After seeing the impact and distress of separation anxiety experienced by her family dog, Claudine Khali has designed a dog bed that uses vibration therapy to help keep dog’s calm.
When Claudine returned to university and her family went back to their workplaces after the lockdown, their dog Toffee, a Cavachon, was so distressed it destroyed furniture as well as barking and howling constantly.
Claudine, who is studying BSc Product Design, said: “I found it so upsetting seeing how much separation anxiety affected my dog after it became so used to us being home all the time during lockdown.”
“This experience inspired me to try and design something that would be able to reduce tension and stress in dogs when they struggle with solitude as a result of their owners being away from the home.”
The dog bed Claudine has designed features vibration technology, which uses a sensory stimulation approach to destress and promote a calming effect in dogs. This is achieved by a vibrating box which is inserted through a zipper.
Claudine’s research included consulting with the RSPCA which said it was experiencing increased numbers of calls from owners whose dogs were exhibiting separation anxiety. As part of the continued development of the product it will also feature a phone app which utilises pressure sensors within the dog bed to alert the owner when the dog is in the bed.
Claudine said: “I wanted to create a product for owners to feel more connected to their dogs despite being away from the home.”
Claudine’s product will be on display at the Art & Design Student Showcase from Saturday 28 May until Wednesday 1 June.