Guilt leaving our pets alone

So many of us tend to feel so guilty about leaving our best friends alone at home, that we overcompensate by giving them their favourite treat (or treats) to eat just as we are leaving the house.

It makes us feel better knowing that they are being given something they love as we love them so much. We reinforce this guilt feeding by doing it day after day just before we leave them alone.

Guilt is a powerful emotion and separation anxiety is hugely prevalent amongst our pets – (*1. Kelly C. Ballantyne DVM) “Separation anxiety is the most common behavioural disorders of dogs with approximately 17% to 29% reported to have separation anxiety. It presents significant welfare issues for affected dogs as it can cause emotional distress, can interfere with normal functioning, may result in self-trauma, and can increase the dog’s risk of relinquishment or euthanasia. These conditions can also negatively impact the quality of life of the pet owner or owners.”

Other reasons we may overfeed out of guilt is new mothers with young babies. Before, their fur baby was their life and suddenly the love has to be shared and the attention isn’t there anymore so we overcompensate out of guilt by overfeeding (just a little, but it all adds up!)

1. Ballantyne, Kelly C. “Separation, Confinement, or Noises: What Is Scaring That Dog?.” Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice (2018)

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