How to Ease Separation Anxiety in Dogs

 

Bringing a new dog into your home is one of the most exciting times for you and your family. As they quickly become integrated in your life and their new home, chances are you won’t have time to spend with them 24/7. While you may think that leaving your four-legged new best friend is difficult for you, especially in the beginning, separation anxiety could be extremely traumatic and scary for your dog. It’s important not to feel hopeless if you notice any signs that your dog is struggling from separation anxiety, but instead arm yourself with tips, tricks, and knowledge so you and your dog can feel more at ease.

 

Signs of separation anxiety in dogs

 

There are many tell-tale signs that your dog is having issues with separation anxiety but if you have never had a pet before or if some of these behaviors are foreign to you, you may not notice right away. Some of the top signs include:

  • Pacing and getting nervous when you are getting ready to leave the house, head for the door, start putting on your shoes, or grab your keys.
  • A burst of over-the-top energy and joy every time you come home or walk through the door.
  • Destroying furniture and things like shoes and blankets around the house while you’re gone.
  • Claw marks on the door or chew marks on the corner of end tables while you’re gone.
  • Barking and howling persistently while you’re gone (you’ll likely know if you have close neighbors or a camera you can monitor when you are gone)
  • Signs of escaping like digging and chewing through doors and windows.

Tips and tricks to help ease the anxiety

 

Since it is not likely that you will be able to spend every minute with your dog, there are a few tips you can have up your sleeve to help if you begin to notice signs of separation anxiety. One great way to reinforce calm behavior is to make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Another is to give your dog a special treat when you leave (remember to take it away when you get home, so it’s associated with the absence of you). Finally, try leaving some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.

Reasons why dogs may suffer from separation anxiety

 

While not every pup suffers from separation anxiety, it is important to know that this is a common problem that many dogs experience. The ASPCA states that some of the top reasons why dogs develop separation include:

 

  • Change of guardian or family: especially for older dogs that were abandoned and/or adopted from a shelter. 
  • Change in schedule: abrupt changes in your work schedule, time away from home, and/or other major life changes can be startling for your pup. 
  • Change in residence: you know how stressful moving can be for humans, imagine how disorienting it can be for dogs as well.


In addition to life changes, there may be something more serious underlying where their behaviors that you notice are actually caused by medical problems. If you notice extreme behavior or are concerned about how your dog is acting, it’s important that you consult your veterinarian. If you need to schedule an appointment with the Bregman Veterinary Group, click here to get started!

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