Dogs with separation anxiety often become nervous and/or destructive when you are away. The severity of separation anxiety can rage from slight unease to full-blown anxiety attacks. Some signs of separation anxiety in dogs are constant barking, howling, whining, extreme restlessness, excessive panting and salvation, going to the bathroom indoors, destruction of possessions and home, vomiting, ignoring food, and extreme excitement when you come home.
What breeds are more likely to develop separation anxiety?
Some dog breeds are more prone to developing separation anxiety from their owners. These breeds are Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, King Charles Spaniels, Vizslas, and toy breeds.
What causes separation anxiety?
A lot of factors can go into a dog developing separation anxiety. Common causes of separation anxiety, include big changes, like new parents or new surroundings, lack of training, premature adoption, death of a friend, genetics, boredom, and even you.
How to help your dog with separation anxiety:
EXERCISE YOUR DOG BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
A tired dog is a happy dog. Dogs that are tired have less energy to focus on their anxiety, so when you leave home they are more likely to be less anxious.
How to exercise your dog indoors:
Puzzle toys that offer a reward at the end is a great way to get your dog to use their energy. You can wrap food in a blanket or hide it under the cup if you don’t want to buy puzzle toys.
Play Hide and Seek
Hide food around the house and let your dog search for it.
Set up a play date for your dog, so he can engage with a friend. Whenever we meet a new dog, we use up all our energy playing with them.
STAY CONFIDENT AND CALM WHEN YOU LEAVE AND RETURN HOME
This is key to making sure your dog doesn’t become anxious. Us dogs can sense our hoomans emotions, so it is important that our hoomans are casual and calm when they leave the house. Don’t give your dog a long and emotional goodbye. This can potentially reinforce your dog’s fear of being alone. It is also very important that you are calm when you come home. Even if your dog is jumping all over you, you need to act like you leaving and coming home is not a big deal.
TRAIN YOUR DOG TO BE ALONE IN THE HOUSE WHEN YOU ARE HOME
Practice leaving your dog in a room by himself, while you are in another room close by. Don’t return to the room until your dog stops crying. Practice small intervals at first. For example, when you first leave the room and your dog is crying wait until they stop crying for 5 seconds and return. Praise them when you return. You can gradually increase this time frame.
PLAY MUSIC OR TURN ON THE TV WHEN YOU LEAVE
Play soothing music or turning the TV on can help your dog with their separation anxiety. Mom likes to do this for us, so that we can relax when she is away.
KEEP YOUR DOG DISTRACTED WHEN YOU LEAVE
Try giving your pet treats or a Kong ball stuffed with peanut butter before you leave. You can also try giving them a puzzle toy. If your dog is distracted when you leave, then it will be less of a big event.
TRY NOT TO STAY AWAY TOO LONG
If you need to be away for more than 6-8 hours then consider bringing your dog to work or hiring a dog walker. You can also ask friends and family to help our or put your dog in daycare.
CONSIDER MEDICINE IF ANXIETY IS SEVERE
There are a lot of different calming medicines out there, so contact your veterinarian to see what would be best for your dog.
CBD has been known to help with anxiety in dogs. It is a cannabidiol, which is a compound found in cannabis. It’s important to note that CBD doesn’t contain THC (the compound in marijuana that gives it psychoactive properties). Most CBD products aren’t derived from marijuana but from hemp.There are no formal studies yet on how CBD affects dogs but many people like to use it on their pets to treat anxiety, pain, and more.
INVEST IN A PET CAMERA
Consider buying a pet camera, so you can check up and talk to your dog throughout the day.