It’s a Mad World: Pet Separation Anxiety and “The New Normal”

There may have been some adjustments in the beginning of stay-at-home orders, but most pets have gotten used to their owners being around all day, every day. 

However, many pet owners that previously sheltered in place are getting back to work, or heading to school for stretches of time their pets have likely forgotten about. Plus, many pets adopted right before or during quarantine haven’t fully experienced alone time. As a result, pet separation anxiety is a real threat facing our four-legged friends.

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Me Without You: A Guide to Separation Anxiety in Cats

Cats are widely perceived as solitary, independent, or aloof pets. They may not be as demanding as dogs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require – or benefit from – company, interaction, and affection. 

The truth is, cats need close companionship, and value their owner’s involvement in their day-to-day needs. Unfortunately, separation anxiety in cats is a natural consequence of our busy lifestyles, but it doesn’t have to have a lasting impact on feline health.

Understanding the Scope Cat Separation Anxiety

A bonded cat is a beautiful thing, but a deep connection to their owner can have a profound impact on their ability to cope with solitude. Separation anxiety in cats can cause many different symptoms, such as:

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Welcome Home! Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets can intensify when the kids go back to school. Welcome home! You step inside your house after a few hours out expecting a warm welcome from your pet. Instead, you find that your dog has chewed your rug, or your cat has eliminated on your bed! Are your pets angry at you for leaving? Likely not.

It’s possible that feelings of anxiety and fear at being left alone are at the root of your pet’s behavior. Separation anxiety is a one of the top contributing factors for behavior problems in pets.

The Pet Experts have some tips on how to recognize and resolve separation anxiety in pets.   Continue…

School Season Blues: How to Help Separation Anxiety in Pets

iStock_000015693942_MediumAll summer long, your kids and their best four-legged friends have bonded over trips to the park, lazy days by the pool, and sprints across the lawn. Now you and your family have turned your attention to papers, pencils, new clothes, and busy schedules as the alarm clock announces another crazy day ahead. In the hustle and bustle, though, your pets may find themselves having to adjust to all of the changes the back-to-school season brings.

Although we think of the new school season in terms of our children’s adjustment to new classmates, classes, and experiences, it is important to remember that pets often suffer from some separation anxiety and stress in response to the change in routine.

While these shake-ups in family schedules are unavoidable, there are some ways you can help acclimate your pet to their flipped routine and make the process less daunting for your furry  family member. Continue…

Too Much or Not Enough? Elmhurst’s Veterinary Advice on Pets and Water Consumption

An Elmhurst pet needing help with their water.

One of the biggest problems among our pet companions is getting them to drink the right amount of water to keep them hydrated and healthy. For some pets, drinking a lot of water can pose a risk of overconsumption, while others snub their nose at tap water and refuse to drink enough. 

Here’s some veterinary advice from the team at Elmhurst Animal Care Center to help you understand more about pets and water consumption and how to know how much is enough.

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Beyond Affection? Why Your Dog Licks You

Dog licking girl's face

Rare is the dog that doesn’t try to sneak a kiss or two. Most people are familiar with this decidedly canine behavior, and some even welcome it. That being said, however, there are quite a few dog owners that question the opportunistic tongue. If you’ve ever wondered why your dog licks you (and possibly want them to stop), we’ve got you covered.

The Slobber Factor

Let’s address the health and safety of dog kisses. Like us, dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. It’s reasonable to assume that some of that bacteria gets passed from them to us via a kiss. This can certainly be off-putting, but unless their saliva enters an open wound on your body their kisses will not easily cause illness. Simply wash your hands and face after receiving some good ‘ole doggie affection. 

Strong Genes

Sure, slobbery dog “kisses” can be gross. The important things to remember, though, is that they aren’t trying to alienate you. In fact, just the opposite.

Dogs are simply answering their canine instincts by licking. This action has been relayed through wolf and dog DNA over the years. From their earliest days with their mother, wolf pups learn to eat food that has been regurgitated. They lick their mother’s face and are licked in return to get cleaned up. 

Me Love You!

Since licking is a natural, inherited behavior in dogs, owners may allow a few “kisses” from time to time. After all, pet dogs should feel comfortable expressing their love and devotion to their special humans. If they cannot get close to your face, it’s likely that your dog licks you on the hands, legs, and feet. Some experts believe that they do this to pick up signals of where you’ve been. You might even taste intriguingly salty to them

Where Is the Line?

Some owners might be uncomfortable with any and all licking. Others might accept this behavior as part of the territory of dog ownership. It is important to note that when your dog licks you excessively there might be something more going on.

Me. Me. Me?

If your dog licks you more often than you feel is necessary or appropriate, the following could explain why:

  • They could be using their kisses to get more attention from you. If you react with laughter, smiling, petting or scratches they may be more inclined to repeat the behavior. Remember that dogs can even seek negative attention which inadvertently reinforces the action. Instead of getting mad, try to simply ignore it. Only reward the type of behavior you want to see.
  • Stress and anxiety can trigger obsessive behaviors in dogs. Some dogs will lick things, like furniture, carpeting, toys, household objects, and even themselves repeatedly in an effort to soothe themselves. If left alone, this behavior can get worse over time. Please call us so we can help address your concerns. Animal behaviorists can also be very helpful at redirecting any symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • Boredom, pain, allergies and other health problems may be the cause and require attention and action.

When Your Dog Licks You

Dogs can be trained not to lick. It may take time, but with positive reinforcement they will eventually be less inclined to show this behavior. If your dog licks your face too much, give them a food puzzle or interactive toy. 

To curb excessive licking, be sure that your dog receives abundant opportunities to exercise. Spend time with them every day and keep to a routine.
If you need additional support regarding canine behavior or training, the Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are always here for you.

Urine Marking in Dogs: Why They Do it and how to Clean it

White dog sitting in corner of home.

We’ve all seen a dog lift its leg on a tree or fire hydrant, or sniff endlessly at a rock or patch of grass only to dribble a few drops of urine over the area. For dogs, urinating marking is an important means of communication and “scent marking”. Urine communicates a dog’s age, sex, whether a female is in heat, and so much more. It’s also a way of marking territory.

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How Do You Know If You Have Too Many Pets? 

A multi-pet household can be a delightful experience, assuming everyone gets along. Play, environment enrichment, variety, and friendship are part of the ownership puzzle, and it’s mutually beneficial to all household pets. That said, is it possible to have too many pets?

More the Merrier?

The bottom line is that you can have as many pets as you can reasonably take care of. However, this balance can often get out of hand, causing detriment to the health of the pets and even the human family members.

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Up, Down, and All Around: What Your Cat’s Tail is Telling You

If you love cats, you most likely know how sensitive, playful, and even snuggly they can be. However, do you sometimes find yourself scratching your head, trying to decipher what they want?

Your cat’s tail may be one of the best ways to determine their mood. Watching and learning what their tail position means can be a fun and enlightening endeavor – and it can help you better understand your cat!

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The Right Stuff: Taking Steps to Achieve Your Pet’s Healthy Weight

“Bikini season” is right around the corner – a time that strikes both terror and anxiety in the hearts of many. Gym memberships increase, healthy foods are purchased, and bodies are scrutinized, all in the name of looking good in a bathing suit.

Obviously, your pet doesn’t care how they look, but being overweight is just as dangerous for them as it is for us. Reaching and maintaining your pet’s healthy weight should be a top priority during every season. Let The Pet Experts get you started off on the right paw!

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