Separation anxiety in dogs is very common. You have probably heard a lot of pet parents complain about their dogs being destructive or nervous and whiny when alone. Some dogs can end up urinating, barking, howling, chewing, or trying to escape the house!
Fortunately, this is treatable and preventable, with the proper technique and using the right supplies (like a calming pet bed from PetSwag!). That said, what is separation anxiety in dogs in the first place?
About Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety occurs when dogs are hyper-attached to their owner, so they become very stressed once left alone. It’s more than just whining and/or some mischief when leaving. This is a very serious condition and one reason why pet owners give their pets up.
These are the signs of separation anxiety:
- Howling, barking, and/or whining a lot
- Indoor ‘accidents’ despite being housebroken
- Chewing things, digging holes, scratching doors and/or windows
- Drooling, panting or salivating more than normal
- Pacing in obsessive patterns
- Trying to escape
Normal dogs would do this once in a while, but those with separation anxiety will have these symptoms most of the time before you leave.
There isn’t conclusive evidence on why dogs have separation anxiety. However, dogs who were adopted from shelters would have this behavior issue compared to dogs who were with one family since they were puppies. It’s believed that losing an important person or family leads to this problem, among other less dramatic changes, such as:
- Change of family, guardian, or household membership
- Change in their routine or schedule
- Moving residences
How to Remedy Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs don’t only need supplies like food, collars, pet bowls, or dog car seat covers when out. They also need love and reassurance to keep them from feeling anxious.
After you have ruled out any medical problems or other behavioral issues, and the vet has confirmed it is separation anxiety, what can you do?
If it is mild separation anxiety:
- Give your dog a treat before leaving, like a toy with peanut butter.
- Don’t greet your dog too intensely, ignoring them a bit when you arrive home.
- Leave clothes that smell like you.
- Consider natural calming supplements.
For more serious issues, you will have to slowly get them used to you leaving the house. You can follow a ‘stay game’, slowly starting to disappear and increasing the amount of time you are gone. However, be patient as you do this and make sure to give them love and treats when they are able to behave appropriately when you are gone for longer periods.
Another tip to follow is to ensure that your pet receives a lot of exercise daily. Tired and happy dogs will feel less stressed once you leave. The exercises you do shouldn’t be limited to walks and playtime, but training games and mental stimulation as well!
Wrapping It Up
While separation anxiety can be a pain, you can treat it to keep your dog calm the next time you leave home.