Separation Anxiety in Dogs
There are a number of reasons why dogs can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. Separation anxiety in dogs is triggered when they become upset because they are separated from their owners or the people they love. This anxiety can occur because the dog is not familiar with being alone or because of past experiences of being left alone for long periods. It can also be difficult for owners to leave their dogs in such a distressed state. So, we have put together a guide on how to keep your dog calm when left alone and how to reduce their separation anxiety.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
There are a few very clear signs your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, these include:
- 🔵 Pacing
- 🔵 Chewing and destruction
- 🔵 Urinating
- 🔵 Continual barking
- 🔵 Running away
However, there are more subtle signs that you may have missed that indicate your dog may be struggling. These signs include trembling and whining, self-mutilation, repetitive behaviour, vomiting and excessive salivation.
You may not know these things are happening when you are away and your dog may have calmed down by the time of your return. So, it’s a good idea to set up a dog-watch camera in your home and check on your pooch throughout the day to see how they are handling being left alone. If you notice these signs, try not to worry as there are many different things you can do to help.
Tire Your Dog Out
This is a simple but key solution, take your dog out for a long walk before you are due to leave. Not only will this tire them out, but it will also help to relax them and also give them chance to go to the toilet – minimising accidents at home whilst you are away.
Leave a Special Treat
Leave out a special toy that they only get when you leave. Meat flavoured chewy toys, a Kong, a treat ball or a teddy are all great ideas to use. Give your furry friend this specific toy only when you separated from them. When you return, immediately remove the dog toy and only give it back when you leave again. This way your dog will look forward to receiving the toy on your departure and it will be a tasty distraction for them.
Close your curtains to provide a serene environment for your dog, this will eliminate distractions from outside, other dogs and walkers nearby may provoke a reaction from your pup when they are already feeling stressed. Leave the curtains closed and put on the radio, the voices of others may help soothe your dog, making them feel less alone.
Don’t Punish Bad Behaviour
If you come home and your dog has created a huge mess, destroyed furniture or toileted in the house it can be difficult to keep calm. However, it is really important to stay relaxed. Punishing your dog for its behaviour while you are away will only make the anxiety and behaviour worse when you next leave. Avoid letting your pooch know you are annoyed, put them outside while you clean up and remain calm.
Consider a Dog Sitter
If you have tried all of the above and your dog is still extremely anxious when you leave them alone, it may be worth considering a dog sitter. The dog sitter will comfort the dog on your departure and care for them while you are away. This may also ease your stress knowing they are safe and comfortable while you are away.
At Barking Mad, we are your local dog home boarding service giving you complete peace of mind when you can’t take Fido with you. Our family of dog holiday experts provide luxury pet care in our experienced hosts’ cosy homes. Barking Mad was established in 2000 as the original alternative to kennels. Our professional dog sitting service works by meeting you in person for bespoke care because we believe dogs deserve a holiday too!
Barking Mad, the UK’s leading home dog boarding provider, assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health – even if they are closed, they will always have an out-of-hours service available.