Learn what causes and how to deal with dog separation anxiety.
For some dog owners, leaving the house–or even the room–can cause their dog great stress. As a reaction to this stress, the dog might tear the house apart, bark, howl, whine and more. Dog separation anxiety not only affects the dog, but also the owner. It’s important to understand what you can do to help your precious pup and ease their panic and stress. While it’s not completely clear why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, there are some things you can do to help reduce the stress. We recommend consulting your veterinarian to determine the proper course of action if you think your dog has separation anxiety.
Symptoms of Dog Separation Anxiety
There are some common behaviors that dogs with separation anxiety will exhibit when you’re trying to leave the house or after you’ve left them alone. While some dogs without separation anxiety may do these things, dogs who possibly have it exhibit these behaviors only when you leave them alone.
Barking, howling & whining – When left alone, your dog barks, howls and whines. This is persistent and only happens when they’re left alone.
Chewing – Chewing and biting furniture, door frames, window sills and more can be a sign of separation anxiety, if it only happens when you’re not around.
Urinating & defecating – If this happens in the house only when you’re gone, it could be a possible sign of separation anxiety. It could also be a medical problem. Visit your veterinarian if your house-broken pet is exhibiting this behavior.
Common Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety
While there isn’t a concrete answer as to what causes dog separation anxiety, there are common scenarios that have been known to trigger it.
Moving – Moving into a new home can be a possible cause of separation anxiety. With a new house and new surroundings, your dog might not be comfortable being on its own.
New Owner – If a dog is surrendered to an animal shelter or given to a new owner, it can trigger separation anxiety.
New Schedule – If your dog is used to you being home all day and all of sudden you’re not, it can be a possible cause.
What To Do & What Not To Do
First, contact your veterinarian. They can determine if there is a more serious issue or if there are any medical concerns. They can also give you the proper guidance on tactics to remedy any of these problems.
There are some things you can do to keep your dog happy and busy–and hopefully tire them out. Getting your dog to exercise before you’re going to leave is a great option. Take him or her to a local dog park where they can run freely, without a leash. Also provide your dog with plenty of toys and chews when you’re going to leave the house. Even leaving a treat inside a puzzle toy, like a Kong, is a great way to keep your dog busy.
You need to be patient with your dog. They’re not trying to make you mad, they’re reacting to stress. Yelling at your dog or punishing it is counterproductive when dealing with separation anxiety. Your dog is trying to cope with stress. Yelling and scolding will only make them more stressed, potentially worsening the problem.
At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, we understand that your pets are part of the family. That’s why we carry everything you need to keep your furry family members happy and healthy. To learn more about caring for your dogs, cats and everything in between, visit our Pet Care blog.