Dogs love being around their owners, and much like humans, they suffer from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can show up in various ways and leave owners heartbroken to walk out the door, leaving their beloved pets behind.
If you’ve got a dog with separation anxiety, it’s time to stop worrying about leaving them home and find some ways to help ease the anxiety that they’re feeling.
What is Puppy Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is when your pet is hyper-attached to you. Wherever you are is where the dog wants to be.
The second you’ve got to leave home or room for any reason, and they aren’t able to come, it sends them into a stressful state. In severe cases, the anxiety manifests in ways that cause the dog to act out and create messes while the owner is away from home.
If you’re not sure if your dog has separation anxiety, here are some symptoms that can help you identify what’s going on.
Whining isn’t unusual for dogs when they’re left at home alone or put in their kennels for some time. The whining that we’re talking about when it comes to dogs’ anxiety is an excessive whining form.
The type of whining that might eventually catch the attention of neighbors because it’s ongoing and doesn’t stop for a long time.
Chewing On Household Items
Above we stated that separation anxiety could come in the form of destructive pet behavior. Your dog may begin to chew on things or scratch at things in an attempt to get out.
For example, when you close the front door, your dog may begin to scratch and bite at the door to get out. Over time you’ll notice that your doorframe has slowly begun to come apart because of the constant scratching and biting.
Typically, you associate your dog drooling or salivating when their hungry or thirsty. These are both signs that your pet suffers from separation anxiety, especially if it’s happening more than usual.
It’s a sign that your pet has entered stress-mode, and it’s the opposite of the way your mouth would go dry when you’re experiencing a form of anxiety.
Have you ever seen your dog pace in front of the door when they need to go outside? The same thing happens when their anxiety is triggered.
Most dogs will take turns sitting and pacing in front of windows or doors, waiting for their owner to return home. They don’t ever leave that spot no matter what else is going on.
As soon as you walk through the door, everything in their world is right again. All of these symptoms stop until you’ve got to leave again.
What Should I Do?
Over time some of the symptoms that dogs with separation anxiety exhibit can become frustrating to deal with. You’ve got to keep in mind that there are reasons these things happen and not blame your pet for having anxiety.
If you adopted your pet from an animal shelter, their anxiety could stem from making the new transition. They’ve gotten used to the idea of being abandoned that when you leave home, it triggers the fear that the same thing is happening again.
If there is a new addition to the family or drastic changes being made to the home, this may trigger your dog’s anxiety. These are just a few of the reasons your dog may be experiencing anxiety.
The great thing is that there are some ways you, as their owner, can help put their anxiety at ease.
Don’t Make a Fuss
When owners leave their homes, they make a big deal about leaving and saying goodbye to their pets. Don’t do this.
Making a big deal when you leave makes your dog think that you’re not coming back. When you don’t do this, it helps your dog understand that there is nothing to fear when you leave the house and that you will return.
If you realize that your pet has anxiety, don’t start off leaving home for hours at a time. Instead, take the time to help your dog get used to your absence by leaving for 5-10 minutes and then returning.
As the dog gets used to the idea of you leaving and coming back home, you can increase the amount of time you spend gone.
Walk the Dog
Take your dog for a long walk before your scheduled to leave for the day. The walk is a wonderful source of exercise for your pet and will help them get out some of their pent-up energy.
By the time you’ve returned home, your pet will be ready to lay down and rest for a while. This ensures that your pet is in a state of calm during the times you’re leaving, instead of being hyper-aware of you preparing to go.
There are treats available at your local pet store that are known as calming treats. These treats are mainly a short-term fix for the issue, and if you need medication to help your dog through the transition, it’s best to visit the vet.
These treats help your dog to understand that it’s okay to be in the house alone. And that there’s nothing to be frightened of when you’re gone.
Treating a Dog With Separation Anxiety
A dog with separation anxiety can be one of the saddest things that a dog owner has to experience. No one ever likes to see their pet become anxious when they leave home, but it happens.
We’ve provided some tips on dealing with this anxiety, such as leaving them in a calm state before you leave and not making a big deal about heading out for the day. If you’d like to check out other informational posts about dogs or have your own story to share, contact Dog Deep.
We’re here to offer support and insight for dog lovers like you.