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Question
Posted by: worried | 2008/02/04

To visit or not

Hi All,

My husband and I are visiting relatives overseas in August for three weeks. My parents are going to stay at the house to take cares of the “kids”. Two years ago we had to cut our holiday short when the pet sitter phoned to say that my girl had stopped eating. We were gone for two weeks and when we came back I had a shock. Her eyes were sunken and she had visibly lost weight. My first instinct was to blame the pet sitter, but the following year the same thing happened at the kennel.
We then realized that it is separation anxiety so we started going away more often for 2 or 3 days so she could get used to the idea that we always come back. She is fine for short periods, but anything longer than 4 days makes her physically ill.
This year’s trip feels like a mountain in front of me. I don’t feel any excitement whatsoever because I’m so worried about my girl. She and I are very very close and it hurts me deeply to know that she is unhappy when we are not there.
When the “kids” went to the kennels I explained the separation anxiety problem to them and they took special care of her. She was walked more often, they even prepared her treat toys to keep her occupied, but it didn’t work.
We bought the plane tickets this weekend and I couldn’t stop crying.
What can I do to make her feel better? Is there anything my parents can do? I’m so torn between visiting my family (whom I love very much) and my girl (who I love more). Any advice would be appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Install a DAP vapourizer where she spends most of her time. This has been shown to be very effective in treating separation anxiety. You will need to begin using it about 3 weeks before you depart and all the time you are away.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2008/02/04

B rief your vet, and then relax. She will pick up your anxiety and that will not help the situation. Get a tranquilliser for the day you leave - in fact, some tincture of valerian (or calmettes - same ingredients) will take the edge off her stress. (And yours too, by the way!)

When you leave, don't let her see you go - in fact, maybe you could take the dogs to your parents, and then depart and let them bring her home - that way she's spared the trauma of watching you go.

Also, get a tube or two of Nutristim - it's a highly nutritious and palatable gel which she can lick off a biscuit or even directly out of the tube - your vet should have it, but I've also seen it at some Dischems.

Make sure your parents know your routine so that they can offer as much stability as possible - but warn them about giving her too much attention, since this could actually encourage her behaviour. Distraction is better than fussing.

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