Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Separation Anxiety

I was living wild in Vegas last week, visiting my father and doing crazy things like taking him to Office Depot and setting up his printer. While I travel Dave stays at our local Camp Bow Wow for boarding.

Anyone who has met Dave in person is quickly made aware of his little "Mommy" problem. Davey has separation anxiety, bad separation anxiety. We have managed to work through these mommy problems to some extent. I can go do small errands like getting the mail or doing the laundry without a major meltdown. I can leave him in his kennel if I go out somewhere, provided the proper kong-laden encouragement, of course.

But whoa is the individual left alone with that puggle if I walk out the door willy-nilly.

Dave wails, he screams, he howls, he cries, he whimpers and he throws himself at whatever door I have walked out of. He can be pacified with cheese most times, as long as he actually hasn't seen me leave. But once the cheese stops flowing, the vigil starts. It looks something like this:

The vigil takes place on the chair nearest the front door, and often involves an item of my clothing such as that red sweatshirt he is using for a pillow in the above picture. During the vigil there is no playing, no drinking, and no going potty. There is only napping, the occasional "woof", some whining and eating if food is offered. Not even mommy trumps food. But once that food is gone- back to the vigil.

Poor crazy guy.

For long stays where I know Dave might be extra stressed I rely on a few fantastic herbal products for just a bit of help. I often send along Beefeaters Anti-Stress Rawhide Stix or Ultra Calm Biscuits, both of which I get from Doctors Foster and Smith.

I found these products when Davey injured his leg and had to be on "bed rest", like such a thing exists for a 1 year old dog. The Stress Stix are pressed rawhide chews that contain vitamins, green tea and chamomile. I We give 2 at bed time if he is really amped up or send a few for evening treats when he boards at Camp Bow Wow. A package of 50 is 3.99 from Amazon or 4.49 from Doctors Foster and Smith online.

Davey seems to prefer the taste of the Beefeaters Rawhide Stix, although we have also had some success with Ultra Calm Biscuits, made by Doctors Foster and Smith and available at their site. The Ultra Calm Biscuits seem to be a bit stronger than the Rawhide Stix. They contain inositol and valerian, known to have sedating effects, in addition to chamomile and vitamin C. Valerian has a distinct, strong smell that picky eaters might not like.

Both products are natural and, I think, a great alternative to anxiety medications. They are short acting and Davey has never had a poor reaction to them. We even use the Anti-Stress Stix when we have company since Davey, like most puggles, is super excitable around visitors.

Looking for a mellow moment without the dope? I would love to hear if these, or similar items, have worked for your little furry ball of crazy.


Chase said...

aww Davey, I miss my mommy when she leaves too.. :-( I feel your pain. Those treats sound yummy though.

Sniffs and licks,


Mr. Puggle said...

dave buddy, heartbreaking. what if you try this thing? it would keep you busy for awhile?


the dog whisperer had a show on it once and prescribed extra exercise. i know mr. puggle needs LOTS of exercise.

Anonymous said...

hi Davey,

it's nice to meet you! I used to be the same way with my mommy. I am glad to know that I am not the only puggle out there with mommy issues :) now that I am older I try to remember that she will come back but I think I should try some of those treats....

puggle power!