Separation anxiety in dogs is relatively common, dogs are social animals by nature, and years of breeding have made them very dependent on their owners.
As much as we love our pets, we can’t be with them 24-7; we have to go out to work and engage in other activities away from home, where they might not be welcome.
Separation anxiety is usually easy to spot.
You’ll probably notice certain ways that your dog is acting strangely, for instance, following you from room to room, going crazy when you come back home, or seeming worried as you head out.
It might be the signs of destruction when you get home to find your belongings chewed to pieces by your anxious pup or that it has urinated or defecated on your carpet.
Sometimes the first you’ll know about it is when your neighbors inform you that they are being driven mad by your dogs barking, howling, or whining all day long!
Luckily there are some simple solutions to help you work on your dog’s separation anxiety, starting from things like CBD oil for dogs, to more advanced techniques like dog therapy.
How to Identify Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
It’s normal for dogs to be a little upset when you leave them at first, and it will take some time for them to get used to your absence.
If your dog is acting particularly anxious in your absence, it’s probably suffering from separation anxiety.
You’ll see symptoms of this in your dog if it:
- Is destructive around the house (barks, chews furniture, etc.)
- Is destructive outside the house (barks, digs holes, etc.)
- Is excessively vocal (barking, whining, howling)
- Drools excessively
- Paces excessively
- Has accidents in the house
- Hides under the bed or behind furniture
- Has diarrhea or vomiting
There are several reasons why dogs might develop separation anxiety. Here are some of the most common:
- The owner has come home late one too many times and not paid attention to the dog while it was waiting.
- The owner has left the dog alone for too long without coming back.
- The dog is left alone when something bad happens, like a fire alarm going off.
- The owner is giving mixed signals to the dog. For example, they return home after a long absence but are tired and don’t want to play.
- The owner feels guilty about leaving the dog alone at home or is worried that it is bored and lonely.
- The owner comes home stressed out and negative.
- The dog has been abandoned before and is now scared every time its owner leaves it at home.
- The dog doesn’t feel secure in his environment. For example, if it doesn’t have enough space or feels threatened by environmental factors such as traffic, loud noises, etc.
- The dog was punished for being anxious or destructive and has associated this with being left alone.
There Are Plenty of Solutions to Help You Work on Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety!
Provide Your Dog With Plenty of Stimulation Before You Leave Home
This will help take its mind off of you as you will be occupying it by providing it with plenty of fun activities that keep him busy. This will also prevent it from becoming bored and lonely while you’re gone.
This could be anything from playing with your dog, fun dog puzzle toys, or taking it for a walk, just make sure that you’re being energetic and as active as possible while you play with your dog. It should be more fun than anything else!
Leave Your Dog in an Environment Where It Feels Safe and Secure Before You Go Out
The ideal environment for your dog would be one where it feels safe, secure and relaxed – for example in its crate where it can doze off whenever it wants to.
It is important that your dog feels comfortable in its own environment because if it feels safe there, then there’s no need for it to worry about you leaving it there alone later on!
Provide Your Dog With Plenty to Chew on Before You Leave Home
Make sure that your dog has plenty of things to chew on and play with so that it doesn’t get bored while you’re away.
This will also keep it occupied for a while so that it doesn’t try to destroy the furniture or some other item in your home.
You can also provide it with something to occupy its mind if you have a puppy like a ball or chew snack, that it can play with.
This will keep it occupied for a while and stop it from becoming bored.
Be Aware of Your Dog’s Sensitivities During Separation Anxiety Treatment
If your dog is sensitive to certain noises you might want to turn on some calming music as you leave and when you come back home.
This will help calm your dog down and help it to relax while you’re away.
Leave Your Dog in the Same Environment Before You Go Out
Try to make sure that you don’t change the environment that your dog is used to before you go out, for example, don’t put its crate in a different room before you go out.
This way it will feel safe and secure at all times and won’t think that something has changed.
This will help it to relax and feel more comfortable in its environment, which will in turn help to treat its separation anxiety.
The Bottom Line
Dogs think the world of their owners. It should come as no surprise that whenever these owners are out of the picture, it is a terrifying and difficult situation for the pet.
After all, unlike humans, they don’t have the capacity of understanding that their owner will return home, and may feel abandoned or unwanted.
This is especially true in cases of dogs who were abused as puppies and taken in from a shelter.
Hopefully, the tips outlined in this article will help you ease some of these symptoms and better prepare your bundle of joy for future separation.