What to do about boarding a pet with separation anxiety
No matter how loving or wonderful a boarding facility may be-- private or commercial-- some dogs just need to stay in their own home environment. Elderly, sick dogs and dogs with anxiety issues may do better at home with a pet sitter visiting them several times in a day than in a new, foreign setting. Finding themselves suddenly in an unfamiliar home or facility can be overwhelming for the pet with anxiety.
Most little dogs are thrilled to have the companionship of other little doggies and the love and attention of The Doggie Nanny! However, we have found for a small number of dogs, a change of environment can bring out anxiety, aggression and destructive or nervous behaviors that overwhelm the dog and the care provider.
Though it is the exception, in many years of providing home boarding for small breed dogs, we have had three dogs here that would have been better off remaining home. My first experience with severe separation anxiety was with a male dog that whimpered and cried for two and a half days...all day and through the night. He also pee'd incessantly all over the house. The second dog just acted crazy, pooped everywhere and walked it all over our home as well. I went through a lot of bleach that weekend! The third was simply in a state of panic for most of her visit with us and constantly tried to escape. Throughout their visit, these three dogs suffered and exhausted me with all the extra cleaning I had to do! They shook, cried, peed and pooped. I was unable to console them.
For dogs with this level of anxiety, even private home boarding is not the answer. These dogs were fine in their own environment, the pet parents were surprised to hear how their dogs behaved in my home. We recommended the families take their dog with them on vacation, have a family member or friend that the dog was familiar with provide care-- or have a professional pet sitter visit the house several times a day and care for the dog in their home environment.
You can search online through the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International for pet sitters in your area. Many pet sitters advertise at local supermarkets or community bulletin boards; many now even have have their own websites. Your local Veterinarian or Groomer should also be a good resource for for a pet sitter recommendation.
As many pet lovers know, when you know your little fur baby is happy, your vacation is all the more enjoyable too!
If you have a dog that is destructive, agressive or anxious in their own home, you may need to consider professional help. Severe separation anxiety in pets can be helped through training and/or medication. If your pet is suffering from this disorder, consult your veterinarian and find an experienced dog trainer that can help you with training that will help your dog become more balanced and secure.
Whatever your dog boarding needs are, if you have a small breed dog, DO NOT leave your small pet with a facility or private boarder that mixes small and large dogs. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Do not do it!
Want to know more about private home boarding for little doggies on Long Island, NY?