeing if that helps. A mid-day dog walker can relieve both bored dogs and give an anxious dog a break. You can also offer your pet a favorite treat before you leave. Often, a dog experiencing panic at the thought of being left alone will ignore it. They’re truly terrified about being alone and even a favorite treat won’t sway them.
What about your pet? Is he or she showing signs of separation anxiety?
Q. Do you have a special dry food for cats prone to getting UTIs? My cat dislikes the prescription diet.
A. We’re sorry to hear that your cat has been experiencing urinary issues. Please know that we do not offer prescription diets, however, our Complete Health recipes contain a cranberry blend that may promote healthy urine PH. Another way to help cats maintain urinary health is by keeping them well hydrated. If your cat does not drink water regularly, you can help him get more hydration by supplementing his dry food with one of our Complete Health wet foods. We recommend that you discuss your cat’s nutrition options with your vet before making any changes. Best of luck!
Q. I have a Boston Terrier who’s having digestive issues with loose stools. She’s 12 pounds, small I know. She had a fecal test and it came back negative. I’m looking to change her food. Which Wellness food would you suggest?
A. It’s good to hear that your Boston Terrier’s fecal test came back negative. This doesn’t rule out the possibility that your dog has a sensitive stomach and/or food intolerance. I’d suggest that you try the Wellness Simple Small Breed Salmon & Potato Formula. This grain-free food is made with limited ingredients so that there’s less of a chance of your dog having digestive upset with it. The tiny kibble size is also a good fit for your small dog. I recommended that you transition your dog slowly from her current food to the Simple Small Breed Salmon & Potato. A transition over at least a week will decrease the chances of stomach upset with the new food. If your pup still experiences digestive issues, we suggest that you work with your veterinarian to help determine which specific ingredients are not agreeing with your dog’s stomach.
Q. What do you recommend for dogs with tear stains?
A. There are many reasons that dogs have tear stains around the eyes, however, diet does not seem to play a role. Some breeds (short-nosed breeds in particular) have a higher incidence of stain around the eyes. Irritation, infection, long hair touching the eyes, dust and dirt in the eyes can all contribute to excessive tearing, clogged tear ducts and, in turn, tear stains. We recommend that you have your dog examined by your veterinarian to narrow down the cause of the tear stains and determine an effective resolution to the issue.
Q. We have a 14-month-old Black Lab mix (we think part Coon Hound). He barks quite a lot for no apparent reason–not all day, but a lot. Any suggestions?
A. Every dog will bark to some degree. Some hound breeds bark more than others. Excessive barking can be annoying and should be controlled.
The first step is to determine what has caused the dog to bark and then work to reduce the dog’s urge to bark. Many things can trigger a barking episode, such as protection of territory, fear, alarm, boredom, playfulness and seeking attention. It often takes a good deal of time to solve a barking issue so don’t give up. Shouting can encourage barking so speak calmly. Try saying “quiet” in a soft manner and when the dog responds, reward him with praise and maybe a treat. Wellness Pure Rewards Jerky Treats make a good training treat as they’re small and can be broken into smaller pieces if needed. There are training classes offered by many retail pet stores that can also help with resolving your issue so seek help if you need to.
Q. I have a 12 year old Bijon who has developed bladder stones and is now on a special food. We would love to give him treats, but have been unable to find any that would not harm him. Can you make any suggestions?
There are many types of bladder stones and all are different and need to be addressed individually. The two most common stones are Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) and calcium oxalate. Struvite is usually caused by infection and so using the proper antibiotic at the correct dosage for a sufficient time is essential. I would suggest working closely with your veterinarian to find a proper treat that won’t negatively affect the action of the diet.
The treat should encourage acidity so I would suspect a predominately meat treat would work. The Wellness Small Breed Petite Treats Crunchy Mini-Bites are a meat-based treat that may work. Again, it’s best to verify that your veterinarian feels comfortable with this option.
Q. What is the best Wellness food to feed a 6-yr-old Portuguese Water Dog who needs to lose weight? What supplements might I try for joint health?
A. Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight is a good choice for helping your dog lose weight, in addition to regular exercise. It has fewer calories per cup than other Wellness Complete Health recipes, and offers increased levels of fiber to help satisfy appetite. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.
Before you start a weight loss plan with your dog, you may want to check in with your veterinarian. It’s best to take an initial weight and develop a goal. You can begin feeding according to the feeding guide on the bag (or alter based on veterinarian recommendation) and weigh your pet each week. If your pet is not losing weight, reduce the amount fed each day. If your pet losing weight at a rate greater than 2% per week, increase the amount fed to avoid losing too much too quickly.
Regular, daily exercise is essential in order to maintain weight loss. In addition, exercise keeps the muscles toned which also supports the joints and reduces discomfort. To ease your dog into regular exercise, avoid activities that are overly strenuous. A daily walk is a great form of exercise.
Q. I have our puppy on Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula. She is a 6-month-old Shih Tzu who’s doing great on this food. What do you recommend to put her on as an adult and when?
A. The Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula is an ideal grain free recipe for a small breed puppy and should work well until your puppy turns one. At that time you might want to consider switching to the Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Adult recipe which has the same basic proteins and fat as the puppy diet. Usually adults don’t need as many calories as pups, so the Small Breed Adult has less fat and therefore less calories to help your dog maintain lean muscle mass.
Q. My dog has a mast cell tumor and I am trying to decide what food is best for her to be on. The vet suggested a low carbohydrate, low grain diet. Is there one you would recommend?
A. High carbohydrate recipes are known to support cancer cells, while a lower carbohydrate diet works to fight the diseased cells. For this reason, feeding a diet that is lower in levels of carbohydrates is recommended. Wellness CORE Original Formula would be a great recipe to try as it is lower in carbohydrates. Adding additional antioxidants would also be a good idea, one way would be with our Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars. I recommend talking to your veterinarian about certain supplements that have been shown to slow the process of some cancers.
Q. My standard poodle has a sensitive stomach. She often has diarrhea. I’ve had her checked for worms and she does not have them. What could this be?
A. There are some dogs that have what has been called a “sensitive stomach.” It is a very general term that can suggest that the dog seems sensitive to something in the diet or changes in the diet. This is usually expressed as intermittent vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Many times, the issue is an intolerance to an ingredient in the diet. It is not an allergy, but rather a non-immune mediated reaction to an ingredient in the diet. Allergies are to a particular protein, whereas a food intolerance can be caused by anything in the diet.
Feeding a natural pet food with limited ingredients and a single unique protein would be a possible solution to the problem. The Wellness Simple formulas are an ideal option to try. There are four diets each containing different ingredients as well as some natural supplements such as probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which can help to resolve digestive issues. Keep in mind that with any dog experiencing digestive issues, a very slow transition (10-14 days) to the new food is always recommended.