Students Invent Dog Stress Toy That Helps Separation Anxiety

Post Bulletin / Traci Westcott

Students partaking in an entrepreneurial program at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota had to come up with a business idea. The program is called INCubatoredu, and it strives to encourage young people to develop a creative, entrepreneurial spirit.

In it, three of the program’s students have spent months designing a pet toy that is meant to help dogs with separation anxiety reduce stress. The students are Daliso Chitulangoma, Noah Decker and Ethan Kleven. Their team is called the FürDogs.

Chitulangoma presents the prototype to judges / Post Bulletin / Traci Westcott

New Dog Toy Helps With Separation Anxiety

The idea stemmed from Kleven’s own dog. According to a piece written for Post Bulletin by Matthew Stolle, Kleven’s dog is 12 years old and has terrible separation anxiety.

Many pet owners can attest to the very real anxiety our furry friends get when we leave them alone for the day.

According to Stolle, Kleven’s “12-year-old dog suffers from terrible separation anxiety when left alone. But the dog’s anxiousness could be tempered, he discovered, using aroma therapy, specifically, a blanket made out of old clothing.”

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

According to the ASPCA,

“Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they’re attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.”

Symptoms of a dog having separation anxiety include:

  • Urinating/defecating when left alone
  • Persistent barking/howling when left alone
  • Chewing
  • Digging
  • Overall destruction
  • Escaping
  • Pacing back and forth/in circular patterns
  • Coprophagia

How Does the Toy Work?

Stolle continues, “Most pet toys that use smells to calm dogs rely on generic aromas such as lavender or vanilla. Their toy is custom-made: a pet toy in the shape of a bone stuffed with the clippings of the pet owner’s clothes. It also squeaks.”

What a great idea! I know the pets I’ve had always loved stealing my socks and shoes. I like to think it’s because they liked having my scent close, but they also may have been trying to get on my nerves.

Regardless, I could totally see plenty of pets loving a squeaky toy that omits their human’s comforting scent.

No word yet on if/when this product will be mass-produced so we can all give it a try, but check back soon for updates on this revolutionary squeaky toy!