Q&A with SCRAPS: Pet Parent Tips & Separation Anxiety Help for Dogs

Posted on May 24, 2022 at 6:00 am

Brown and white dog lying in dog bed

By Erin Dodge

When I heard about the upcoming program Pandemic Dogs & Separation Anxiety, I was reminded that pets can have stress and anxiety, just like humans can.

To complicate these situations, pets can’t tell us in words when something is wrong. So, I often first think of the physical health of my pets whenever there is a change in behavior, appetite, and so on. Along with that, going forward, I will also try to remember to think about environmental and other changes in our lives that can affect our pets.

Kevin Vanhook, from the SCRAPS Dog Team, answered some of my pet questions and helped me remember that our pets may need extra effort from us humans when they are experiencing anxiety.

Q&A with Kevin Vanhook

Erin: What’s the most common or biggest mistake people make with their pets?

Kevin: What we usually find is that people did not take their time in selecting an appropriate pet for themselves and their home environment.

Erin: What are some things people can do to prepare to bring a pet home for the first time?

Kevin: Ask yourself some questions and think about your future pet’s needs. Do you have the equipment and/or supplies you will need? Will they be kenneled or have access to an outside yard? You can also think of where your new companion will be staying and dog/pet proof it as much as possible.

Do you know what your new pet will like and what may motivate them to make them easier to handle and help adjust to their new surroundings? For example, do they like toys, treats, affection, or a combination of these?

Erin: Would you share one key concept or take away about separation anxiety in pets that would be useful for pet parents to know?

Kevin: A key concept that pet parents should be able to take away from the program I’m doing at the library is that there is no one cure or fix-all approach. It may take a variety of different ideas and adjustments to help your pet with separation anxiety.

And any medication should be a last resort and only taken with consultation from a veterinarian, while also keeping in mind a goal to taper your pet off that medication.

Erin: What volunteer opportunities are there at SCRAPS for people who want to help?

Kevin: There are many volunteer opportunities at SCRAPS. Training is provided to all volunteers, and you can set your own schedule. You can be a driver, cat socializer, dog socializer, or a pet foster parent, and you can help clean.

For more information, you can visit the SCRAPS Volunteer web page or contact our Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Garner at sgarner@spokanecounty.org.

SCRAPS Library Program

Pandemic Dogs & Separation Anxiety

SCRAPS trainer Kevin Vanhook shares tips on how to soothe your dog when transitioning from working remotely to returning to the office and other reasons your pet might have separation anxiety. Adults

Registration is required.

Thursday, Jun 2, 6:30–7:30pm | REGISTER

Tuesday, Jun 7, 6:30–7:30pm | REGISTER

Saturday, Jun 11, 10–11am | REGISTER

Erin Dodge

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