How can I handle obsessing and causing stress for our cat and dog?

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My husband is obsessing over who our cat and dog belong to, where did I take them, that I am planning to kidnap them. He demands that they be with him or that he knows where they are every minute of the day and during the night-constantly calling out to them. He holds tight to them if they do come to him, either by holding onto their collars or just holding them tightly. Our sweet dog is becoming afraid and nervous and my assurances do not help at all. I have begun putting our dog in the bedroom during meals because he insists on feeding him things that are not at all good for him-especially milk at every meal, and garlic, and spicy foods and bread and his own dish to put ice cream in. He will sneak the food under the table like a toddler hiding something. Every family member has tried to stop this at gatherings but he just stares at them, handing food to our dog anyway. We are an animal loving family, but our dog is the only one allowed to be fed at the table and this is creating a health issue as well as conflict even as we realize that this is another obsessive behavior.

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[As a border collie she probably had firm views on what immunosuppressants would be best for your husband, too, Midkid. C.f. dog breed lightbulb jokes.]
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Dogs can be VERY affected by the "pack" dynamic. My hubby had a liver transplant and our sweet Border Collie laid by the bed the whole entire time hubby was in the bed. (A LONG time). She would only leave him to run outside to potty, I had to feed her in the bedroom. She recognized DH as her "alpha" and really was the best nurse he could have had. All he had to do was drop his hand off the side of the bed and she'd lick him, just to let him know she was there.

Now, as a Border Collie, she was generally VERY active and requiring a LOT of outside time. During hubby's recovering, she was so calm and sweet. She KNEW. When he was no longer hooked to a bunch of drains, I let her be on the bed with him. Comforted both of them.

But I'm talking about the best dog/friend I have ever had---my daughter's toy Pom is the stupidest thing in the world. In times of stress, she runs around the house and poops in every room she can get into. Daughter is having baby #3 and she is far more worried about this dumb dog's reaction to another child than she is about her KIDS having a new sib.

I guess my only advice would be to try your best to keep your hubby from feeding/obsessing over the dog. Human food doesn't agree with dogs, and can actually be toxic.

Hopefully this behavior in your hubby is just a phase. Perhaps talking to his dr about something mild for the anxiety would be helpful. The dog isn't working as an anxiety animal--and it's probably ready to run away.
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What a tough situation for everyone involved. Especially the poor animals. I especially feel bad for the dog. Dogs want so much to please their humans - even if it’s to their own detriment.

Did you know that dogs are lactose intolerant? Doggie shouldn’t be having any milk -at all.

Does your husband take any medication for anxiety? If not, that might be a good first shot at resolving this issue. Talk to your husbands doctor.
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She1934, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's condition. My LO went through the same thing when she was first diagnosed with dementia. She was obsessed with her cat and would not allow the cat out of her sight. She wanted it within eye shot at all times and constantly worried that the cat would fall down and hurt herself or that the cat could escape from the house through a crevice the size of a pea. It was beyond disturbing to her mental state and that of the cat. The cat began acting out as it was nervous and unsettled with my LO's behavior and started acting out, spraying, etc.

The only thing that helped was my LO went to AL to stay for a while to get rehab. Her dementia progressed rapidly, went to MC and completely forgot about the cat. She soon didn't even ask about the cat. Medication for anxiety helped her quite a bit. I'd discuss it with his doctor.

While your husband loves the pets, it's not kind to allow the pets to become stressed out due to a person's obsessive behavior. If he was thinking clearly, he wouldn't want the animals to be unhappy. That's how I thought of it.  The cat loved my LO, but, was much happier, when she was away from her.  The obsessive behavior was just too much for the cat. 
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Good for you for putting your dog away during meals. I think people have a hard time not slipping food to pets as they're just so danged cute when they beg. I have most of your problem with my Mom and my two Australian shepherds, one mini and one toy. They have strict (though loving) training and they respond to commands beautifully. Since being here, they've learned to beg by Mom and she would slip them food. How it was solved was I allow them to sit at Mom's feet on the floor or allow them up on a cart that's placed by the window so they can see out. This cart is beside her chair about an arm's reach away. Immediately beside Mom's chair is a hassock that we girls sit on to help with Mom and it allows the dogs to jump up onto the cart. The dogs are NOT allowed to sit on the hassock when Mom's eating as it's just too easy for Mom to slip them some food. With continually glancing at Mom to ensure she's not slipping them food, this system works pretty well.

I don't have your problem of them wanting to stay away from Mom as she doesn't grab them and force them to stay. Actually it's the opposite. The mini is desperate to be with Mom and tries to stay near her (a good thing), though he can be a bit overzealous by jumping up on her lap to lick her face. He's 25 pounds and just too heavy for that sort of thing. When he's outside in the fenced backyard he'll throw himself at the door trying to get in to be with Mom (he'd make an EXCELLENT service dog). The toy is 14 pounds and Mom adores her as she's a sweetheart.

Your dog's anxiety must be highly stressful. I wonder if you act as if your dog being with your husband is a "job" and give your dog treats while the dog's with DH. Do you think that might help your dog learn that? My dogs are stressed from being here though. At home they don't toilet in the house. Here they do. Almost daily there's a mess on the floor, either wet or solid (and of course, it's on the carpet). Their routine is essentially the same and their food and snacks are the same.
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If this is a new thing, I'd report it to whatever doctor is following his dementia.

These sorts of things can be seen as symtoms--manifestations of agitation and/or anxiety and are sometimes ameliorated by meds.

In hindsight, if we'd been able to see my mother's anxiety as a symptom, we would have been far ahead of the game in getting her what she needed.

She couldn't stay at home because she was scared and anxious, and having helpers in the house with her made her MORE anxious.

We should have gotten her anxiety properly addressed by a geriatric psychiatrist BEFORE we moved her, not after.
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Google "PARO Therapeutic Robot." Though I notice the article doesn't say how much they cost, yikes :/
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Well on the plus side you needn't worry about the cat. Cats don't generally hang around if anyone or anything might make their lives uncomfortable.

Poor old dog though. What sort of dog? - size, shape, temperament? Was he previously very attached to your husband? If DH was the "pack leader" this situation will indeed confuse the heck out of him. Don't be too sweet or soft in your assurances - the dog needs to know that there is a strong leader in charge (you), so be firm and assume an air of authority.

I'm struggling to think of a possible love object for your DH to fuss over that won't come to any harm. Not being flippant - there are animatronic creations that have been in the headlines lately, I don't know if they're anything like ready for product launch?
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I'm answering to bump up your post so others can see it.
That sound so hard to deal with, hopefully it is a phase that doesn't last long.
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