Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety is very common in dogs. Dogs are pack animals and like to be in the presence of their pack. Their pack can be other dogs but in most cases it will be their human family.
One of the most common complaints of pet parents is separation anxiety in dogs. The dogs can become disruptive and destructive when left alone. If the dog starts to show signs of distress such as anxiety and drooling when pet parents are preparing to leave the house, this can be a sign of separation anxiety. Sometimes, dogs try to escape and may injure themselves by trying to jump over a fence. The dogs will usually show signs of distress soon after the pet parents leave the house usually by barking.
Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Barking and Howling
Have you ever been at home and listened to your neighbor’s dog bark all day for no particular reason? When the barking is constant it is more than likely due to separation anxiety. You can take note that your neighbor is probably not at home when this happens and it stops immediately when they come home.
When dogs suffer from separation anxiety, they sometimes try to escape. If the dog tries to escape when the owner is at home, then it is unlikely to be due to separation anxiety, however, if they only try to escape when no one is at home, then it is most likely due to separation anxiety. Attempting to escape can cause injury. They can injure their paws, legs or teeth trying to dig out or jump a fence. If they do succeed to get out, then there is the risk of getting injured by a vehicle on the street or getting lost.
Some dogs pace when they are alone and stressed. They can pace in a set pattern or a straight line. They would not normally pace when their owners are home.
Why do Some Dogs have Separation Anxiety?
We are not exactly sure why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety. More dogs who have been adopted from a shelter or rehomed suffer from separation anxiety compared to dogs who have been with the same family since being a puppy.
Some situations that have been known to trigger separation anxiety are:
Being abandoned or surrendered to a shelter
Change in schedule – being at home all the time and all of a sudden you are gone for 12 hours at a time.
Someone moving out of the house
What can you do if your Dog Suffers from Separation Anxiety
When you are about to leave, give your dog a treat, preferably something that will keep him busy for at least 15 minutes like a Kong toy stuffed with treats or a puzzle. This way, it should distract him or her from you leaving and associate you leaving as a good thing.
If your dog is outside, provide a dog house as a safe place for him to relax in.
Give your dog a blanket, old shirt, or toy that you slept with so it has your scent on it.
Start leaving for short periods of time so your dog sees you coming home.
Hire a pet sitter such as myself to either stay with your dog or come visit your dog once or twice a day while you are away so they are not alone for a long period of time.
Have a look at our services and contact us to discuss your pet sitting needs and we can work together to try to alleviate your dog’s separation anxiety.