If you have been a dog owner and experienced the damaging results of dog separation anxiety you know that you need to deal with it as early as possible. Read our dog separation anxiety tips to learn how to approach the challenge with new pet. Pet owners understand that it’s not all potions and training. You need to have a sympathetic approach to your pet and possibly to find a dog sitter to ensure they stay at home.
5 Dog separation anxiety tips
There are various ways that experts will tell you to help your dog if they suffer from dog separation anxiety. There are potions, and ways to train your dog by building time apart slowly over a longer and longer period of time. You can also have familiar friends and family care for your dog when you leave home for a few hours or even for longer periods when you are on holiday for example.
However, you may have tried some ideas shared by people you respect and found your dog still anxious and developing poor habits when you are not with them. In this article we offer some classic and some innovative dog separation anxiety tips to help you manage your dog’s well being.
How to Help If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Dogs are naturally sociable and like to be around their “pack”, including you. Unfortunately for many dog owners, being at home for most of the day isn’t possible – and some dogs develop separation anxiety, where they become upset at being apart from their owners.
Covid puppies miss their owners
This is common in pets, but since lockdowns, many pets and owners have found it hard to deal with the switch from working at home to the owners being out of home. Your dog may also be at risk if they are rescues with negative past experiences of being abandoned or neglected. There may not be a way to curing dog separation anxiety quickly, but take careful steps and watch your dog.
See our dog separation anxiety tips and try each one at a time to see if you an build a more robust resistance in your dog when they are left alone at home for a while.
1. Look for recognisable signs of dog anxiety
The emotional and mental health of dogs can also affect their overall health, but they express it differently to us. What are the separation anxiety dogs symptoms. One of the most important dog separation anxiety tips is to look for the signs and record them so you know over time that this is a pattern. For example, if you have been out of the house without your dog, you may come home to a few “tell-tail” signs:
- Chewed-up upholstery, pillows, or scratches on doors
- Notes or comments from your neighbors about your dog barking excessively
- Soiled carpets or flooring
- Following you around once you get home
Some pets may not express their anxiety openly, so you can also install a cheap security camera and check the footage for things like circling, pacing, or a low tail and body (also a sign of depression).
2. Do you adopt another pet to keep them company?
While it might seem like a good idea to adopt a second dog, it’s worth remembering that it’s you that they miss, so getting them a new friend isn’t likely to make things easier for them.
Dogs are sensitive to change: if you’re returning to work and introducing a new pet, it could cause more problems than it solves, and you could even end up with two anxious pets. So another one of our dog separation anxiety tips is don’t rush into buying or adopting another dog. It may not be company your pet wants or needs.
3. Manage the length of time you leave your dog at home?
Consider the length of time you need to leave your dog and be aware of the age and constitution of the dog. This is one of our dog separation anxiety tips. For example –
- Puppies can be left for up to an hour per month of their life. Build up the time as they get older.
- An adult dog you can leave on average for up to four hours.
- Never leave any pet in a hot car, as this can be fatal.
- Crate training may be used if your dog is left for very short periods, but training them properly is essential or it could cause distress.
If you’re at work and unable to come back for feeding or toileting, you could find a reputable pet sitter or doggy daycare facility, or alternatively, you could ask your workplace if they’re willing to allow them to come in.
4. Can I treat my dog?
While it may be tempting to concoct home remedies for separation anxiety in dogs, be very careful. One of our top dog separation anxiety tips is don’t give your dog any treatments without discussing it with your vet first.
Never attempt any kind of pet treatment without first speaking to a licensed veterinarian. They may refer you to a behaviorist who offers specialist training to help your dog feel calmer and more secure. If your pet engages in destructive behaviors like chewing, avoid showing anger, as they don’t understand things the way humans do, and doing so could scare them.
Another one of our dog separation anxiety tips is to choose a low key soothing option. For example – simple ways to comfort your dog include leaving talk radio on low volume, varying the room you leave them in, shutting the curtains to dampen external noises and using special pheromone plug-ins (be sure to ask your vet about this first).
5. Use dog minders or dog sitters to care for your pet
So how to help a dog with separation anxiety when I leave for a holiday for example? Do you put them in kennels or dog boarding away from their home? There are better option that allow your dog to stay in their own home environment without changing their routine or it costing you for dog minders.
- Top tip – One of the best dog separation anxiety tips is to care for your dog if they suffer from separation anxiety is to ensure they are left with a dog minder or dog sitters rather than being left alone for a long time.
- Having dog minders or dog sitters to live in with your dog while you are away can ensure they stay in their own environment. This way they stay at home where they recognise their toys, their home layout, and familiar smells.
- Find dogsitters – look for a reputable housesitting or petsitting website like Housesitmatch.com
Ensure your pet minders keep their routine as close as possible to what you do every day, even though you are not there yourself managing their routine.
Dog separation anxiety tips in summary
It can be upsetting to know your dog is unhappy if they suffer from separation anxiety. This is especially true if they exhibit severe separation anxiety in dogs. Many can be trained out of it, and others you will need to manage carefully to ensure they learn to relax and better understand the situation and that someone will care for them and feed them in their routine.
Use our top dog separation anxiety tips to help you start managing your dog’s condition. And with the right guidance and support it is possible for you both to feel better about being apart from each other.